Railway Pier – A New Pier

With the discovery of gold in the 1850s, Victoria’s population exploded. Thousands of hopefuls came pouring into Melbourne. The previous system of ferrying people and luggage upriver from ships anchored in Hobsons Bay or dropping them on the beach to travel overland to Melbourne was now completely inadequate. The expense of double handling and loss of goods was a signal that a new solution was needed.

The Melbourne and Hobsons Bay Railway Company conceived of a scheme to link Melbourne to the bay with a rail line and a large, deep water pier in Hobsons Bay. Due to its proximity to Melbourne, the swampland of Sandridge (Port Melbourne) was chosen for the location of this new pier, which became known as Railway Pier. It was opened in 1854.

It was very affecting to see those who had friends waving handkerchiefs and weeping as they gazed at them perhaps for the last time on earth.Anne Gratton, migrated from England in 1858

Related collection items

Explore items from our collection

  • Steam Locomotive Model - Hobsons Bay Railway Pier Shunting Engine, No.5, 0-4-0WT Type, 1857
  • Steam Ship Model - SS Orient, 1879
  • Sextant - Troughton, London, circa 1820
  • Travel Basket - Wicker, Scotland, circa 1865-1872
  • Pocket Watch - Walsh Jones & Co, presented to James Moore, 1854
  • Pier Donkey Engine - Hobson's Bay Pier Steam Hoisting Winch, circa 1850s
  • Steam Ship Model - Paddle Steamer, PS Ozone,
  • Passenger Contract Ticket - Issued to August Kleiner, 'Carpentaria', Liverpool to Melbourne, 1854
  • Medal - Opening of Melbourne & Hobson's Bay Railway, Victoria, Australia, circa 1914
  • Photograph - Railway Pier, Port Melbourne, Victoria, circa 1890
  • Photograph - Hobson's Bay Railway Pier Shunting Engine Model & Modelmaker John Satchell, circa 1868
  • Digital Photograph - White Star Line, SS 'Suevic' & Orient Line, SS 'Orsova' at Railway Pier, Port Melbourne, circa 1913
  • Negative - SS Ulimaroa at Pier, Port Melbourne, Victoria, 1910