Saturday, December 31, 2011

Princes Pier

A couple of weeks ago I visited the newly renovated Princes Pier. I walked from the tram terminus at Port Melbourne and I had forgotten that is quite a distance. Not too far, just further than I thought.

The historic pier was threatened with demolition and although I am pleased it has been saved, I am not sure what it is going to be. I assume there will be a cafe within the buildings. There are public toilets, not yet open to the public. It is clearly not finished, but I think it has potential. At the moment, it seems to lack purpose.

Approaching from the east on the walk/cycle way from Station Pier.

There were at least half a dozen of these information boards detailing the history of the pier.

This curious structure houses a couple of interactive screens, with more pier history.

Not exactly weather tight.

It was a railway pier. The rails were removed for the renovation and placed back when the concrete was poured. The Port Melbourne train was the first significant railway built in Australia. While the train went directly onto Station Pier, it could also divert to run onto Princes Pier.

This area towards the end has not yet opened. Beyond remain the pylons for the full length of the pier, without the decking. They were kept for historical reasons. I approve.

Looking back towards land with the many apartments blocks that have arisen in the last fifteen years. The grass is fake.

The renovated pier office, almost identical to the operational one on nearby Station Pier.

Many migrants to Australia arrived by ship to Princes Pier. I like this representation.

The adjacent Station Pier, with the Spirit of Tasmania berthed and being made ready for its overnight voygage to the Australia island state of Tasmania.

The circular metal work has spikes to prevent people clambering around to the other side. In the distance you can see the Newport Power Station chimney. Unlike our coal fired power stations, it runs on natural gas and can be quickly fired up to supplement our power supply. When operating, mostly on very cold and very hot days, flame burns at the top of the chimney. Warm water is discharged from the power station into the Yarra River mouth, known to fishers as The Warmies, and apparently it is a good place to catch fish.


  1. Judging from your photos there is plenty of potential to make the pier an attractive option for a day out.

  2. What Victor said and Happy new year :-).

  3. Yes, plenty of potential to make it a great place to visit, thanks for the road trip and photos, haven't been down there for yonks.
    Happy 2012!

  4. That's a very impressive looking pier!! Once it's finished and opened there'll be lots of visitors, I'm sure. It may even become a tourist destination, just for photos alone. I like the fake grass too, no need for watering or upkeep apart from an occasional raking or vacuuming/leaf-blowering.
    I wish our city councils would take note and do something with our piers. The only thing that happens here is some pylons get replaced when a storm knocks them down. Did you see our Glenelg pier when you were here? Haha, that's one of our better ones.....

  5. Certainly has potential Victor.

    Cheers Windsmoke.

    Strange little corner of our city Jayne.

    River, yes, we took a walk on Glenelg Pier. I like my piers a bit rustic with old timbers the move and creak.

  6. Anonymous6:31 pm

    Oooh, I'll have to check this out when I'm next in town. The Port Melbourne train was a biggish part of my early childhood as Dad used to regularly drag us down to check out visiting ships. V.

  7. The buildings, information boards and photo presentations are all excellent, but I am with you - Princes Pier does lack a purpose. And it desperately lacks a shipping component. Locate an old ship, similar to the ones that docked at Princes Pier, and let children clamber all over it.

  8. Thanks for the pictorial tour Andrew. I have visited the re-opened Princes Pier and it is so good to see it back again. There have been so many suggestions for how the pier might be used including an horrendous option of houses or flats on the pier.

    It was too expensive to restore the whole pier after the many fires (lit cigarettes would fall between the deck timbers and smoulder away on the supports until it all went up) so leaving the pylons allows the full length of the pier to still be represented.

    I think what has been done by Major Projects is a great start and it will be interesting to see how people use it and what becomes of it.

    BTW When you do visit hunt out the photo of my mate Ed (now deceased) on his bike with two mates from sometime in the 30s.

  9. trekking your lovely blog!!! thanks for sharing and keep posting! Happy New Year!


  10. V, I seem to remember it and the St Kilda train as a bit scary.

    Great idea Hels. A Princes Pier ship immigration ship. There must be plans for the pier.

    David, yes, I remember the housing suggestions. We must be grateful that never went ahead. Ed, on a bike. Ok, will do.

  11. It doesn't look too bad at all. I'll have to mosey down there myself some day.

  12. The apartments built down that way are not at all attractive, but thanks for showing me what has happened with the pier. Love the immigrant images.

  13. Can be quite pleasant Fen.

    I've seen worse FruitCake, like where we live.