Sydney's White Bay along with its neighbour, Glebe Island, have been working ports since the mid-1800s, handling just about everything from timber and paper, coal, sugar and cement to cars and containers.
The NSW Government has identified both as vital to the City's economy, and in March 2013 announced its commitment to maintaining these important maritime assets as working ports as it frees up neighbouring bays for public access.
Glebe Island is Sydney's last remaining deepwater port able to supply the City's ongoing demand for dry bulk goods such as sugar, gypsum and cement.
White Bay's evolution to a cruise terminal came with the closure of Darling Harbour to make way for the Barangaroo development.
The Government's Passenger Cruise Terminal Steering Committee, which included representatives from the Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority (SHFA), Tourism and Transport Forum, NSW Maritime, Tourism NSW, Royal Australian Navy (RAN), major cruise companies and Sydney Ports Corporation (now Port Authority of New South Wales), saw White Bay as the natural home for Sydney's second cruise passenger facility.
In the committee's words:
"The critical elements of size, infrastructure and ability to enforce modern maritime security requirements were already there, and when you add the ability to use the neighbouring White Bay 4 to simultaneously host a second cruise ship, the choice was obvious."
Leichhardt Council, local businesses and community members, along with the cruise industry and organisations with a major interest in Sydney Harbour were all involved as the terminal progressed through the stages of planning, design and construction.
The White Bay Cruise Terminal officially opened on 19 April 2013 and, in tandem with Sydney's Overseas Passenger Terminal at Circular Quay, ensures Sydney is able to meet the demands of a booming and valuable cruise industry.