Carrington pump house is set to become a jewel in the crown of Newcastle Harbour following the most significant restoration project in the building's 143-year history.
Work to stabilise and restore the icon's southern brick facade was recently completed.
The area in front of the building has also been remodelled to reflect the original layout and function of the building.
A planned event to officially open the building and grounds to the public was delayed due to restrictions around large gatherings.
"While this stage of work does not involve a complete restoration, it will enable the community to enjoy the grounds and southern facade of the historically significant building after being fenced off from public access since the mid-1990s, a Port of Newcastle Spokeswoman said.
"Additional restoration work is being considered, however, there are no plans for further works at this stage."
The Victorian Italianate building was added to the state heritage register 2017.
Built in 1877 by the ports engineer Edward Moriarty, the workers and craftsmen who worked on the Pump House also built the Newcastle's Customs House.
The purpose of the Pump House was to run hydraulic cranes to load coal onto ships along the nearby waterfront stretch known as The Dyke.
A 2016 Engineers Australia report said the power station represented an "important landmark in energy technology in NSW and demonstrated the employment of state of the art technology at Newcastle port, the state's largest coal loading facility for much of the last 150 years".
The only other large scale power station from the era that still survives is the Pumphouse Tavern at Ultimo, Sydney. The hydraulic power station at Carrington preceded the Sydney system by over a decade.
The Carrington Pump House was decommissioned in 1964 and has been abandoned since the mid 1990s. It is under the control of the Port of Newcastle.
The last major capital investment in the building was in 2007 when more than $400,000 was spent removing asbestos and restoring the slate roof.
There have been consistent calls over the past decade for the building to be reused, possibly as a restaurant or function centre to complement the Honeysuckle precinct.
Another previous proposal involved the construction of a three-storey office building behind the pump house. The plan was to link the two buildings via a glass walkway.
The restoration project was jointly-funded through a $500,000 grant made as part of stage two of the 2016 Newcastle Port Community Contribution Fund, in addition to a $700,000 contribution from Port of Newcastle.
While you're with us, did you know the Newcastle Herald offers breaking news alerts, daily email newsletters and more? Keep up to date with all the local news - sign up here
IN THE NEWS:
- International Transport Federation (ITF) holds alumina vessel at Newcastle with government authorities over underpayment of Burmese crew
- Costco to establish Lake Macquarie store as NSW government confirms land sales at Boolaroo
- Coronavirus: No new Hunter COVID cases as NSW notches 21, Victoria records 627
- Toohey's News, The Podcast Episode 17: The Newcastle Knights first captain, Sam Stewart