Wedding Location Ideas: Unique Venues

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We examine some of Australia’s best-kept secrets; the hidden urban gems that offer an alternative backdrop for the modern couple

Waterfront locales and garden greats hold a special place in our hearts at CWS but this issue, we wanted to highlight some of the venues that offer a glimpse into history. Many urban locations have a story to tell or, in fact, still whisper a story of times gone by to those who pass through its doors, under the beams or alongside the corrugated-iron outer layers. There is beauty to be found in these venues and it shouldn’t be overlooked.

Fact file: Walka Water Works

Rochelle McLennan from Maitland City Council runs us through all that Walka Water Works has to offer. “Maitland City Council has managed this historic site for seven years. Walka Water Works is one of Maitland’s most beautiful historical buildings now providing a unique venue and setting for weddings and receptions. Wedding ceremonies can be enjoyed in the grounds while guests enjoy the relaxed atmosphere of the facility. The Eastern Annex building has seating for 110 guests at round tables with rectangle tables available for the bridal party. 

The venue offers a picturesque setting for your dream wedding day at an extremely competitive price. While only minutes from the city centre, couples and their guests will feel miles away in the superb rural setting at Walka. Walka Water Works offers couples a blank canvas when it comes to planning their wedding ceremony, photos and reception.

Walka is the perfect destination for couples who wish to be able to individualise their wedding day to reflect who they are. Walka Water Works grounds offer various wedding ceremony locations including a reception venue, gardens and rotunda. The Eastern Annex is a part of the original building, which was designed and constructed by the Public Works Department between 1887 and 1913. The complex is constructed of loadbearing brickwork, with trussed roof structures supporting corrugated-iron roof sheeting, creating the perfect backdrop for photos.

The former pump house, with its striking chimney, ornate brickwork and Victorian Italianate architecture, possesses an appealing and unique visual charm.

The Eastern Annex, formerly the Boiler Room, is available to hire for receptions. The room is a one-storey structure with exposed brick and a galvanised-iron roof. The roof is double hipped with a ceiling height of 5.8m. Arched timber windows are located along the northern and western elevations and timber arched doors along the eastern elevation. The room contains a timber stage that has been constructed in the corner with power available to the room. 

Located north of the Boiler Room and separated by a paved courtyard, the workshop is a small single-storey brick building with a galvanised-iron roof and concrete floor. It is currently used for storing tables and chairs for functions and utilised for food preparation for functions held in the Boiler Room. Various catering options work well with this beautiful location with cooking equipment required to be supplied by the hirer or caterer. The venue is available for set-up two to three days prior to the wedding day with a one-day bump out available.

Amenities are located near the large play equipment at the main picnic ground. Various locations within the fenced grounds are available for hire including a small rotunda. Access is available to the other side of the dam via a mini train that can provide the bride, groom and guests a fun start to their celebrations.”


Fact file: Cockatoo Island

You may have been there for an art exhibition or for an insight into Sydney’s history, but did you know that Cockatoo Island also offers an exceptional setting for an industrial wedding? Karly Inglis gives us the details. “Cockatoo Island offers a waterfront location, spectacular harbour views and a beautiful historical venue, which sets it apart from other venues in Sydney. It has been open to the public since 2007 and offers a variety of venues for hire, including the Naval Store, which is a former wharf-side warehouse featuring a concrete floor, exposed truss ceilings and beams.

The venue is hired unfurnished, offering flexibility for the bride and groom to tailor it to suit their tastes. Cockatoo Island does not have exclusive catering so couples can choose their own caterers and bring them to the island. The Sydney Harbour Federation Trust is a self-funding agency created by the Australian Government to protect and improve public access to former defence and commonwealth sites around Sydney Harbour.

The Sydney Harbour Federation Trust sites include Cockatoo Island and Snapper Island in Sydney Harbour, Woolwich Dock and Parklands, HMAS Platypus in Neutral Bay, Headland Park and Chowder Bay in Mosman, North Head Sanctuary in Manly, Marine Biological Station in Watsons Bay and Macquarie Lightstation in Vaucluse. Cockatoo Island also offers diverse accommodation options from luxury harbour-view apartments and heritage houses to waterfront camping. This gives the couple the opportunity to invite their guests to stay overnight or for the whole weekend, enabling them to spend more time with guests after the wedding festivities.

The Naval Store is a unique venue that would suit a couple who would like the flexibility of creating their own theme and who are looking for an exciting and non-traditional space fi lled with character and history. Cockatoo Island is just a short romantic ferry or water taxi ride from Circular Quay, past the Opera House and under the Harbour Bridge. The Naval Store gets hired out for three days so the couple have a day either side of their wedding to set-up and break down.


A Brisbane beauty

Think raw brickwork, beautiful wroughtiron balconies, dark-timber floors and historic furnishings throughout. Perhaps you’re looking for a venue a little further out of town or are searching for somewhere specifically up the coast in Brisbane. If so, the Transcontinental is a serious contender. The venue is steeped in history having first
opened its doors 130 years ago, making it one of Brisbane’s oldest venues. Refurbished recently, it still gives a nod to its past, while offering a contemporary space that is perfect for weddings.



We realise this venue is not strictly an industrial-style locale; however, as it is an inner-city stunner, we think we can just about sneak it in. Opened late last year, this venue boasts some truly magnificent features including beautifully restored rare white marble, Parisian-style balconies, a nautical-themed bar and a rooftop retreat to soak it all in from. We particularly love this rooftop pool and lounge that looks out over Double Bay. You’ll be pleased to hear that
the venue does indeed host weddings and caters to all needs from diverse themes to quality catering.

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