Cockatoo Island is one of Sydney’s oldest landmarks dating right back to the first settlers in Sydney.
Located at the junction of the Parramatta and Lane Cove rivers, Cockatoo Island stands as one of the most interesting historical landmarks you can reach on a short boat ride from Cockle Bay Wharf. Known by most as a convict island first and foremost, prisoners here in the early 1800s were sentenced to a life of hard labour, building the docks and cutting the sandstone blocks to create the buildings that still stand today whilst always being fearful of the looming gaol which prisoners were also made to build themselves.
What most may not know is that Cockatoo Island in the late 1800’s was a reformatory school for wayward girls. This would turn out not to be one of the governments brightest ideas. Based just offshore of the island was a training ship for nearly 500 neglected, orphaned, unruly male youths that had been picked up on the streets of Sydney.
As you can imagine it wasn’t long before secret trysts and inappropriate meetings began to occur between the two camps. Once these dalliances were discovered the school was quickly relocated to Parramatta in Sydney’s West. The Island regained its pride though in later years becoming Australia’s largest shipping yard and contributing to the industrial development of this new country and even newer city.
To learn more or to take a trip to Cockatoo Island visit http://www.cockatooisland.gov.au/