Moonee Ponds Creek

Port Heritage Trail - Site 9 

Land and water formations here have been altered a number of times because of port growth and development. 

Victoria Dock

The Melbourne Docklands area surrounds the former Victoria Dock, which opened in 1893 as the second largest single dock in the world. 

Built as part of Sir John Coode’s port improvement plans, and modified by Melbourne Harbor Trust engineer Joseph Brady, Victoria Dock formed an integral link with the railway yards at Spencer Street. 

By the early 1900s, Victoria Dock received most of Victoria’s imports. The central pier, built in 1915, provided extra wharf frontage. 

Changes in port activities – changed wharves

Changes to port activities, including the introduction of international standard sized shipping containers in the 1960s, increased road transport over railway. 

And the change from steam powered engines to diesel electric resulted in the development of new docks. These included Appleton and Swanson docks to the west of Victoria Dock. 

Built in 1956 with staged development from the 1960s to the 1980s, they accommodated bigger ships and had open space for container storage rather than goods sheds at the wharf fronts typical of earlier docks.

Old style goods sheds

The sheds to the west were built in 1952 and 1955. Among the last built before the introduction of containerisation, their design reflects the need for semitrailer access. Railway tracks survive on the wharf apron. 

Cranes transferred goods from ships to trains and trailers. The cranes have gone but the crane rails survive. 

Bolte Bridge and height restriction

In 1996, the building of the Bolte Bridge meant cargo ships could not get to part of Victoria Dock because of height restriction. That area has now been developed as Melbourne Docklands. 

Moonee Ponds Creek and the Railway Coal Canal

Moonee Ponds Creek was originally a series of marshy ponds. They drained into a lagoon on the current site of the container storage north of Appleton and Swansondocks. 

Described in 1841 as being ‘…a real lake, intensely blue, nearly oval and full of the clearest salt water...’, the lagoon became a dumping ground. It was gradually filled in with silt dredged from the river during the late 19th century. 

In 1889, the Melbourne Harbor Trust approved the construction of the Railway Coal Canal. It linked Moonee Ponds Creek with Coode Canal, letting coal be delivered to the Victorian Railway coal depot by barges.

The creek had more changes during the 20th century to alleviate flooding. However, in the last decade, work has started to enhance and reinstate its natural attributes.

Port Heritage Trail - Site 9 

Land and water formations here have been altered a number of times because of port growth and development. 

Victoria Dock

The Melbourne Docklands area surrounds the former Victoria Dock, which opened in 1893 as the second largest single dock in the world. 

Built as part of Sir John Coode’s port improvement plans, and modified by Melbourne Harbor Trust engineer Joseph Brady, Victoria Dock formed an integral link with the railway yards at Spencer Street. 

By the early 1900s, Victoria Dock received most of Victoria’s imports. The central pier, built in 1915, provided extra wharf frontage. 

Changes in port activities – changed wharves

Changes to port activities, including the introduction of international standard sized shipping containers in the 1960s, increased road transport over railway. 

And the change from steam powered engines to diesel electric resulted in the development of new docks. These included Appleton and Swanson docks to the west of Victoria Dock. 

Built in 1956 with staged development from the 1960s to the 1980s, they accommodated bigger ships and had open space for container storage rather than goods sheds at the wharf fronts typical of earlier docks.

Old style goods sheds

The sheds to the west were built in 1952 and 1955. Among the last built before the introduction of containerisation, their design reflects the need for semitrailer access. Railway tracks survive on the wharf apron. 

Cranes transferred goods from ships to trains and trailers. The cranes have gone but the crane rails survive. 

Bolte Bridge and height restriction

In 1996, the building of the Bolte Bridge meant cargo ships could not get to part of Victoria Dock because of height restriction. That area has now been developed as Melbourne Docklands. 

Moonee Ponds Creek and the Railway Coal Canal

Moonee Ponds Creek was originally a series of marshy ponds. They drained into a lagoon on the current site of the container storage north of Appleton and Swansondocks. 

Described in 1841 as being ‘…a real lake, intensely blue, nearly oval and full of the clearest salt water...’, the lagoon became a dumping ground. It was gradually filled in with silt dredged from the river during the late 19th century. 

In 1889, the Melbourne Harbor Trust approved the construction of the Railway Coal Canal. It linked Moonee Ponds Creek with Coode Canal, letting coal be delivered to the Victorian Railway coal depot by barges.

The creek had more changes during the 20th century to alleviate flooding. However, in the last decade, work has started to enhance and reinstate its natural attributes.