Port Heritage Trail

The Port Heritage Trail links heritage sites throughout the shared open spaces around the Port of Melbourne.

Special markers have information and historical images, allowing visitors to explore the rich history of the port while walking or cycling along established shared-use paths.

Stretching 22 km around the port from Station Pier in Port Melbourne, through West Melbourne and Footscray, to Point Gellibrand in Williamstown, the Port Heritage Trail gives a unique perspective on Melbourne’s maritime history.

See the interactive map below or print the brochure (PDF, 1.4 Mb).


The Port Heritage Trail links heritage sites throughout the shared open spaces around the Port of Melbourne.

Special markers have information and historical images, allowing visitors to explore the rich history of the port while walking or cycling along established shared-use paths.

Stretching 22 km around the port from Station Pier in Port Melbourne, through West Melbourne and Footscray, to Point Gellibrand in Williamstown, the Port Heritage Trail gives a unique perspective on Melbourne’s maritime history.

See the interactive map below or print the brochure (PDF, 1.4 Mb).



Port Phillip Bay - Terrain
Point Gellibrand

River access to Melbourne in the mid-19th century was difficult. Building the Point Gellibrand Railway Pier in 1859 meant ships could dock and transport their goods to Melbourne by rail. But direct access was still needed and in 1879 work started on the Coode Canal.

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Riverside Park

From here you can see the site of the old timber wharves, Swanson Dock, Webb Dock and the mouth of the Yarra River. Downstream from here, from the mid-19th until the late 20th century, ferries were an important link between Williamstown and Melbourne.

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Spotswood

Continue along the Port Heritage Trail to discover more about the history, development and current operations of the Port of Melbourne. The trail explores points of interest between Point Gellibrand and Station Pier (Port Melbourne).

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Stony creek

In 1878, the Melbourne Harbor Trust took control of the Stony Creek Backwash. Many changes followed, including building retaining walls and reclaiming 26 acres (10.5 hectares) of land. Remnant structures here may have been crude wharves where ships were loaded with bluestone quarries from along the creek.

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Francis Street

By 1875 a number of factories had been built on this stretch of the Yarra River. Many factories had their own wharves until the 1880s. Then, the Melbourne Harbor Trust became responsible for all berthing facilities in the port. The Trust built a single wharf extending from Francis Street to Somerville Road.

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Whitehall Street

Between 1870 and 2000, this site on the riverfront at Yarraville was occupied by chemical manufacturing plants and extensively redeveloped over several decades. The timber used for Port Heritage Trail markers were salvaged from one of the larger sheds at this site.

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Footscray Wharf

In the 1880s, the Melbourne Harbor Trust replaced existing wharves in this area with a continuous wharf structure. Used for unloading general cargo, it also serviced waterfront factories. Railway tracks installed in 1917 remain beside the road.

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Confluence of rivers

This is where the Yarra and Maribyrnong rivers met, before the construction of the Coode Canal in 1886.

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Moonee Ponds Creek

In 1889, the Melbourne Harbor Trust approved the construction of the Railway Coal Canal. This linked Moonee Ponds Creek with the Coode Canal. The creek now runs next to Victoria Dock, which opened in 1893 as the largest single dock in the world.

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Rotten Row

The Melbourne Harbor Trust built six jetties and 335 metres of wharf frontage at this site in 1889 to safely store its stockpiled timber. The timber industry collapsed and this area became known as ‘Rotten Row’ or ‘Siberia’ – a mooring place for derelict ships.

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Westgate Park

In the early 1850s, a car ferry service started sailing between Port Melbourne and Williamstown. The western end of Williamstown Road in Port Melbourne, marks the location of the last ferry service, operated by the City of Williamstown between 1873 and 1974. The completion of the West Gate Bridge in 1978 made the service obsolete.

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Station Pier

In 1852 the Melbourne and Hobsons Bay Railway Co. proposed to build a pier at Sandridge (Port Melbourne) connected by railway line to a terminus in Melbourne. Railway Pier opened on 12 September 1854. Management of the pier passed to the Melbourne Harbor Trust in 1913.

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Select a site from the trail to explore.