This paper evaluates the role of the Sydney Harbour Trust in the first decade of its existence. Although the Trust was formed in the aftermath of the outbreak of bubonic plague in Sydney in 1900, the need for an overhaul of the facilities in the port had been recognised for some time. Shipping technology had been transformed in the last half century, mainly due to the adaption of steel and iron for ships. However, the port had not kept up with the changes occurring in shipping. The Harbour Trust, therefore, set about reconstructing the harbour in response to the new technology. A significant feature of the Sydney Harbour Trust was that it had no ties whatsoever to the system of local government pertaining in Sydney at the time. Nor was it a government department, although it was seen as another arm of the state public works enterprise. The Sydney Harbour Trust was therefore the first of the ad hoc authorities without local government links formed in New South Wales.