The small community of Koondrook, on the shores of the Murray River, needed a revamp following a downturn in tourism and a declining agro-economy. The updated wharf makes use of old infrastructure, whilst modernising the Murray riverside tourism hub.
The new wharf features a large circular entry point which acts like an axis for entering the new boardwalk. The boardwalk splits off from here in several directions, snaking through the old red gums that line much of the length of the Murray. The paths arrive at different viewpoints of the Murray riverbank, providing beautiful views of nature, but the pinnacle of the boardwalk journey is the floating jetty that juts out over the water.
The wharf and jetty creates provisions for mooring houseboats, paddle steamers and private boats, which will increase tourism through the Murray. The wharf also creates a stronger connection between the township and the river- and important connection for the locals, both historically and for modern living. A plaza has been sited on the area behind the new wharf, opposite the old historic wharf.
Locally sourced red gum was used for most of the structural work and decking, and continues through into a local mural created by indigenous artists Glenn Romanis and Auntie Esther Kirby. The entrance mural is made from the red gum, basalt, and slate, and rests on an old tram turntable.
The most prominent material used in the Koondrook Wharf project is the locally sourced red gum timber, which is the most common of the eucalyptus species in Australia, and ubiquitous along the Murray. The benefit of its ubiquity is that all of the logs could be sourced from within 4km of the site, minimising the embodied energy of the material from transport and ensuring all timber was sourced from FSC and Responsible Wood certified areas.
The raw logs were then milled and air dried only 200m from the wharf site at Arbuthnot Sawmills, which were established in 1889. Air drying not only saves on energy use, but drying so close to the site of use ensures that the timber acclimatises to its local condition, preventing movement after installation.
Four platforms, made from local red gum timber, meander through the existing red gums and minimise the loss of vegetation.
The four platform are optimised for the most beautiful river views, one to the original wharf and the heritage-listed historic shed. The second platform delivers views upriver while the third faces downriver. The fourth platform view is directed towards the old timber mill, which is the site of much local history, and the newly reopened mill provided the milling for the new wharf project.