Timeline

Railway Pier, 1870 – 80

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 goods upriver or sending them overland from ships anchored in Hobsons Bay was now completely inadequate. So the Melbourne and Hobsons Bay Railway Company conceived the idea of a new pier with a railway line to town.

  1. 1850s – 1890s

  2. 1910s
     

  3. 1920s – 1930s

  4. 1940s – 1970s

  5. 1980s – today

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 goods upriver or sending them overland from ships anchored in Hobsons Bay was now completely inadequate. So the Melbourne & Hobsons Bay Railway Company conceived the idea of a new pier with a railway line to town.

  1. 1853

    The Melbourne & Hobsons Bay Railway Company begins construction of a deep water pier at Sandridge and a direct railway to Melbourne.

  2. 1854

    Railway Pier opens and Australia’s first steam-operated railway begins linking the pier to Melbourne. A steam ferry service is also established from Williamstown to the new pier.

  3. 1855

    Portable steam winches are introduced on Railway Pier to improve cargo handling.

  4. 1878

    The government-owned Victorian Railways assumes control of the Hobsons Bay Railway and Railway Pier.

    Railway Pier, c1870 – 1880.
    Railway Pier, c1870 – 1880.
    Source: State Library of Victoria
  5. 1890

    Winged extensions are built on each side of Railway Pier for the bay paddle-steamers, Ozone (1886), Hygeia (1890) and, later, Weeroona (1910).