John Jeremy pays tribute to Sydney Harbour's largest and by far most fascinating island in this new edition of Cockatoo Island: Sydneys Historic Dockyard. The book focuses on the industrial history of Cockatoo Island and is the most detailed account of the dockyard, its administration and activities yet written. It also provides fascinating detail and spectacular archival photography of Sydney harbours industrial heart.
We may have heard of it, may know basically where it is (Sydney harbour) and vaguely what it was for in the past, but this book tells a tale of all of this in one really interesting book.
Starting off as another annexe for the Penal Colony at Port Jackson, Garden Island had a pretty inconspicuous start. As the years went by the island was looked at closer and closer and was eventually decided on being the perfect place to set up a ship repair and dockyard for the Royal Australian Navy and its allies.
The author takes the reader from the earliest days of the island right through it's pinnacle years of ship building and repair all the way through to the museum and tourist highlight it is today. What I hadn't realised when reading the book was the role the island's industry played not only in ship building but in supporting the Greater Sydney city with resources.
The island was used not only by the Australian Navy, but by her allies and was provided employment to a huge workforce of tradesmen and labourers. The strikes are discussed in detail and the eventual demise of the shipyards and shipbuilding industry.
The book contains some wonderful photo's of the island and of yesteryears ships as they are docked for repair or rebuilding and literally illustrates the important role that the island and it's employees played during the war effort.
Overall, an exploration of a really fascinating facet of our maritime history.
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