Former torpedo factory and submarine base HMAS Platypus will officially open to the public this weekend, after being off limits for more than 150 years. The completion of stage one of Sub Base Platypus includes a new walk and playground.

architecture sydney foreshore

The new foreshore walk runs along the old submarine wharf, including a new overwater walkway linking the site with Kesterton Park in North Sydney; a recreation and BBQ area; a new submarine-themed playground that is unique in Sydney; and access to the foreshore from Kiara Close. 

The overwater walk will provide visitors with the opportunity to travel by ferry to North Sydney Ferry Wharf and then enter Sub Base Platypus via a specially constructed walkway over the water. 

Elements of the new playground were built by the Harbour Trust’s Volunteer Restoration Team, consisting of more than 50 volunteers whose skills and expertise range from engineering and carpentry to electrical, tool makers and sheet metal work.

sydney foreshore architecture

Paying tribute to the site’s history as a submarine base for the Royal Australian Navy’s Oberon-class fleet and as a torpedo manufacturing and maintenance factory, the volunteer team has built some of the equipment, including a model Oberon Submarine and periscopes.

The former submarine workshops will be revitalised over the next two to three years, with more access provided to the site throughout 2019, according to Kevin McCann, chairman of the Harbour Trust. 

“Under the management plan for the site, the industrial heritage values of the buildings will be retained and many of these buildings will be adaptively re-used,” says McCann.

The second stage of Sub Base Platypus will involve the creation of additional public domain, including a plaza and courtyard areas, as well as base refurbishments to enable adaptive re-use of the spaces.