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Newington Wharf Cranes

In March 1920, shortly before the Newington magazine was taken over by the RAN, the wharf was equipped with a small, hand-worked travelling crane with a capacity of 3-hundredweight.

One of the first works carried out by Navy was the replacement or supplementation of this crane:


Hand-power Portable Balance Revolving Crane, for wharf work at R.A. Naval Ordnance Depot, Newington Reserve, Newington, Parramatta River, Sydney, N.S.W.
Tenders are invited and will be received, subject to the conditions of tendering, until twelve noon, MONDAY, 13th JULY, 1921, for the SUPPLY and ERECTION of a Hand-Power Crane, as above... "((The Argus (Melbourne), 29 June 1921

A crane, presumably that obtained in 1921, was modified in June 1933 by the fitting of an electric hoist block at a cost of £108.

Commonwealth Public Works

During March the following contracts of 1000 and over were let: ... Navy ... Newington magazines, New South Wales, extensions to wharf and pile foundations for cranes £1536 5s 6d." (Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton) 18 April 1940)

In May 1943 there were two electric cranes, type unknown, in use at the wharf and there were plans to install a third in connection with the extension of the wharf from 200 feet to 300 feet to meet US Navy needs.

The cranes in place in January 1954 were:

Crane no. 37 was a builder's crane, erected as an emergency measure in 1944.

In late 1962 and early 1963 a "Stothert and Pitt" 5-ton travelling diesel crane was erected on rails at the western end of the wharf. This crane was one of two which had been purchased for installation at Garden Island and which in November 1961 were lying, disassembled, at Rydalmere. The crane installed at Newington was intended for the plate yard at Garden Island but with the disposal of ships with heavy plating it was no longer required for the original purpose.

Cranes nos. 30 and 33 were both replaced in 1974 by 3-ton stationary level luffing electric wharf jib cranes. These cranes remain in place (2021). The cranes were constructed by G.H. & J.A. Watson, whose workshops were at Tennyson Road, Mortlake. G.H. & J.A. Watson contracted Malcolm Moore Hydraulics to supply the hydraulic and electrical packages. Smidt & Muller designed and built the hydraulically controlled drum that is without gears to prevent jarring or sudden stopping. The hydraulics would control the drum during the lift, from "a drip" (trickle slow) to full speed. Radius 22 feet. Test weight 4-ton. Fully luffing at 360 degrees; hydraulically controlled slewing. The slew bearings by Krupp, Germany. Main drive motors "Staffa" 5 cylinders by Chamberlain, UK. All operations are hydraulically controlled with safe-lock valves to prevent hose blowouts.(Source: Valuation performed by The Armory in 2007.)

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Robert Curran
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