Saturday, 23 December 2017

White Bay Cruise Terminal

One of the pleasures of summer are the longer daylight hours, perfect for evening walks as the day cools down (hopefully!)
This week I finally did the walk into the White Bay Cruise Terminal.

I'm fascinated by the changing urban landscape.
Our needs change and we make our lived environment change along with us.

White Bay began life as mud flats, but because of it's deep waters, it soon became ideal for the early settlers to turn the area into one primarily used by container ships.

The before and now photos (below) of Stephen St show how White Bay has changed since the land was reclaimed.
As an aside, why do we say the land was reclaimed? What right has the land got over the water? It was never there before, it was extra land created by man to make more space for man. It's curious that sense of ownership and entitlement that creeps in simply by the choice of words.

Anyway, back to Stephen St.
You can see how steeply the road slopes down to the waters edge and the ferry stop.
140 yrs later, the road stops at the last house. A park runs along the right hand side of the photo.
And the water's edge is about another 100m further away.
Stephen Street Ferry Wharf c. 1880 (Mitchell Library)
Stephen Street today - the road now ends suddenly at a fence which overlooks the reclaimed land of White Bay.

John Booth's saw mill existed in this area from the 1850's to 1902.
It's hard to imagine the noise, smell and dust that the residents lived with at this time.
I now live just behind where this mill used to stand.

J. Booth & co. Steam saw mill and joinery works 1880 (image source)

Today White Bay is home to the Cruise Terminal.
In building the new facility (which opened in 2013), due homage was payed to previous incarnations.
Old train tracks were kept in place and some of the old sleepers were retained to use in the parking areas and a huge ship propeller is now a sculptural centrepiece at the entrance.

Many of the local residents are unhappy with the noise of the cruise ships, but given what was there, I'd rather the generator hum of a large ship and party noise as it pulls out, to the incessant noise, smell and dust of previous industries.

Looking back up to Stephen St & standing where the ferry wharf once was.

Before the land was reclaimed, White Bay looked a little like this (below).
You can see the various wharves jutting out into what is now land.
Soap factories, coal (for the power station at the bottom of the picture) and mills dominated the landscape.

And now it looks like this....

This post is part of Saturday Snapshot.


  1. I enjoyed your before-and-after photos. Interesting history.
    My Saturday Snapshot post features hiking.

  2. Ahhh! Longer days sound SO nice! Shortest days of the year here right now - it's completely dark by 5 pm. And I love to take walks, but it's supposed to stay in the 20's all this week - brrr!

    Thanks for sharing your glimpse of summer and the interesting history - hope you and your family enjoyed a lovely holiday together.


    Book By Book

  3. Before and after foto's....always such fun to study!
    Where do these cruise ships come from....where are they going?
    Great 'industrial site' Photo study....


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