You will not find a more unique place in Sydney than the Coal Loader.
Set on a hectare of spectacular harbourside ex-industrial and now heritage listed site, The Coal Loader is an intricate mesh of history, culture, industry, nature and community.
The Coal Loader is a place you can come to explore, relax, learn, be inspired, or just be quiet. Enjoy our showcase sustainable technology and Living Classroom, explore the rich indigenous history, enjoy the beautiful gardens, have a picnic on the platform or just grab a coffee from the café and watch the boats go by.
There’s something for everyone at The Coal Loader.
The Platform is a key part of The Coal Loader, offering one of the best harbour side views in Sydney in a unique location where history blends with modern technology. Perfect for a picnic, a play, an explore or just a quiet place to relax, the Platform is a place that will restore and inspire you.
If you’re into sustainable technology you can see our living classroom – solar energy production in action, water re-use, rooftop and wall gardens, aquaponics and of course our beautiful community gardens.
Have a jam on the old piano we’ve rescued from landfill. Grab a takeaway coffee and watch the boats go by. Bring the kids down for a bike ride. Have a game of bocce. And go home relaxed.
There are four old coal loading tunnels that have been adapted for different uses today:
- Tunnel 1 has been historically preserved to pay homage to our industrial past, and unfailingly surprises and delights each new visitor. Not open to the public, you can see Tunnel 1 by booking a free History Tour (link to History Tour page).
- Tunnel 2 is a public walkway that will take you through to beautiful Balls Head. The opening of Tunnel 2 with the re-development of The Coal Loader provided a long lost public access to the precious bushland reserve.
- Tunnel 3 is home to 50 water tanks with a combined capacity of 275,000L of captured and filtered water from the Platform. This water is pumped around the site and used for irrigation, watering our gardens and flushing our toilets.
- Tunnel 4 is now home to a very special population of threatened microbats. After the coal loaders moved out, they moved in, and we have given that tunnel to them. The Eastern Large Bent-wing Bats are cave dwellers that live at The Coal Loader during the winter months. They can fly up to 50km when they go in search of food and if you’re lucky enough to be around the tunnel entrance at the right time, you can see them darting in or out of their adopted home.
The Wetland is a thriving ecosystem that now occupies the former site of a large fuel tank. Created as part of The Coal Loader site decommissioning, the wetland was established in an effort to remediate the site and improve water quality and biodiversity. It is now home to various wildlife including, visiting turtles, resident Water Dragons, ducks, micro-invertebrates and a vocal colony of frogs.
Learn about the fascinating history of the Coal Loader by enjoying this short documentary, Return to Community.
Visit Stanton Library for more historical information on the Coal Loader (and the rest of North Sydney).