Timeline

Historic photo of sailing ships at a Melbourne wharf.
1835 Arrival of John Batman in the Rebecca. 

1835

John Pascoe Fawkner arrived in the schooner Enterprize and moored near present day William Street. On a second trip later that year, Fawkner landed two cows, two calves and two horses.

1839 The bank of the Yarra River served as a wharf and wharfage rates were collected.
1848 First wooden bridge across the Yarra River.
1853 The gold rush brought new arrivals. 138 ships were anchored in Hobsons Bay.
1854 Australian Wharf, 600 m long, was built downstream from Spencer Street.
1854 Opening of the Hobson's Bay Railway Company's line from Melbourne to Railway Pier (now Station Pier) in Sandridge.
1877 Formation of the Melbourne Harbor Trust.
1879 English engineer, Sir John Coode, recommended development of a canal to improve access for ships.
1883 The Rip at Port Phillip Heads deepened using explosives.
1887 Coode Canal opened.
1893 West Melbourne Dock (now Victoria Dock) opened to shipping.
1902 Coode Canal deepened to 25 feet and widened from 100 to 145 feet.
1908 The ‘Great White Fleet’ arrived in Melbourne as part of President Theodore Roosevelt’s aim to project US naval power.
1914 Opening of the Panama Canal.
1915 For enlisting employees during World War 1, the Harbor Trust made up the difference between military pay and the pay they received from the Trust up to a value of £200.
1915 New Railway Pier (now Princes Pier) opened.
1916 Deepening the Port Phillip Heads was interrupted due to a lack of explosives. Troop carriers left from Railway Pier (now Station Pier) and by 1916 Australia had sent 220,000 men overseas.
1917 The Harbor Trust’s 1916 Annual Report was not published until the end of 1917 because of an absence of staff on war service.
1927 The Harbor Trust had a labour force of more than 1000 and boasted the eighth largest deep water port in the British Empire.
1934 Post-Great Depression, the Harbor Trust employed 517 people.
1941 Port Phillip Heads deepened to 48 feet. During wartime, the Harbor Trust provided engineering expertise to other strategic ports in the north, including Darwin and Townsville.
1942 With the threat of invasion, war plans included the destruction of the ports of Melbourne and Geelong. This included ships, ferries, dredges and tugs being scuttled in the entrance to the port. Station Pier and Princes Pier would be blown up, coal stocks burnt and oil supplies discharged and ignited.
1945 Post-war program of development and reconstruction.
1950 The Harbor Trust established a mobile first aid service and improved fire fighting capabilities which included a roster of 54 watchmen carrying out patrols in the docks.
1955 The reconstructed Breakwater Pier was opened and serviced the tanker Stanvac Australia which had a deadweight of 26,000 tons. Australia’s one millionth post-war migrant arrived at Station Pier.
1956 The port hosted arrivals for the 1956 Melbourne Olympic Games, including Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Appleton Dock was opened to shipping.
1958 Princess of Tasmania started shipping services from Webb Dock.
1960 Early development of the swampy marshland of Coode Island to accommodate liquid bulk trades.
1963 Gellibrand Pier was reopened for crude oil tankers.
1965 Harbor Trust Chairman, Victor Swanson, guided plans to establish a dedicated container dock in Melbourne. As the first vice-president of the International Association of Ports and Harbors (IAPH), Swanson had visited international ports to prepare Melbourne for the newly emerging container trade.
1969 Victorian Governor, Sir Rohan Delacombe, officially opened Melbourne’s first overseas container berth at Swanson Dock West. The first coastal and international container ships were MV Kanimbla and Encounter Bay respectively.
1974 Sister port relationship established with the Port of Osaka.

