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

The construction of Princes Pier allowed work to begin on the transformation of Railway Pier into the modern Station Pier. The makeover took seven years, during which time ships, their passengers and cargo were diverted to Prince’s Pier or the river docks.

  1. 1923

    Redevelopment of Railway Pier into Station Pier commences.

  2. 1924

    The shipping channel to Princes Pier and Railway Pier is deepened by dredging. The land and sea-leading light beacons are built.

    An Orient Line ship docks at Station Pier, 1929
    An Orient Line ship docks at Station Pier, 1929.
    Source: Museo Italiano Historical Society
  3. 1930

    The Orient Line steamer Otranto becomes the first vessel to officially berth at the newly-completed Station Pier.

  4. 1934

    Centenary Bridge is built over the rail lines (it was dismantled in 1991).

    The Orient Line’s <i>Orsova</i>
    The Orient Line’s Orsova leaves Melbourne from Station Pier on its last voyage on 18 August 1936.
    Source: Museum Victoria
  5. 1939

    The Second World War temporarily halts immigration as passenger shipping is diverted for war duties.