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

For over 70 years Railway Pier had witnessed the comings and goings of hundreds and thousands of people — the hopeful, the ambitious, the disappointed. By the early twentieth century it was time for an overhaul.

  1. 1913

    The Melbourne Harbor Trust assumes responsibility for Railway Pier.

  2. 1914 – 1918

    Australian troops depart for and arrive from the First World War battlefields at both Princes Pier and New Railway Pier.

    Troops boarding the White Star Line steamer HMAT <i>Ceramic</i>, Railway Pier, 1914.
    Troops boarding the White Star Line steamer HMAT Ceramic, Railway Pier, 1914.
    Source: Australian War Memorial
  3. 1916

    A new pier is completed adjacent to Railway Pier. Originally known as New Railway Pier, it was named Princes Pier in 1920 in honour of the Prince of Wales.

  4. 1919

    Electric passenger trains begin operating to Railway Pier.