Today, Woolwich is listed in the River timetable as just another stop on the way to Parramatta (although it is a separate ferry, which only goes as far upstream as Cockatoo Island). But the Woolwich ferry has been running since the 1880's, a century or so before the Parramatta Rivercats started. Located on a peninsula between the Parramatta and Lane Cove Rivers, road travel from Woolwich to anywhere requires an upstream detour as far as Gladesville Bridge or Longueville Bridge, so the ferry survived when the 19th century services to Gladesville and Ryde did not.
Although the homes in Woolwich come right down to the water, which means that there are no foreshore walks like those beyond Cabarita, there are two special places worth visiting right on the foreshore, not far from Valentia Street Wharf.
The Woolwich ferry only runs hourly, so you will need to plan your trip. From the wharf, you can either walk up the hill and turn left, or take the 538 bus (which meets the ferry), as far as the recently refurbished Woolwich Pier Hotel (it's a 20 minute walk).
Opposite the hotel is Woolwich Dock, originally a 19th century private dockyard where some of the Manly ferries were built, later used by the Army, and now opened to the public by its current owner the Sydney Harbour Federation Trust. It is still a working dockyard, but one that you can wander around.
Just upstream from Woolwich Dock is Kellys Bush, made famous by being the first place where local residents joined with the Builders Labourers Federation to set up "green bans", to stop inappropriate redevelopment. Green bans subsequently saved The Rocks (beneath the southern approach to the Harbour Bridge), now one of Sydney's main tourist areas, and saved Centennial Park from becoming the development that is now Olympic Park.
There are several choices for where to eat around here, including the pub and (at the water's edge in Woolwich Dock) Deckhouse Cafe.
If you want to explore further, there are a number of walking routes organised by the local council, which take in the built environment of Woolwich and Hunters Hill.
This page was last modified on Fri Jul 1, 2016
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