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

During the Second World War migrant ships were redeployed to war service as armed cruisers, floating hospitals and troop ships and Station Pier became a departure point for Australian troops. After the war increasing numbers of migrants from all over the world again began arriving at Station Pier. Many came to Australia on government-assisted passage schemes, drawn by promises of a better way of life.

  1. 1947

    The first displaced people from postwar Europe arrive at Station Pier aboard the HMAS Kanimbla.

    Displaced persons on board train from Port Melbourne to Bonegilla, 1947
    Displaced persons on board train from Port Melbourne to Bonegilla, 1947.
    Source: Department of Immigration and Citizenship
  2. 1955

    Australia’s one-millionth postwar migrant, Barbara Porritt, arrives from England.

    Barbara Porritt, with husband Dennis, on board the Oronsay
    Barbara Porritt, with husband Dennis, on board the Oronsay.
    Source: Department of Immigration and Citizenship
  3. 1970s

    Cargo handling on the pier ceases, along with the use of the rail tracks.

  4. 1978

    Australis, the last Australian government-assisted migrant ship docks at Station Pier.

    Four migrant ships, Oronsay, Australis, Galileo Galilei and Fair Star berthed at Station Pier 1973
    Four migrant ships, Oronsay, Australis, Galileo Galilei, and Fairstar, berthed at Station Pier 1973.
    Source: Royal Historical Society Victoria