Restoring and preserving North Queensland heritage and tourist attraction
Bligh Tanner has helped to restore Magnetic Island’s prominent Picnic Bay Jetty following extensive cyclone damage that forced the popular heritage and tourist attraction to close for four years.
The 240 metre long timber jetty fell victim to the force of Tropical Cyclone Yasi in 2011, which called for the Queensland Government’s Department of Transport and Main Roads (DTMR) to commission Bligh Tanner to investigate the condition of the heritage-listed structure and report on options for its future use.
Bligh Tanner’s role progressed to the full documentation of repairs for rebuilding the structure to withstand a category five cyclone, all the while balancing the requirements of various stakeholders including the local community, Queensland Heritage Council, DTMR and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority.
According to Associate Director of Bligh Tanner, Simon Kochanek, the severe and aggressive conditions that the jetty is exposed to and its deteriorated and damaged condition posed several issues that needed to be resolved through the design and construction stages of the project.
“Repairs needed to be carefully detailed to minimise corrosion rates and decay of timber elements exposed to fungi and marine borers,” he said.
“These repairs, along with material specifications and coating systems, were carefully detailed and documented to maximum service life in the harsh conditions.”
It is believed some of the repair techniques adopted on the jetty by Bligh Tanner are an Australia-first which included the rebuilding and splicing of a new steel tube support over an existing broken timber pile six metres below water level.
Other underwater repairs included the strengthening of existing timber piles in-situ and reinstatement and grouting of the concrete collar that surrounded the timber piles to prevent access to the timber from marine borers.
Epoxy repairs were also carefully developed and trialled to rejuvenate and strengthen the timber pile to bearer connections at the head of the jetty.
“The repairs undertaken will help to preserve an important heritage and tourist attraction and community asset for North Queensland. The local community are particularly proud of the jetty and the historical importance it has played in the development of Magnetic Island over the last 50 years,” Kochanek said.
From its construction in 1959 through to the mid 2000s, the Picnic Bay Jetty was used as the primary ferry terminal and access point to Magnetic Island. In more recent times it has transitioned into a recreational jetty and tourist attraction for the island.
The jetty reopened to the public on 23 December 2014.