Friday, January 10, 2014


Greetings and best wishes for 2014.
Port Melbourne Historical and Preservation Society is transitioning to a new website http://pmhps.org.au
These short posts will continue to appear weekly on the new website. All previously entries are on the new website. This week's post makes some bold claims about Port Melbourne and the Ashes  www.pmhps.org.au/2014/01/it-has-to-be-about-cricket

Your stories, memories and reflections on Port are always warmly welcomed.

Thursday, December 19, 2013


Port Melbourne Historical and Preservation Society is moving to a new website early in 2014. This blog will become part of the new website, rather than separate from it, as it is now. It will make it easier for readers to find the Society in one place online.
Thank you for your interest in Port Melbourne's history. This blog will take a break from publication until the week beginning the 6th January 2014.

Cottage on the corner

PMHPS has observed a notice of application for a planning permit for this house on the corner of Nott and Farrell Sts, Port Melbourne.
Morley's Cottage: cnr Nott and Farrell Sts, Port Melbourne
This is where William Morley lived. He was the the first chairman of Sandridge when it became a municipality separate from Melbourne in 1860. He was mayor in 1867 and remained a Councillor until his death in 1877. You may have seen his name before - on the Bay St frontage of the former coal store now occupied by South Pacific Gym. Morley was a coal merchant and carter. The coal store, built out of bluestone, gives an indication that Morley was successful businessman.
Read more about Morley, the circumstances of his election and his family life in
The Borough and Its People: Port Melbourne 1839 to 1939 by Margaret and Graham Bride pp 82-84

Thursday, December 12, 2013

One of a kind - Port Melbourne Railway Station

This week a Planning Panel has been meeting in Port Melbourne to hear submissions on the planning future of 1 to 7 Waterfront Place.
The relationship between the proposed development of that site and the Port Melbourne Railway Station is one of the matters being considered. The building is on the Victorian Heritage Register (VHR) which is for places of significance to Victoria. The City of Port Phillip heritage register is for places with local heritage significance. This reminds us that the Port Melbourne Railway Station is an important place for Victoria and the citation explains why:
'The former Port Melbourne Railway Station building is historically significant by association with the first public steam railway in Australia, and with the development and use of the Port Melbourne piers. The building played an important role in the history of the piers, in particular Station Pier, and in the social history of Melbourne with its association with the popular bay excursion trade.
The former Port Melbourne Railway Station building, which was rebuilt at a time when the function of the piers was expanding, is significant in demonstrating a critical change in the maritime activity of the Bayside area. Its significance is further enhanced by the fact that, unlike the piers, it has not been dramatically altered throughout the twentieth century. The former Port Melbourne Railway Station building is of architectural and historical significance as a distinctive building type, the only surviving representation within the metropolitan context of a small group of station buildings developed by the Victorian Railways Department following the 1890s depression. The significance is enhanced by the integrity of its building fabric.' (Statement of Cultural Heritage Significance VHR HO983)

The City of Port Phillip's expert heritage witness Anita Brady of Lovell Chen argued that
'For both proposals, there will be impacts on the VHR listed station building arising out of the close proximity of substantial new development. While the impacts vary, both proposals still represent an unacceptable outcome for the heritage listed railway station building. Both proposals also have new building components extending in the VHR extent of registration of the railway station, which are not consistent with the heritage values and character of the railway station, or of maintaining an appropriate setting to the station. Constructing these elements in the VHR registered land would require a permit from Heritage Victoria and not from the responsible authority (the Council)

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Beginning and ending: Holden

Today, after weeks of uncertainty but with an increasing sense of foreboding, Holden announced that it will cease to make cars in Australia from 2017. Holden, Port Melbourne, Fishermans Bend - inseparable. This is where Australia began its journey into automobile manufacture and where it will end. There will be much more said, but PMHPS wanted to mark this sad day - the implications of which will be felt throughout Victoria in the years to come. 2,900 jobs will be lost: 1600 in Adelaide and 1300 in Victoria. Read GM's media release.



Thursday, December 5, 2013

More tales from the Bend

Whenever PMHPS speaks with people who grew up in Port, tales from the Bend emerge. It seems that the Bend offered the best kind of adventures a boy could have. (Girls weren't allowed down there). Boys roamed about in a way that would not be permitted in our safety preoccupied world. Many of these stories start with getting on the bike. Fun and fascination included being able to watch ships on the river from the elevation of scrapheaps, and messing about in the swampy wetlands for tadpoles. And how about this ... going down to the abattoirs at the bottom on Ingles St at the weekend and riding the sheep. Apparently animals were held there over the weekend before being slaughtered.  A mother's 'Where have you been!?' would have been a rhetorical question.
The abattoir occupied 5 1/2 acres near the river: 686' frontage to Lorimer, 570' to Hartley , 850' to Boundary St and 112' to Harbor Trust Street.
In tougher times, people would go down to the abattoir for sweetbreads and sheep's hearts. Hughie Sykes, a coalie from Montague would come home at lunch time with a bag full.
This 1872 map is faint, so to get your bearings, the abbattoir is shown inside the rectangle close to the river at the top of the map and Ingles St is the straight road that intersects the railway line. You can also see how little development there was west of the railway at that time and that there were absolutely no obstructions between the railway line and the river.

Source
Jubilee History of the Melbourne Harbor Trust compiled from the original records of the Trust and from the Victorian Hansard /​ by Benjamin Hoare

Does anyone know when the abatoir closed?  Do you have a Bend story? 

Thursday, November 28, 2013

'A sodden expanse' - Fishermans Bend

PMHPS continues to be preoccupied with Fishermans Bend. In the late 1930s Fishermans Bend was on the cusp of a major transformation to industrial development - a change that was anticipated with excitement and optimism. Charles Daley in The History of South Melbourne says:
'The once-despised Fishermen's Bend - a no-man's land - under the pressure of economic circumstance, has come into its own, and its sodden expanse bids fair, under the exercise of human knowledge, skill and labour, directed to its reclamation, to provide eventually scope for great projects and undertakings conducive to the advantage of the State.
In this long-neglected and unoccupied area of 'Siberia,' ... great activity and interest have been aroused. On 5th November, 1936, occurred on, the north side of 'The Bend,' the opening of the great and extensive factory for motor construction of the noted firm of General Motors-Holden's, whose enterprise has set the example for other leading industrial ventures and subsidiary factories.
The Aircraft Factory ... in which the Broken Hill Proprietary, Imperial Chemical Industries and General Motors Companies are jointly concerned, has been established, and many applications have been made for leases on what must become a manufacturing area of great importance, giving employment to thousands of workmen.' (p344)
Rootes Factory in Salmon St
Harold Paynting Collection State Library of Victoria

The photograph above shows the Rootes factory under construction. The extensive plant covered almost an entire block and became the headquarters for manufacture of aircraft (principally the Beaufort bomber) by the Department of Aircraft Production during WWII. It reverted to car manufacture after the war.*

Source
*Port Melbourne Walk booklet produced but the Art Deco & Modernism Society