1978

Melbourne Harbor Trust became the Port of Melbourne Authority.
1984 Total number of Port of Melbourne Authority employees was 1470.
1985 Tasmanian passenger ferry services consolidated at Station Pier. Webb Dock rail line completed.
1994 Planning started for the relocation of port facilities to pave the way for the redevelopment of the Docklands area.
1996 Melbourne Port Corporation established as successor to Port of Melbourne Authority.
1997 One million containers handled by Port of Melbourne handled 1 million containers in a twelve-month period. Bolte Bridge opened changing the port’s upstream boundary.
2002 Completion of the Moonee Ponds Creek realignment for the redevelopment of Victoria Dock.
2003 Port of Melbourne Corporation established on 1 July. Opening of the Port Education Centre.
2007 Two million TEU handled by Port of Melbourne in a twelve-month period.
2008 Dredging works started for the Channel Deepening Project. Completion of the Dynon Port Rail Project involving grade separation of Footscray Road and the rail line.
2009 Channel Deepening Project successfully completed and won the National Infrastructure Project of the Year in March the following year.
2010 Port of Melbourne Corporation hosted US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as part of a high-level delegation celebrating the strong bilateral relations between Australia and the US.
2012 Port of Melbourne handled almost 2.6 million TEU.
2013 Work on the Port Capacity Project started to accommodate forecast growth for the container and automotive trades. The Project represents the largest landside development of the port’s infrastructure in a generation.
2013 Station Pier is busier than at any time its long history, in terms of visitor numbers, with 180,000 passengers and crew arriving in Melbourne during the 2012-13 season.
2013 Expenditure on port infrastructure by Port of Melbourne Corporation is around $1 million a week, including the redevelopment of the Port Operations Control Centre.
2014 The Victorian Government announced its intention to seek expressions of interest from the private sector for a medium term lease of the Port of Melbourne (May)
2014 PoMC marked the 40th anniversary of the longstanding Sister Port relationship with the Port of Osaka (October)
2014 Suezmax vessels commence calling at the Port of Melbourne
2015 Legislation to enable the lease of the Port of Melbourne is introduced to the Victorian Parliament (May)
2015  Pangal, the largest container vessel by TEU capacity (6540) and length (304 metres) calls at the Port of Melbourne
2016 Victorian Parliament passes the Delivering Victorian Infrastructure (Port of Melbourne Lease Transaction) Act 2016 (Vic) in March. This legislation provides for the commercial operations of the port to be leased to the private sector for a period of 50 years and establishes Victorian Ports Corporation (Melbourne) as a successor entity to PoMC with responsibility for safe navigation and management of Station Pier as Victoria’s cruise gateway.
2016 The vessel ER Long Beach becomes the largest container vessel to call at the Port of Melbourne with a capacity of nearly 7500 TEU.
2016 Celebration of the 30th anniversary of the trade cooperation relationship with the Port of Yokohama.
2016 The Victorian Government announces the Lonsdale Consortium as the successful bidder for a fifty year lease of the Port of Melbourne’s commercial operations and assets for $9.7 billion.
Historic photo of sailing ships at a Melbourne wharf.
1835 Arrival of John Batman in the Rebecca. 

1835

John Pascoe Fawkner arrived in the schooner Enterprize and moored near present day William Street. On a second trip later that year, Fawkner landed two cows, two calves and two horses.

1839 The bank of the Yarra River served as a wharf and wharfage rates were collected.
1848 First wooden bridge across the Yarra River.
1853 The gold rush brought new arrivals. 138 ships were anchored in Hobsons Bay.
1854 Australian Wharf, 600 m long, was built downstream from Spencer Street.
1854 Opening of the Hobson's Bay Railway Company's line from Melbourne to Railway Pier (now Station Pier) in Sandridge.
1877 Formation of the Melbourne Harbor Trust.
1879 English engineer, Sir John Coode, recommended development of a canal to improve access for ships.
1883 The Rip at Port Phillip Heads deepened using explosives.
1887 Coode Canal opened.
1893 West Melbourne Dock (now Victoria Dock) opened to shipping.
1902 Coode Canal deepened to 25 feet and widened from 100 to 145 feet.
1908 The ‘Great White Fleet’ arrived in Melbourne as part of President Theodore Roosevelt’s aim to project US naval power.
1914 Opening of the Panama Canal.
1915 For enlisting employees during World War 1, the Harbor Trust made up the difference between military pay and the pay they received from the Trust up to a value of £200.
1915 New Railway Pier (now Princes Pier) opened.
1916 Deepening the Port Phillip Heads was interrupted due to a lack of explosives. Troop carriers left from Railway Pier (now Station Pier) and by 1916 Australia had sent 220,000 men overseas.
1917 The Harbor Trust’s 1916 Annual Report was not published until the end of 1917 because of an absence of staff on war service.
1927 The Harbor Trust had a labour force of more than 1000 and boasted the eighth largest deep water port in the British Empire.
1934 Post-Great Depression, the Harbor Trust employed 517 people.
1941 Port Phillip Heads deepened to 48 feet. During wartime, the Harbor Trust provided engineering expertise to other strategic ports in the north, including Darwin and Townsville.
1942 With the threat of invasion, war plans included the destruction of the ports of Melbourne and Geelong. This included ships, ferries, dredges and tugs being scuttled in the entrance to the port. Station Pier and Princes Pier would be blown up, coal stocks burnt and oil supplies discharged and ignited.
1945 Post-war program of development and reconstruction.
1950 The Harbor Trust established a mobile first aid service and improved fire fighting capabilities which included a roster of 54 watchmen carrying out patrols in the docks.
1955 The reconstructed Breakwater Pier was opened and serviced the tanker Stanvac Australia which had a deadweight of 26,000 tons. Australia’s one millionth post-war migrant arrived at Station Pier.
1956 The port hosted arrivals for the 1956 Melbourne Olympic Games, including Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Appleton Dock was opened to shipping.
1958 Princess of Tasmania started shipping services from Webb Dock.
1960 Early development of the swampy marshland of Coode Island to accommodate liquid bulk trades.
1963 Gellibrand Pier was reopened for crude oil tankers.
1965 Harbor Trust Chairman, Victor Swanson, guided plans to establish a dedicated container dock in Melbourne. As the first vice-president of the International Association of Ports and Harbors (IAPH), Swanson had visited international ports to prepare Melbourne for the newly emerging container trade.
1969 Victorian Governor, Sir Rohan Delacombe, officially opened Melbourne’s first overseas container berth at Swanson Dock West. The first coastal and international container ships were MV Kanimbla and Encounter Bay respectively.
1974 Sister port relationship established with the Port of Osaka.

