If you’re located in or around Waverton and haven’t yet visited the Coal Loader, you’re missing out! Fusing history, entertainment, education, environmental responsibility and green technology in a stunning demonstration of sustainability in action, the Coal Loader needs to be on everyone’s bucket list. The facility is owned and run by North Sydney Council: its primary goals are to provide a nurturing, inspiring space, where people can come to learn, enjoy themselves and see just how easy it can be to live a greener, more sustainable lifestyle.
The Coal Loader: from fossil fuel feeder to sustainable space
With its green roof garden, community garden and Aboriginal bush foods garden, it’s hard to believe that this haven of tranquility used to play a key role in industry. The location was originally the home of the Cammeryagal people, who lived there for millennia. A rock carving, skillfully executed by some members of the Cammeryagal, forms a central focus of the current site. Its industrial role commenced in the 1920s, when a large platform (beneath which coal was stored) was constructed. The coal was transported to the site by bulk carriers, then distributed to smaller steamboats and overland to operate locally based transport and machinery. Undergoing various modifications and improvements over time, the site remained open until the 1990s. Subsequently it was acquired by North Sydney Council, who have re-purposed it to provide a hub for sustainable activity and awareness raising in the local area.
What is there at the Coal Loader?
With something for everyone, the Coal Loader has a varied range of activities and events which have plenty of appeal. To learn more about sustainable technology and how to make positive changes towards a more sustainable future, a visit to the Genia McCaffery Centre is a must. Not only has it been modernised and renovated to incorporate a range of sustainable technologies in its day-to-day operation, it’s also the place to go for information on a greener lifestyle. Council staff are on hand to answer any specific questions and there is also a recycling facility and book swap available.
Relax and enjoy the Coal Loader platform
An award-winning park and open space, the platform harnesses sustainable technology to create a recreational area that’s also a haven for plants and wildlife. Featuring community gardens (including a bush foods garden), allotments and plenty of green space for relaxing, the Coal Loader platform is a fantastic place to host an event, meet with friends or just chill and enjoy the ambiance.
Visit the tunnels!
Playing a major role in the Coal Loader’s history, two of the four tunnels are open to the public: one makes an interesting part of the walk to the Balls Head bushland, whilst the other contains historic equipment and machinery from the days when the Coal Loader was operational. One of the two tunnels which remain closed provides a haven for micro-bats! If they wish, visitors can follow the self-guided trail or take advantage of the services of one of the knowledgeable, volunteer tour guides.
What to do on a Coal Loader visit
No two days are the same when you visit the Coal Loader! In addition to the regular activities, there are also numerous courses, educational events and one-off activities. The council provides a programme of green education and awareness-raising activities, which includes “turn up on the day” and pre-booked options. Why not sign up to “Unwrap the eco Confusion”, or take the kids on a Spotlight Walk? Visitors may wish to follow one of the walking trails, join one of the community garden groups or even decide to start cultivating an allotment.
Sustainability in its widest sense extends to people as well as places: that’s why, in addition to its environmental activities, the Coal Loader also holds some great community events. Check out the Artisan Market on the 25th August or enjoy a mellow beer or two at the Sunset Sessions Pop-up Bar on the 4th August.
If you prefer a more leisured existence, why not bring a picnic or enjoy a delicious meal or snack at the Coal Loader cafe? The cafe is open from 9am-3pm and serves an appealing selection of light snacks and lunches, including a daily special. Beverages include a good selection of teas, coffees and cold drinks as well as our Beloka still and sparkling mineral water. The perfect accompaniment to an espresso, Beloka is also delightfully refreshing with lunch or a snack.
We are proud to supply the Coal Loader cafe with high-quality, prize-winning still and sparkling mineral water, carefully harvested from our pure spring located near the Kosciuszko National Park. Benefiting from a distinctive flavour, Beloka is delicious as a stand-alone beverage, a mixer or as an understated yet palatable addition to a meal.