The Graham St Rockeries

This is the briefest beginning of stories associated with the Graham St overpass.

Before the Westgate Bridge was built, access to the other side of the river at Newport was via a ferry at the end of Williamstown Road.  The Graham Street overpass was built in the late 1970s in anticipation of the growing number of cars that would pass through Port Melbourne when the Bridge opened.

Graham was an extremely busy station at that time with freight and passenger trains leaving the railway gates closed for extended periods causing frustrating delays. Shunting caused even more exasperation. The overpass allowed the railway to continue to operate without interruption while traffic flowed across the top.

The construction of the overpass involved the demolition of a small community of shops, the Foresters Arms hotel and the rockeries – a gathering place. The Maskell and McNab memorial – now on the foreshore – was also located here, near the railway – in the service of which those men died.

Graham Street

Graham Street

It would be wonderful to hear your memories of that Williamstown ferry or if you recall life in Graham St before the overpass went in.

Sources and further references:

Grainger, P 2003 Railway Rockeries: Tales of the Melbourne and Hobson’s Bay Railway Reserves, Port Melbourne Port Melbourne Vic: Port Melbourne Historical and Preservation Society

Museum Victoria – Digital Photograph – Man on Bicycle Waiting for the Williamstown Ferry to Cross, Port Melbourne, 1968 Reg. No: MM 110779


  1. Rob Bradley says:

    I remember as a kid,I attended St Joseph’s Primary School in Stokes Street and used the old Graham St crossing to walk home from school down Ross St.As young boys we were fascinated by trains and used to linger at the old wooden gates to watch them pass.The freight diesels were my favourites.We also used to hop onto and then “ride” the road gates as they opened after the trains had passed,much to the signal mans disgust.He used to shout at us from the old wooden signal box windows to “get off the gates” or else.I sometimes wish that we could go back in time so I could experience those times again.They are still very vivid in my memory some 50 years on.Wonderful times in my life.Thank you for refreshing my memory

    • Janet Bolitho says:

      Hi Rob
      So great to hear your stories of life around Graham. Hope you’ll keep an eye on the website. With a bit of luck other memories will be triggered that you might share.

  2. I went to Graham Street Primary,i remember alway’s useing the underpass,going through the gates to cross,the guy’s shutting gate;s for train’s,the good old day’s

  3. Hi Janet,

    I lived in the Station Street Housing commission flats when the bridge was built,
    there were boom gates there and a horse trough on the right just before the park and the entrance to Graham Street Station.
    The last draw horse carts used to remove rubbish from the streets of Port Melbourne which stopped operating in 1972.This Trough was one of the stops where the horses use to drink at.
    There was a group of shops in Graham Street that was demolished and I can remember frolicking in the Shoe repair shop when it was demolished. I brought some old shoe trinkets home and my mum made me take them back.
    We played on the site and were forever being told to get off, when they started to tar the road we got up on the bridge on skateboards and bikes, only to be reprimanded to get off.
    It was a huge event in a child’s life. I also attended St Joseph’s Port Melbourne with Robert Bradley.
    regards, Nicolas Hermence

    • Janet Bolitho says:

      Hi Nicolas
      Sounds like you had a lot of fun! I am so interested in that period when the overpass went in. I wonder how long it took to build? They must also have needed to dismantle/demolish those station buildings. Your memories most gladly received.

  4. I came across this site as i was looking for information about the construction of the Graham Street bridge. My father is turning 80 and we are putting together a memory book for him. To this day every time we pass over or under the bridge he reminds me that he built that bridge. Makes me smile every time i pass it.

    • David Thompson says:

      Hi Paula,
      Thanks for visiting. It’s great that you have such a concrete connection to Port Melbourne … sorry that was very bad! Your comment raises so many questions. What is your father’s name? What was his role in the construction of the overpass? Are you still looking for information about that part of Port?

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