Cockatoo Island is the largest island in Sydney Harbour and faces
Balmain and Hunters Hill, with an area of 18 ha.
In 1839 there was a penal establishment set up on the island. The
prison closed in 1908 when nautical activities gradually displaced
it. The Cockatoo Dockyard Pty Ltd (1984), formerly known as Vickers
Cockatoo Dockyard Pty Ltd, was established on the island in 1972,
tracing its history back to the middle of the nineteenth century,
when the island began to be used as a dockyard.
In 1857 the Fitzroy dry dock was built, and the Sutherland dry dock
in 1890. Soon both State and Commonwealth Governments were involved
on the island. In 1913 the Commonwealth Government took over
Cockatoo Island as a defence establishment. 1987 the Commonwealth
Government concluded the lease of the dockyards, and closed it down