Garden Island Hammerhead Crane – Made Safe

Garden Island Hammerhead-Made Safe


Murphy’s was the key contractor making safe the Hammerhead crane at Garden Island naval base in 2007/08.

Designed to serve the capital ships of the British Royal Navy and the Australian Navy, the crane is a marvel of the heavy engineering of its time, capable of lifting up to 250 tonnes. Completed after the end of the Second World War, age, wear and tear and corrosion have caused the structure of the crane to deteriorate.


During May 2007, a rusty piece of debris fell from the crane onto the wharf below. This was a major OHS risk to base staff and crews as naval vessels routinely dock alongside the crane.

Commcare soon placed a prohibition notice on the area beneath and around the crane.

Given the size of the crane and the long term necessity of using the berths alongside, it was important to safely regain access around the crane. The prohibition notice could then be lifted and the area be reused.


It was a priority to execute the works swiftly, given the safety risks to base personnel and the logistical necessity of using the area. Performance was also under scrutiny externally; the crane is of interest to the public, heritage & specialist groups and sections of the media.


Murphy’s consulted with stakeholders including the clients, the port services, scaffolders, engineers other contractors. This allowed effective planning of solutions along with monitoring and review of work progress.


Nine enormous stages were erected underneath the cranes jib and counter jib to intercept any items dropped from the crane structure. Any potentially insecure or loose auxiliary articles were removed.

Expectations Exceeded

Cooperation and communication between Murphy’s and the other project stakeholders was critical to the success of the project. Murphy’s, the clients, port services, engineers and sub-contractors facilitated the lifting of the prohibition notice and resumption of normal operations.

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Redfern NSW 2016

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Redfern NSW 2016

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