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OPT upgrade

 OPT southern forecourt

With the completion in 2013 of the multi-award winning White Bay Cruise Terminal at Balmain, our focus moved immediately to the iconic Overseas Passenger Terminal at Circular Quay.

Opened in 1960 and last upgraded in the lead up to the Sydney Olympics, the OPT was in urgent need of work to ensure it, too, continues to deliver a world's-best cruise passenger experience.

This includes the ability to comfortably host some of the largest cruise ships afloat with passenger numbers in some cases exceeding four thousand.

To do this, the OPT upgrade project was designed to greatly improve the facility's efficiency and capacity by streamlining passenger and traffic movement, enhancing passenger amenities and providing more space for trucks arriving with supplies:

In less than 12 months, the terminal was gutted and rebuilt to include:
*  a more open and welcoming entrance
*  full-height steel and glass fa├žade for natural daylight and ventilation
*  a new mezzanine floor for passenger check-in
*  new lifts, escalators and a large travelator
*  more usable space for baggage
*  a larger provisioning hall and wharf-side lay down area
*  increased taxi capacity on the elevated Hickson Road. 


Ground floor gutted


Ground floor complete

Combined with a 60 metre extension to the wharf face and construction of a new mooring dolphin in Campbell's Cove, the OPT once again is hosting cruise ships, their passengers and crews in a manner befitting one of the world's leading cruise destinations.

Remarkably, cruise ships continued to visit the terminal with minimal disruption while the upgrade and wharf extension projects continued thanks to the very close collaboration between construction and operations staff, border agencies and the cruise industry.

For this we say a sincere thank you to all involved, as well as to our OPT tenants and neighbours for their acceptance and tolerance of the construction activities.  


Authur Murch mural back in place

Heritage listed Arthur Murch mural
A major consideration of the upgrade project was the mural, Foundations of Settlement that has dominated the terminal's customs hall since 1963.

Painted by Archibald prize winner and World War II artist, Arthur Murch, the work depicts the raising of the British flag in Sydney Cove on 26 January 1788 and the disembarkation of women, children, baggage and farm equipment over the subsequent ten days.

Its necessary removal, storage for the duration of the upgrade works and reinstatement to the customs hall was overseen by a suitably qualified art expert.

Once the largest mural in Sydney, Foundations of Settlement is now listed on the Port Authority's Section 170 Heritage and Conservation Register with the following statement of significance:

The Sydney Cove Passenger Terminal played an important role as the first point of entry for immigrants into Australia. Due to its position in the customs hall of the terminal, the mural would have social significance to people arriving.