On board the Machiavelli as part of the Eden Breakwater Wharf Extension

Welcome aboard the Machiavelli, the backhoe dredge that will remove about 230,000 cubic metres of material from Eden’s Twofold Bay.

The Magnet was fortunate enough to take an up-close look on board and below the deck to see Heron Construction Company’s largest dredge in action.

As part of the $44million Eden Breakwater Wharf Extension project, the dredge will create a deep berthing pocket for large cruise ships to tie up alongside the extended wharf.

Eden Local Aboriginal Land Council chair BJ Cruse spoke to workers at the site on Tuesday morning, explaining the local Aboriginal history before a welcome to country.

Dredging operations manager Garry Ward then led NSW Department of Industry – Lands and Forestry staff on a tour of the Machiavelli.

Safety precautions were high as visitors were greeted to an up-close look at the dredge in action.

Living quarters, operation rooms and storage facilities were also observed, as was the first of many concrete mattresses back on the wharf.

Dredging operations manager Garry Ward explains the dredging process from the excavator cockpit

Mr Ward said 12 workers from Twofold Aboriginal Corporation’s Mundabaa Constructions had been inducted for the shore-based operations.

“It’s a really good partnership. They’re excellent to deal with,” Mr Ward said.

“They’re so keen to learn and been really inspiring.

“They’re a great bunch of blokes.”

Heron has also helped Mundabaa develop learning manuals to implement into its safety system.

Already 65 workers have been inducted to the dredging project, with about 100 expected to be inducted by the end of the operation.

Dredging is operating day and night and is expected to be completed in about 15 weeks, weather depending, while the extension project is due for completion by March 2019.

Dredged material is taken to an offshore disposal site about six nautical miles east of Twofold Bay in about 60m depth in the Tasman Sea within Commonwealth Waters.

It is located within a previously-used disposal ground by the Department of Defence Twofold Bay project.

In addition to the dredging, the construction of the wharf extension will include extending the existing wharf by about 110 metres, installation of berthing and mooring dolphins, installation of landside bollards and installation of minor services such as lighting, power and potable water.