A new more aesthetically pleasing era will dawn on Newcastle’s skyline from Monday, September 17 following the removal of the now-redundant Queens Wharf Tower.
Long derided by locals and tourists alike for its dubious shape, the tower will be painstakingly disassembled and removed in a challenging operation in the early hours of that morning and subsequent days.
Mayfield-based contractor Major Projects Group (MPG) successfully tendered for the job and will deploy metallurgists and dog crews to detach the top dome and observation deck on the first night of removal work.
MPG aims to lower the most prominent parts of the tower to the ground with a giant crane before detaching and lowering two sections of the spiralling-steel stairwell encasement before the sun comes up.
“Novocastrians will wake to a conspicuous absence on the skyline the morning of September 18,” Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said.
“When the first of a record 20 cruise ships calls into the port in October to begin the season, passengers will enjoy an uninterrupted view of the city’s 19th and early 20th century architectural splendour.
“Removal of the tower, which was originally only intended to stand for two years, will save Council and ratepayers around $1.6 million in maintenance costs over the next four years.
“While it does have a place in our history, it’s long been the subject of ridicule and is well outdated in terms of accessibility for those with mobility challenges.”
MPG will remove two more pieces of the tower, lower roof and the walkway over the following two or three nights, before the lower deck and remaining section are lifted out early on Friday, September 21.
“The major challenges of this project are working next to a busy pedestrian area and street, as well as close to occupied tenant space,” MPG Project Manager Peter Allen said.
“We will remove each section using a 300-tonne crane, and all major work will be completed on night shifts to avoid any disruption to the daily life of the public enjoying the wharf area.”
Following the removal, City of Newcastle will install synthetic grass, coloured rubberised surfaces and raised tree planters with seating to activate the site. Alexander Palms similar to those along the foreshore will be planted later in the year.
“This is a temporary solution for place activation with an anticipated life-span of up to five years,” the Lord Mayor added.
“A permanent solution for the area will be addressed in the master planning for the whole Foreshore, which will include community consultation.”
Neighbouring residents have been notified about the proposed night time works and have until September 10 to make a submission.