Changing the face of Newcastle
The Deconstruction of the Queen’s Wharf Tower saved local taxpayers $1.6 million in the next four years
The Queen’s Wharf Tower had long been “the subject of ridicule” (Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes) due to its unusual look, but the main reason the City of Newcastle council approved the deconstruction works was because of safety concerns and the projected cost – $1.6 million in the next four years – of maintaining the aging tower.
The Queen’s Wharf Tower was a 40 m high steel framed central observation tower, which was erected in 1988 to honour a royal visit. The tower was located at the Queen’s Wharf, which is a popular multi-purpose venue in Newcastle with coffee shops, restaurants and a ferry wharf. Since the removal of the tower, the City of Newcastle plans to replace the tower with public art.
Major Projects Group enters the commercial demolition realm
After several decades of industrial demolition experience, Major Projects Group decided to start undertaking commercial demolition works. One of the company’s first awarded projects in this sector was the removal of the Queen’s Wharf Tower. In cooperation with Virtual Perspective and the City of Newcastle, Major Projects Group first created a 3D animation of the demolition process after winning the government bid.
To deconstruct the tower, Major Projects Group first rigged a 300 tonne crane to the top of the tower to take the load of the roof structure. The oxy cutters then worked from under the roof to cut columns and braces that supported the roof structure. After the cuts, the crane lifted the section off and placed it on the wharf next to a pad that was specifically created for Major Projects Group’s excavator to sit on.
Oxy cutters then cut the remaining tower sections down to the bottom deck into 5 equal sections, and each section was removed using the 300 tonne crane. The company’s 32 tonnne excavator with shear and grab attachment cut each removed tower section into bin sized pieces and placed them into bins, which were transported to a scrap yard.
The main deconstruction works were completed within 5 days, and on night shifts to avoid any disruptions to the daily life of the Newcastle Public enjoying the wharf area.
A History of completing demolition projects in Newcastle
As a local demolition contractor, Major Projects Group has a long history of completing numerous demolition projects in the Port of Newcastle Area, including the demolition of the BHP Newcastle Steelworks – through its former name Moltoni Adams – where 106,000 tons of scrap steel, and over 99%, of the entire Mill by weight was recycled. Just recently the company also completed the demolition of the 258 tonnes rail mounted ship loader no.2 at GrainCorp’s Carrington Wharf site, just opposite to where the Queens Wharf Tower was located.
The removal of the Queen’s Wharf Tower now “accentuate[s] the view corridor between Queen’s Wharf and Newcastle harbor and the Christ Church Cathedral.” (Council of the City of Newcastle).
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