Looking back on 2014

The Society started the year with this new website. This year we also ventured into facebook reaching 100 ‘likes’ in November. These social media have opened up new ways for people with a Port connection to  get in touch and share stories.

We have learned about the micro-world that was the Fisherman’s Bend Migrant Hostel. This small photograph of a shop in Station St has brought out detailed memories of this lost part of Port Melbourne.

Milkbar in Station St image: Shirley Videoin

Milkbar in Station St
Image: Shirley Videion

History is made every day. Perhaps the brief notes below will assist when we wonder – ‘when did that happen?’

Perhaps this was a defining moment for Port in 2014 – Dugga Beazley’s boat was required to be taken off the street and into the yard, consigning this scene which had been a feature of this corner for at least 25 years and likely more,  to history.

Dugga Beazley's boat

Dugga Beazley’s boat

Fire and flood in the Borough

A fire in Rouse St on 8 May damaged Port Melbourne Automotive which has been boarded up ever since. 1 – 7 Waterfront Place burned in the early hours of 14 September adding complexity to this already controversial site. An electrical fault caused a fire which severely, perhaps terminally?, damaged the large house on the corner of Esplanade West and Bridge St in November.

On December 16, a burst water main caused a sink hole in Liardet Street that brought us face to face with the hidden infrastructure world under the street on which we rely.

Emergency back-up generation is being installed to the Port Melbourne Pumping Station, confirming the enduring role that piece of infrastructure plays in managing Port Melbourne’s flood risk.

Fire and flood in the Borough in 2014

Fire and flood in the Borough in 2014

Planning

The ‘vision’ for Fishermans Bend was released late in 2013 followed by the Strategic Framework Plan on July 24.  The election of the Labor government on November 29 suggests that the Fishermans Bend project will proceed in some modified way yet to be articulated.

The first planning approval for Fishermans Bend Urban Renewal Area, for 164 Ingles St, was issued in December 2013.  It took a good part of 2014 for the former Symex/Kitchen’s factory to be demolished. No more smells! Will they ever be remembered fondly? Meanwhile, at the Society’s rooms it has taken nearly all year to catalogue the extensive Kitchens collection so gratefully received from its former custodians.

The year ended with news that the former Kitchen’s administration building has been bought for a new school with welcome plans for the restoration of that handsome but much deteriorated building.

End of an industrial era

End of an industrial era

The Port Phillip Council adopted the Bay street Structure Plan in August which includes stronger protection for remaining significant heritage buildings in Port Melbourne.

The Waterfront Place development saga continued throughout 2014 with its unfolding complexities understood fully by few. The year ended with news that VCAT has ruled in favour of varying the covenants that protected the site’s low rise nature.

Birthdays and Anniversaries

Holy Trinity Church shared its 160th birthday in a very public way with almost weekly activities in the courtyard. The hall continues its transformation into a church with the recent return of the stained glass altar window and people marking all the stages of life at the Church. Inventive and dynamic Father Noel Whale is very conscious of the history and tradition of the church in Port Melbourne and its ‘Port’ nature.The Society’s exhibition to support the birthday celebrations ensures that the history of the church is well documented.

In November the Liardets re-visited the Beach with Pamela Horsley’s immersion in, and interpretation of, the life of her forebears in the exhibition Adventuring with the Liardets  at Gasworks Arts Park.

The Piers

There has been a new focus on Station Pier with belated recognition of the  value of cruise shipping to Port Melbourne. The Waterfront Welcomers programme has been well received by visitors and locals alike. It has led to the refurbishment of the former kiosk on Station Pier. Together with the restored heritage crane and associated interpretation panels, there is a constellation of heritage items on the Pier – the fact that they are not in their original locations adds interest.

Princes Pier has been the stage for wonderful events this year – the celebration of multiculturalism at the Piers Festival on Australia Day and the solemn commemoration of  the departure of the first troop ships in October. In November, the powerful Whittaker commemoration reminded us of the troubled times of the late 1920s in which World War 1 veterans lived and worked.

Procession to Princes Pier Image: Ron Cassano

Procession to Princes Pier
Image: Ron Cassano

The wider scene

In February, Toyota followed Holden by announcing that it would cease making cars in Australia by 2017.

The Port of Melbourne’s long held plans for Webb Dock moved to implementation in 2014. The paddock next to Todd Road that has been vacant for over 20 years has been turned upside down. The tender for the third container operator was awarded to Victoria International Container Terminal Limited in May. New roads are emerging from the Port. The striking noise wall now defines the boundary with the Port with the shared pedestrian and cycling pathway landscaped with indigenous plants opened to the public just in time for the holiday season.

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That’s all. Your photographs, memories and thoughts are warmly welcomed.

Enjoy Christmas and the New Year.

Weekly posts will resume from 8 January.

The editors 

 

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