HMAS Watson Redevelopment


HMAS Watson base is located on a 14.6 hectare site off Cliff Street at Sydney’s South Head in New South Wales. The HMAS Watson Redevelopment project is addressing functionality and capacity shortfalls in facilities and infrastructure on the base.

The project also aims to address high risk issues associated with non-compliant facilities and reduce ongoing operating costs by consolidating similar functions.

HMAS Watson site images (PDF, 1.11 MB)

Community information

Defence consulted with local residents, statutory authorities and other interested stakeholders as part of obtaining Parliamentary expediency for the works to proceed under the provisions of the Public Works Act 1969. Consultation was conducted during September and October 2019 with a community information session held in 2020.

Defence will conduct further community information sessions throughout the construction phase of the project.

Traffic and parking

Defence commissioned a traffic consultant to assess the traffic impacts of the construction activities. The assessment considered impacts to existing traffic networks including roads, public transport, pedestrian and cycling paths.

HMAS Watson Traffic and Parking Impact (PDF, 412.1 KB)

Noise management

Defence commissioned a specialist environmental consultant to assess the noise impacts of the construction activities on the local community.

Noise management and treatment measures will be implemented to reduce noise where measures may exceed acceptable limits. Treatment measures are designed to ensure any impacts are minimised.

HMAS Watson Noise Impact (PDF, 1.15 MB)

Project details

The construction phase commenced on 20 December 2019. The redevelopment will be undertaken in 6 work elements with the project forecasted to be completed in March 2027.

The project construction hours are:

  • Monday to Friday – 7:00 am to 5:00 pm
  • Saturday – 7:30 am to 2:30 pm.

Planned Works for next 6 weeks from 18 December 2023 to 28 January 2024:

Base entry:

  • Outside the base:
    • Temporary guardhouse has been commissioned and is in operation.
    • Base access will continue to be reduced to one lane to accommodate Base Entry Stage 2 works in the exit lane. 
    • Fence installation and landscaping works at the fire tanks area.
  • Inside the Base:
    • Structural works for the new pass office and guardhouse.
    • Inground service works – relocation of exiting Fire Hydrant Booster assembly.
  • Training Facility Stage 2:
    • Ongoing excavation works and retaining walls construction.
    • Mobilisation of tower crane is planned for second week of January 2024.
  • Health clinic:
    • Ongoing civil and structure works – structural steel installation, roofing.
    • Façade and internal fit out works are due to commence in early December 2023.
  • Base wide ground services installation is ongoing.
  • Expecting 2 oversize vehicle movements in this period – 350t mobile crane entering and exiting the site to facilitate tower crane mobilisation for Training Stage 2 works .

HMAS Watson 6 Week Look Ahead (PDF, 23.59 KB)


Project element Description Expected commencement Expected completion
Training precinct Construct a new training precinct April 2020 March 2027
Base engineering services Upgrade and refurbish base engineering services, including fire/potable water, communications networks, and civil infrastructure April 2020 August 2023
Base security Install new base security systems including construction of new front entry precinct April 2020 July 2024
Galleys Refurbish the existing galleys April 2024 January 2026
Living-in accommodation Construct new trainee living In accommodation for at least 236 students, plus consequential works April 2021 November 2026
Car parking Construct replacement car parking July 2026 March 2027