Woolloomooloo Finger Wharf celebrates its centenary with a feast by world renowned chefs

Woolloomooloo Finger Wharf celebrates its centenary with a feast by world renowned chefs

Finger Wharf East view 2015

On November 7, Finger Wharf will host a gala dinner, catered by the big four chefs of Otto, China Doll, Manta and Kingsley’s, at The Concourse. Tickets for the gala dinner are now on sale through stickytickets.com.au.

All proceeds from the gala go to The Centre for Volunteering.

The wharf will also host a cocktail party on Friday, November 6 at the Ovolo Hotel and a family fun day is scheduled for Sunday, November 8. The Havencab Group is honoured to be invited to partake in the celebrations.

Situated on Woolloomooloo bay on Sydney’s Harbour,  Woolloomooloo Wharf (also known as Finger Wharf) is the largest timbered-piled building in the world. The complex houses a hotel and some of Sydney’s finest restaurants, as well as commercial offices and 5-star residential apartments. As it is a historic timber wharf, the building requires specialist services. This is the first site in Australia to be cleaned with Aqueous Ozone technology by Tersano’s patented lotus® Cleaning System and green cleaning. Havencab maintain all the public areas, common areas, and the marina, 365 days of the year.


A former wool and cargo dock, this beautiful Edwardian wharf faced oblivion for decades before a 2½ year demolition-workers’ green ban on the site in the late 1980s saved it. The government had decided to demolish the existing wharf in favour of a marina and resort but plans fell through when local residents opposed the idea by blocking the entrance of the site. It received a huge sprucing up in the late 1990s and the finger wharf apartments were completed in early 2000 by developer Lang Walker after the world’s largest timber-piled wharf had been saved from demolition in 1991.

Finger Wharf has emerged as one of Sydney’s most exclusive eating, drinking, sleeping and marina addresses. The Finger Wharf is home to The Ovolo Hotel (once called The Blue Hotel) and Water Bar, some of Sydney’s finest restaurants Akis, China Doll, Manta, Otto and Kingsleysand Sydney’s most stylish  residential apartments, all of which feature views of the Domain and the CBD’s skyscrapers.

Public access

It’s still a public wharf, so anyone is free to explore the inside, walking past industrial conveyor-belt relics, a five-star hotel and its designer Water Bar. Along the way the wharf’s history is etched into glass walls.

The Woolloomooloo Finger Wharf was formerly the home of a massive timber building (the biggest wooden structure in the world) built in the early 20th century to accommodate or contain Sydney Harbour’s commercial activities. During its working life it mainly handled the export of wool, but also acted as a staging point for troop deployment to the World Wars as well as a disembarking point for new migrants arriving in Australia.

This major refurbishment of a heritage wharf in Sydney, was developed under a joint venture development agreement between Walker Corporation Limited and Multiplex. Walker Corporation Limited brought the development, design, approval and marketing expertise, and Multiplex delivered the document and building expertise.


The existing wharf structure is 400 metres long and 63.5 metres wide.


The Wharf is a mixed-use development that features residential, hotel, retail/restaurants, marina, commercial space and carpark facilities.

Special Features & Innovative Techniques

  • Adaptive re-use of a heritage wharf building
  • Reconstruction of major structural elements within the heritage context, and building over the water provided particular complexities and challenges which were successfully overcome.
  • A 100 year strategy for maintenance of the re-used wooden piles was prepared, to ensure the longevity of this wonderful new precinct.
  • Lowering the aprin of the wharf and creating significant public open wharf space that provides continuous access to Sydney Harbour Foreshore, in line with the on-going strategy for opening up Sydney’s foreshores to the people of Sydney and visitors.
  • Use of sonar technology to assess the existing strength of the wooden piles of the wharf
  • Use of world’s leading technology for wrapping the piles in a polyeurethane skin to protect and enhance their life and ensure retention of their strength
  • Modular technology used to create the floor levels of the building, using the existing structure
  • Submerging of plant rooms due to the confined space in the building

Some of the attractions at the Finger Wharf are:

  • Spa Chakra – Offers massages, facials, hydro-baths, body wraps, pedicures, and manicures.
  • Otto Ristorante Italiano – Owned and run by Maurizio Terzini, this restaurant is the embodiment of Sydney chic dining. A popular spot for celebrities, this place is always fully booked.
  • Manta Ray – Restaurant that specializes in seafood, particularly lobster and crab. Customers get to choose from live fare from large tanks.
  • Kingsleys Steak and Crab House – East meets west with Singaporean Chilli Mud Crab and Australian Snow Crab.
  • Shimbashi Soba on the sea – Specializes in Japanese cuisine.
  • Novo Pizzeria – Casual Italian dining.
  • The Water Bar – The main attraction here is ambiance.
  • Laurent Boulangerie Pattiserie – Great coffee and delicious baked goods.
  • W Hotel Café – Great place to have breakfast.
  • Sienna Marina Café, Restaurant, Bar – Medium priced fare with casual dining style.
  • Woolloomooloo Bay Hotel – Pub and bistro.
  • Harry’s Café de Wheels – Great pie place and considered an institution by locals.

Other things to do at the Finger Wharf:

  • Take a walk through the Wharf’s leafy lanes.
  • Admire the breathtaking view of Sydney’s skyline and Harbour from any of the Wharf’s waterfront al fresco restaurants.
  • Ogle famous celebrities dining and wining at the Wharf’s high class restaurants.
  • Allow yourself to be pampered at the W’s modern 5 star facilities.


The Finger Wharf has come a long way from a dirty, decrepit dockland to its present status as an A-list venue for prime residential apartments and fine dining restaurants.

Finger Wharf in its early days

British migrants arriving on Empress Of Britain at the Finger Wharf, Woolloomooloo. Picture: State Library NSW