1861 Plan of Cockatoo Island for Committee on Public Prisons

Gother Kerr Mann1861

Sydney Harbour Federation Trust

Sydney Harbour Federation Trust
Sydney, Australia

During the 1840s, Gother Kerr Mann was appointed the Engineer in Chief of Cockatoo Island, then a convict penal establishment. In this role, he was responsible for designing and constructing the island’s dockyard – notably, Fitzroy Dock, built between 1847 and 1857. Mann was one of Australia's foremost nineteenth century engineers and Fitzroy Dock has the distinction of being both the earliest graving dock commenced in Australia and the only remaining example, nationally, of a dry dock constructed by convicts. During the 1850s, the island’s dual use as a prison and a dockyard led to management conflict. This was partly overcome, when Mann was appointed the superintendent of the prison in 1859, making him responsible for every aspect of island life. He remained in this position until his retirement in 1870.

Image courtesy of Mitchell Library (State Library of New South Wales)


  • Title: 1861 Plan of Cockatoo Island for Committee on Public Prisons
  • Creator: Gother Kerr Mann
  • Date Created: 1861
  • Location Created: Cockatoo Island, Sydney Harbour, NSW
  • Physical Dimensions: Unknown
  • Type: Photograph
  • Rights: Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales
  • Medium: Photograph

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