Visit the Coal Loader

The Genia McCaffery Centre for Sustainability has reopened 


Public venues, such as The Coal Loader, in NSW have been allowed to reopen from 1 June 2020, under an easing of restrictions announced by the NSW Government. The Genia McCaffery Centre for Sustainability re-opening is subject to additional health and safety measures, and we thank you for your understanding as we adjust to the new requirements. 


Staff and visitors must practice safe social distancing and customers are asked to use the provided hand sanitiser before entering the building. A maximum of eight visitors are permitted in the display room at this time. Please stay home if you are feeling unwell. 


Private hire of spaces at The Coal Loader remain unavailable at this time though inquiries for potential future planning dates are still being facilitated. 


Our kitchen, meeting areas, and conferencing facilities, will not be available for use currently. 


For more on North Sydney Council’s COVID-19 response please go to: 

For the most up-to-date information on the current regulations in NSW please visit: 


Visit or Contact Us

Phone 9936 8100 or email

The Genia McCaffery Centre office - open Monday to Friday 9am to 4pm,(Closed on Saturdays and Sundays)

The Coal Loader Platform - open to the public to have a picnic, walk around, take in the harbour views, and be inspired, plus enjoy the parklands any time.

The Coal Loader Café - open Wednesday to Sunday 7am to 3pm. 


Public Holidays

On public holidays both the Centre and the café are closed, but The Platform and parklands remain open.



2 Balls Head Drive, Waverton 2060 (on the right hand side before Balls Head Reserve).

Parking is limited so we encourage you to:

  • Walk - visit us as part of several amazing North Sydney walking routes
  • Bike – secure bike parking available North Sydney Cycling Map (7MB)
  • Public Transport - we are an easy 6 minute walk from Waverton station (bikes carried free on weekends)
  • Car - limited parking in nearby streets such as Balls Head Drive and Waterhen Drive, also in marked bays inside the adjacent Balls Head Reserve
  • School Bus - drop off point is on Waterhen Drive, refer to this Site Map (1MB)


What's Happening?

Pop your email address into our Coal Loader e-newsletters to catch news and events at the Coal Loader. 

Visit Coal Loader Events page or the Coal Loader Facebook page for all current listings.


Green Events

Join one of our free, practical workshops on a range of sustainable living topics such as worm farming, green cleaning, keeping chooks, going solar, being water-wise, balcony gardening, and much more... view the current Green event listings.


Join a Community Garden

There are two community gardens - Coal Loader Cottage Community Garden, and Coal Loader Platform Community Garden.


Coal Loader Community Nursery

Volunteers work with Council to propagate local native plants for use in bushland rehabilitation, streetscape enhancements (green corridors), habitat gardens, citizenship ceremonies and community give-aways. Find out more and come along when the Community Nursery volunteers meet.


School Excursion

Bring your students on a school excursion to learn about all aspects of sustainability. The Coal Loader features a sustainably retrofitted cottage with learning materials; wetlands; community gardens; native bushland nursery; historical tunnels; Aboriginal engravings; the platform green roof; parklands and a beautiful bushland reserve right next door. Our historic 2.8ha waterfront site has been retrofitted with state-of-the-art sustainable technologies.


Digital Kids Trail

Looking for something fun and free to do with the kids? Head on down to The Coal Loader and visit on your mobile device to begin.

Free, mobile-friendly, self-timed, and a great way to get the kids exploring outdoors.

Uncover the site's history, sustainability features, native planting, food gardens, bats, chickens and more!


Drop-in tours free 

(We welcome volunteers to run these free tours of the Coal Loader site. All training and materials are provided. If you are interested in joining call us!)


Formal Guided Tours

Our staff are available Monday to Friday for groups of over 10 people (maximum 25). This 90 minute tour can be shortened to suit your schedule. Includes a screening of the history Return to Community - a History of Balls Head and the Coal Loader (30min DVD). Maps of the adjacent Balls Head Reserve are available if you wish to take your group before or after the guided tour. Bookings essential, please call the Coal Loader on 9936 8100.


Self-guided Tour

For individuals and groups under 10 people, use this self-guided Map (1MB), or view the interpretive signs on site to do your own walking tour. Staff are in the office (Genia McCaffery Centre) during opening hours for assistance. Please contact us if you are bringing a group of 10 or more for a self-guided tour.


Walk from the Coal Loader to Balls Head Reserve

Balls Head Reserve is our largest bushland remnant in North Sydney. The pathways are part of the North Sydney Circle Walk (Waverton to Wollstonecraft section), and the Harbour Circle Walk (Balls Head Loop).



North Sydney Council is committed to creating a welcoming and inclusive environment for people of all abilities.

The Genia McCaffery Centre, Mess Hall, cafe, and workshop are all on street level and fully accessible. The Platform is accessible through the main entry ramp, or a lift provides access from street level to The Platform, chickens, and tunnels. There are six designated accessible parking spaces available around the site, including two directly opposite the main entry on Balls Head Drive. Seating is available at various locations across the site. There is one unisex accessible toilet, shower and baby change room located in the Genia McCaffery Centre. Due to the historical nature of the site the tunnels are uneven and have undulating ground surfaces so all visitors are asked to use caution.

We welcome feedback from our community on how we can improve the accessibility of our buildings, parks and streetscapes. Read about our commitment to improving access here: Disability Inclusion Action Plan (DIAP).

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