(New South Wales)
Cockatoo Island is the largest island in Sydney Harbour in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. Located at the junction of the Parramatta and Lane Cove rivers, Cockatoo Island is a former imperial prison, industrial school, reformatory and gaol. It was also the site of one of Australia's biggest shipyards during the twentieth century. The first of its two dry docks was built by convicts and was completed in 1857. The island's maritime industrial activity ceased in 1992. Cockatoo Island was inscribed on the World Heritage List in July 2010.
The island is managed by the Sydney Harbour Federation Trust which is also responsible for seven other lands around Sydney Harbour. The Harbour Trust is revitalising the island as a landmark harbour attraction with cultural events and heritage interpretation. Today Cockatoo Island retains many remnants of its past. Its prison buildings have been World Heritage listed, part of a serial listing of 11 Australian Convict Sites. Large workshops, slipways, wharves, residences and other buildings retain the texture of the island's industrial past.
In late March 2005 the Harbour Trust, in partnership with an event organiser, held the Cockatoo Island Festival. The event put the island on Sydney's cultural map and initiated a range of cultural activities including contemporary art installations, exhibitions and festivals. The island is a major venue partner of the Biennale of Sydney.
The Harbour Trust opened a camp ground on the island in 2008 . The camp ground attracts some 20,000 campers a year and is a popular spot for watching Sydney's renowned New Year's Eve fireworks. In 2010, the island attracted a capacity crowd of over 2000 campers to view NYE fireworks. Other island holiday accommodation consists of five renovated houses and apartments with harbour and city views.
Sydney Ferries services Cockatoo Island as part of its Woolwich/Balmain ferry route and Parramatta RiverCat route. Day visitors are welcome, and can picnic, barbecue, visit the cafe, wander at leisure or take an audio or guided tour. Cockatoo Island is open daily and there is no admission charge.
Regular events and art installations are a feature of the island.
Cockatoo Island has grown into a versatile cultural venue on Sydney's cultural calendar. In 2008, it was a major venue partner of the 16th Biennale of Sydney, attracting over 80,000 visitors over 12 weeks. In 2010, the event attracted over 156,000 people. In 2009, Cockatoo Island hosted the Sydney Festival's "All Tomorrow's Parties" music festival. The 2 day festival included twenty-four bands over four stages across the island, and was curated and headlined by Nick Cave, attracting an audience of over 11,000. The island hosted the World's Funniest Island Comedy Festival in October 2009, with 200 comedy acts appearing over a weekend, attracting over 8,000 visitors.
The island is also increasingly used as a venue for private events both large and small. Part of the blockbuster X-Men Origins: Wolverine was filmed there in 2008. Reality television programs have also used the island as a location