1978

Melbourne Harbor Trust became the Port of Melbourne Authority.
1984 Total number of Port of Melbourne Authority employees was 1470.
1985 Tasmanian passenger ferry services consolidated at Station Pier. Webb Dock rail line completed.
1994 Planning started for the relocation of port facilities to pave the way for the redevelopment of the Docklands area.
1996 Melbourne Port Corporation established as successor to Port of Melbourne Authority.
1997 One million containers handled by Port of Melbourne handled 1 million containers in a twelve-month period. Bolte Bridge opened changing the port’s upstream boundary.
2002 Completion of the Moonee Ponds Creek realignment for the redevelopment of Victoria Dock.
2003 Port of Melbourne Corporation established on 1 July. Opening of the Port Education Centre.
2007 Two million TEU handled by Port of Melbourne in a twelve-month period.
2008 Dredging works started for the Channel Deepening Project. Completion of the Dynon Port Rail Project involving grade separation of Footscray Road and the rail line.
2009 Channel Deepening Project successfully completed and won the National Infrastructure Project of the Year in March the following year.
2010 Port of Melbourne Corporation hosted US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as part of a high-level delegation celebrating the strong bilateral relations between Australia and the US.
2012 Port of Melbourne handled almost 2.6 million TEU.
2013 Work on the Port Capacity Project started to accommodate forecast growth for the container and automotive trades. The Project represents the largest landside development of the port’s infrastructure in a generation.
2013 Station Pier is busier than at any time its long history, in terms of visitor numbers, with 180,000 passengers and crew arriving in Melbourne during the 2012-13 season.
2013 Expenditure on port infrastructure by Port of Melbourne Corporation is around $1 million a week, including the redevelopment of the Port Operations Control Centre.
2014 The Victorian Government announced its intention to seek expressions of interest from the private sector for a medium term lease of the Port of Melbourne (May)
2014 PoMC marked the 40th anniversary of the longstanding Sister Port relationship with the Port of Osaka (October)
2014 Suezmax vessels commence calling at the Port of Melbourne
2015 Legislation to enable the lease of the Port of Melbourne is introduced to the Victorian Parliament (May)
2015  Pangal, the largest container vessel by TEU capacity (6540) and length (304 metres) calls at the Port of Melbourne
2016 Victorian Parliament passes the Delivering Victorian Infrastructure (Port of Melbourne Lease Transaction) Act 2016 (Vic) in March. This legislation provides for the commercial operations of the port to be leased to the private sector for a period of 50 years and establishes Victorian Ports Corporation (Melbourne) as a successor entity to PoMC with responsibility for safe navigation and management of Station Pier as Victoria’s cruise gateway.
2016 The vessel ER Long Beach becomes the largest container vessel to call at the Port of Melbourne with a capacity of nearly 7500 TEU.
2016 Celebration of the 30th anniversary of the trade cooperation relationship with the Port of Yokohama.
2016 The Victorian Government announces the Lonsdale Consortium as the successful bidder for a fifty year lease of the Port of Melbourne’s commercial operations and assets for $9.7 billion.