TRUST ACT 2001 s6

that means to be in accord with the law.....The Trust needs to manage the site as a park..enhance the harbour...interpret heritage...protect the environment....maximise public access...cooperate with the community.


Sydney Harbour Federation Trust

SubBase Platypus is unlike the other Harbour Trust properties as Chowder Bay, Middle Head, and Georges Heights with its industrial history,  contamination history, lack of vegetation and long waterfront and close to the CBD. It is not well known as it is tucked away on a narrow residential peninsula with medium-high density.  But the Trust have adopted the same adaptive re-use strategy. There are more exciting ways to tell the industrial and maritime naval history than letting factories with no architectural, heritage or cultural merit dominate the site. The Trust's own heritage consultants said the 3 huge factories could be removed for public amenity. They removed other building with the same low heritage significance. Why keep these? Why not provide good public amenity beside the worlds best harbour?


Friends of Platypus

We see significant value in investing in the recreational needs of the local and wider communities and providing open spaces. 


Sydney Harbour Federation Trust's Management Plan November 2017.




  • The Harbour Trust provided ONLY ONE PLAN to the community with no options  despite more than 14 years of site management.
  • The Trust has  ignored detailed submissions from 2007 onwards for the hulk, RANTME building/Torpedo Factory to be removed to create green open spaces.
  • The Trust has given NO SPECIFIC USES for any buildings, just a broad mix from commercial, to light industrial to community uses. This leaves the public unable to make a protest or make any real comment. They will not disclose the percentage of the site will be for community uses versus commercial leases. 

Is this a bureaucracy at its worst? 

  • Plans for this significant site lack imagination, vision or innovation. There is no drawcard for people to be attracted there in their master plan. There is no solar power integrated across the site,  nor environmental, economic or social sustainability expressed throughout the site.
  • The site is unlike other Harbour Trust sites but the same adaptive-reuse strategy is being used on this site. The three factories hulks have no architectural, heritage or cultural merit to be worth keeping.  And no business case has been given for the readapting the factories.
  • The naval history, war effort and  camaraderie of the service men and women can be better expressed than letting hulks dominate the site and eat the budget.
  • The Trust approves their own building developments and any lease agreements are kept confidential. Where is the accountability in this?

Is this good statutory regulation for the community and the environment with so little accountability and transparency?

What has the Friends of Platypus achieved to date ?

Friends of Platypus have met with the Harbour Trust and the 3 levels of government on many occasions  and visited Canberra seeking the site be made a park with recreational facilities for maximum public access. This was the Objects of the Trust Act 2001s6. 

We gained over 1000 signatures seeking the hulk, the Torpedo factory to be removed and open spaces created.  But the Trust ignored the community's petition and secretly went onto readapt factories into business office units. Today they lie empty and soulless waiting for a tenant.

In  June  2019 we commenced a Freedom of Information case seeking their business case, EOI's and work contracts. The FOI handover was in September. Did we get much ? NO.

Most see the site as highly unsuitable for business offices that are unrelated to the community. Most want to see recreation - cafes, art, water-sport related commercial activities.  But did we get any? No! We got Torpedo's Cafe, in a shipping container - on a 6 month lease.  

It is seen by most as a WHITE ELEPHANT and a massive mismanagement of public money. 

In November 2019, we called for a design review, an independently run round table of stakeholders to find the best outcome, the best viable business case for the site. Did they agree? NO.