The Shell Cove Boatharbour Project is one of the most significant recreational boating facilities proposed for the NSW coast, located approximately 100km south of Sydney.  The Project is being managed under a joint venture arrangement between Frasers Property Australia and Shellharbour City Council.  The $150 million plus boatharbour development includes excavation of a dig-out harbour, foreshore edge treatment, town centre, timber boardwalk, breakwater and groyne rock structures, dredging and beach nourishment, boat launching and maintenance facilities, and around a 270 berth floating marina.

Extensive investigations and design development dates back more than 30 years that has been primarily carried out by Advisian and Patterson Britton and Partners prior to acquisition by WorleyParsons. Construction of the projects was originally proposed to commence in 2008 however, a decision was made not to proceed at the time. The Project was later divided into three stages with the Stage 1 construction contract being awarded to Coastwide Civil that commenced in 2013. The delay and staging of the construction presented the opportunity to undertake additional investigations and studies, seek further input, and modify the design to better achieve the Project’s objectives in a more cost effective and environmentally sensitive manner.

Construction of the Shell Cove Boatharbour is expected to be complete by 2019. The majority of harbour works is being constructed in relatively dry conditions assisted by regular dewatering, with the harbour to be eventually flooded in a two stage process. The use of dewatering has benefited several construction components of the Project such as the bulk excavation, management of acid sulfate soils, construction of the foreshore edge treatment, and piling of the boardwalk and marina.

This paper presents an overview of the design development of the Project with a focus on the implementation of the design during construction, construction challenges faced, and how they have been overcome.


  • Ben Morgan, Advisian, Sydney, Australia; ben.morgan@advisian.com
  • Deborah Lam, Advisian, Sydney, Australia.
  • Greg Britton, Royal HaskoningDHV, Sydney, Australia
  • Pieter Goldie, Goldie Consulting, Cambewarra, Australia

Cover photo: Aerial View of the Shell Cove Boatharbour Project (photograph supplied by Frasers Property Australia)