Tathra Wharf is an iconic structure situated in a prominent position at Tathra Headland. The wharf was originally constructed in 1862 and used as a coastal shipping terminal. Today the wharf remains an important piece of infrastructure for the local economy, in particular as a tourist attraction as well as a fishing and recreation asset. The wharf is the only deep sea wharf and cargo shed dating from the 1800’s remaining on Australia’s east coast, and is listed on the State Heritage Register. The Bega Valley Shire Council is the appointed manager of the wharf, on behalf of the Crown (NSW Department of Industry).
Following extensive storm damage in 2016, a detailed structural inspection and condition assessment of the Wharf was undertaken by a specialist marine engineering consultant. This included an inspection of the underwater structure by a diving contractor. The condition report identified that a significant number of the over-water piles supporting the Tathra Wharf have deteriorated to such a degree that major replacement or repair works are required. Some piles have detached from the rest of the structure and are no longer supporting the wharf, while others have holes extending right the way through. The condition report made a number of recommendations and ranked those in priority order. Highest priority works were mostly related to the 2016 storm damage and contractors were engaged to undertake those works in 2017.
Council have now committed to undertake a scoping study on the Tathra Wharf, which will include engaging a structural engineer to provide Council with a structural assessment and options for conservation work required to maintain the function of the Wharf as well as its cultural significance well into the future. The scoping study will include engagement with key stakeholders and will identify potential funding opportunities for the conservation of the Wharf.
Council have allocated funding in the 2018/19 budget to carry out the Tathra Wharf Conservation Scoping Study.
The amount of funding required for the conservation works will be guided by the scoping study, including the structural assessment.
Council will be exploring a range of funding options to enable the required conservation works to be carried out.
Council aim to complete the Scoping Study by July 2019.