Cocktatoo Carpenter

Carpenter, Don Evenden restores heritage buildings on Cockatoo Island, the site of Australia's trade history. He shares what's involved in being a carpenter on a heritage listed island and the changes he's made to the buildings.

About Don:

Initially Don was a project manager on Cockatoo island when 'Wolverine' the movie was shot there a couple of months ago. His job was to make sure the film crew did not damage any of the heritage structures. He has remained on the island because his obvious love and passion for restoring and maintaining the historic buildings is great.

Often working with a heritage architect for historical accuracy, Don cuts timbers in the joinery workshop, a large structure located on Cockatoo. He makes individual jigs by hand for the specific heritage fabrication as well as milling the timber also by hand.

Don left school at 16 to start his apprenticeship and worked nights to become a carpenter. He has found that diversifying his skills set with the heritage research and fabrication has made been the key to his current success.

About Heritage Listing:

Listing on the National Heritage List and the Commonwealth Heritage List means that Cockatoo Island will be cared for and managed so that future generations will be able to experience and understand this special place.

Any changes or significant impacts to the site must be approved by the Australian Government Minister for the Environment and Water Resources. As custodian of Cockatoo Island, the Harbour Trust is conserving significant buildings and structures, adaptively re-using historic buildings and interpreting the island's remarkable history.

Cockatoo Island is a diverse site: its harbour location and spectacular views; the surrounding maritime environment; its dramatic landscape features transformed over decades of use; the layers of history found in Cockatoo's complex network of buildings and its gritty, industrial character.

As custodian of Cockatoo Island for the people of Australia, the Harbour Trust is working to protect its significant features so that future generations can experience and enjoy this unique island. The Harbour Trust aims to revitalise Cockatoo Island as an active part of Sydney's cultural life.

Cockatoo Island's connection to Australia's convict past, and its remarkable history make it a significant heritage place. Surviving historic buildings and rare industrial remnants showcase two centuries of changing use as a prison, shipbuilding facility and dockyard.

Cockatoo Island is recognised as being a significant heritage place for the people of NSW and Australia. It tells the story of the country's development from a penal settlement to a maritime industrial nation.

It is important to us because it: operated as a convict goal (1839 -1869) became a reformatory and industrial school for girls, a recreation area for boys from the training ships, Vernon and Sobraon, and then reverted to a goal again (1888-1908) developed as a dock and shipbuilding yard (1847 -1992).

Heritage Listings:

Cockatoo's significance to the people of Australia is recognised by listing of the island on: National Heritage List Commonwealth Heritage List.

Cockatoo Island is also being submitted to UNESCO for consideration on the World Heritage List, as part of a nomination of 11 historic convict sites across NSW, Tasmania and Norfolk Island.

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VJ Rodney Meier