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Tarver Street

Tarver St is a short street – only 500m long – between Prohasky and Salmon Sts in Port Melbourne.

When the Melbourne Harbor Trust (the Trust) was set up in 1877 to guide and plan for the future development of the Port, it was governed by 15 (later 17) commissioners with various interests in the Port. Councils adjoining the Port elected commissioners to represent their interests.

Councillor William Richardson Tarver was said to have referred to the Harbor Trust as the River Trust since it paid insufficient attention to providing for the needs of shipping at Port Melbourne’s piers. Tarver put a wide ranging platform to electors at the Ship Inn in Bay St in 1890. He spoke of the neglect of the bay by the Trust, advocated for a new pier at Ross St, opposed depositing silt in the bay, and advocated for reform of the trust to include representation from Trade Hall Council.

The pitch of this ‘practical man’ was supported and he was duly elected.

Jubilee History of the Melbourne Harbor Trust

The appearance of Tarver St on this 1893 map suggests a recognition of his role as councillor and commissioner. The circle on the map shows the location of Tarver and Plummer Sts, the only streets between Williamstown Rd and Lorimer St. At that time the Trust’s boundaries extended all the way to the Yarra River at Lorimer St. Tarver St was in Melbourne Harbor Trust territory, rather than in the heart of Port Melbourne.

Melbourne Harbor Trust General Plan 1893 State Library of Victoria

The regard in which Tarver was held is revealed in an account of his funeral, “one of the biggest funeral processions that has ever left Port Melbourne”. Nott St between Liardet and Graham streets was blocked with “vehicles and persons on foot” and when the funeral procession departed for the Melbourne General Cemetery even more people came out to pay their respects.

The funeral drew mourners from the Port Melbourne Council, commissioners and officers of the Harbor Trust, as well as the Druids. Among those offering flowers were people we have met before including Mr and Mrs A T Bellion, Miss Bertha Falkenreich, Mr and Mrs Falkenreich and Miss Adams.

William’s brother T. N. Tarver succeeded him as a commissioner but only after an election in which he campaigned “assiduously” and canvased “incessantly”. He represented Port Melbourne on the Trust until 1907.

Tarver St is about to become more familiar as the P.M. development in the Wirraway precinct of Fishermans Bend takes shape. The entry to the carpark will be on Tarver St.

Let’s take a glimpse of Tarver St as it is in May 2019, knowing that this streetscape will soon disappear.

Tarver St May 2019


1890 ‘HARBOUR TRUST ELECTION.’, The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957), 19 March, p. 7. , viewed 23 May 2019,

The Standard (Port Melbourne, Vic. : 1884 – 1914), Saturday 19 August 1899, page 3 via Trove

1899 ‘HARBOUR TRUST ELECTION.’, Standard (Port Melbourne, Vic. : 1884 – 1914), 9 September, p. 3. , viewed 22 May 2019,

Tarver St is named for William Richardson Tarver, Port Melbourne councillor 1884 to 1889, Mayor in 1886 and commissioner of the Melbourne Harbor Trust 1893 to 1899.

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