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During the early 1800s, increased water traffic & industry along the Yarra River led to the need for additional wharfs. In 1855, the Australian (North) wharf was constructed along the river bank to accommodate the increased traffic from the gold rushes. The area was used as a wharf up until the construction of the Charles Grimes Bridge in 1975. The area has been disused since the mid 1970s. Located on the north side of the Yarra between Spencers Street (to the adjacent west of the Spencer St Ferry Dock) and the Charles Grimes Bridge area, this wharf was labeled as Australian Wharf in 1855 (Jones).


The Melbourne Gas and Coke Company built a small dock for coal delivery in 1855, but it was filled in again in 1870 when a wharf was built for this purpose. A tramway also linked the wharf to the gas company, and special bucket cranes were installed to transfer coal from cargo steamers. The Australian Wharf was removed and replaced onto adjoining Railway land in 1882 when the river was widened, and had been extended by 1910 to the mouth of Victoria Dock. The wharf is shown in 1926 as being used for goods from the Metropolitan Gas Company, Report generated 26/07/19along with other Victorian and interstate vessels. The wharf was an important loading facility, especially for the gasworks

Australian Wharf located adjacent to Collins Street Docklands, Victoria was recorded by ArchLink staff Sarah Myers and Fiona Shanahan in January 2015. Scaled drawings and photos were made of the wharf to ensure an accurate and detailed pictographic record of the site remains for future generations. During the fieldwork three major phases of development and building technique were noted. Interestingly, the state of deterioration in which the wharf remains allowed for the ArchLink team to see that most of the wooden piles had been built over others, visible below the water line at low tide, with a nail-like metal rod fastening the piles together through the centre. It is likely the original upper portion of the piles and associated structure and decking of the (1850s) wharf was removed completely in the 1882 restructure and replaced, incorporating only the lower portion of the original piles.



















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Header Images:

Left: part of three ink sketches showing the site of Batman's Hill from 1840 to 1892., J. Macfarlane, circa 1892. Print: wood engraving., 
From the State Library of Victoria's Pictures Collection. 
Accession number: IAN01/04/92/13

Middle: Australia Wharf, Photograph by S. Myers, 2015
Right: Melbourne from the Falls, 1838, National Library of Victoria

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