Celebrating Melbourne’s rich maritime heritage

After sitting dormant for over 45 years, the historic Goods Shed 5 – forming part of the most intact cargo berth in the Port of Melbourne from the pre-containerisation era – has commenced its restoration journey.

Built in 1941 to cater to the sudden influx of cargo, the heritage-listed Goods Shed 5 has remained essentially unchanged and to this day, continues to demonstrate the important history and technology of pre-containerisation cargo handling methods.

It wasn’t until 1975 that the Goods Shed 5 fell into disuse when the newly completed Charles Grimes Bridge left insufficient clearance for cargo ships to pass underneath for passage upstream.

Today Riverlee, Freyssinet Australia and Mann Group is undertaking the dismantling of trusses, timber purlins, heritage windows, hardwood heritage roller doors and bluestone pavers around the site. Carefully retained, a detailed report will be produced showcasing each item that will be salvaged and weaved into the new waterfront Seafarers precinct during construction.

Archie Arceri, former Secretary of the Waterside Workers Federation Victoria and original crane operator said the restoration and display of Melbourne’s Maritime History is a welcome initiative.

“The North Wharf was a hive of activity from the 1940s onwards until Containerisation saw the end of the area as a commercial hub for the City. Break bulk, steel, wool and freezer ships were aplenty along the wharf area and played a huge part in Melbourne’s development throughout that time,” he said.

This understanding also extends to the long history of Aboriginal maritime activity;  the City of Melbourne, Oculus and Riverlee are in conversation with the Traditional Custodian Groups, as they look to develop the design details for Seafarers’ Rest, which could see the incorporation of native planting and indigenous maritime references embedded within the site.

To learn more about this historical transformation, read the latest article as featured on Architecture & Design – https://www.architectureanddesign.com.au/news/heritage-listed-goods-shed-5-on-melbourne-s-yarra#