Port Melbourne Heritage Recognition Program

HMAS Lonsdale, Beach Street, Port Melbourne

HMAS Lonsdale naval base, 1942-1992,  was established on the entrance to the former Sandridge Lagoon, which had been built in by 1928. In the late 1990s Port Phillip Council and residents strongly opposed a State Government decision to allow high-rise development there, and some reduction in height was achieved. In 1999 a new Government established absolute height controls along the foreshore.   

Address: Near Lagoon Pier, Beach Street, Port Melbourne (opposite Esplanade East)

To read more about this site, download HMAS Lonsdale article

Town Pier

Sandridge Town Pier stood for a century at this site after replacing Captain Wilbraham Liardet's original ti-tree jetty in 1849. Bristling with masts during the hectic gold rush days, it was soon joined by the 1854 Railway Pier (now Station Pier). A horse tramway carried coal from here to the Gasworks. Town Pier was demolished in the 1950s, although some remnants can still be seen.   

Address: Beach Street, at the end of Bay Street, Port Melbourne

Pumping Station

Gigantic machinery within this 1891 building still pumps floodwaters during heavy rainfall. In the early 20th century great gas-driven pumps were operated by George Beazley, whose rain-activated device would wake him when a storm arose so that he could start the machinery. When George retired the pumps were electrified.

Address: Esplanade West, Port Melbourne

Port Melbourne Dispensary

The Port Melbourne Dispensary opened in 1893. A number of organisations operated from the building including the Port Melbourne Benefit Society, the Australian Natives Association and Constance Lodge. Many local residents were members of such lodges and friendly societies, joining for companionship and a sense of cultural identity, and for the health and social insurance that they offered.                                                                                                                                       

Address: 293 Princes Street, Port Melbourne                                            

Sandridge Lagoon

When Sandridge (later Port Melbourne) was first established, this area was a large saltwater lagoon. During high tide it was 27 acres in size and up to 10 feet deep. Bridges crossed the lagoon, and it was popular for boating and fishing. Despite years of debate, the lagoon was gradually filled in by 1929. The reclaimed land is now housing and parkland.                       

Address: Liardet Street, Port Melbourne


Plan of the Township of Sandridge 1855, Port Phillip City Collection

New Great Britain Hotel

This 1870 building was formerly the New Great Britain Hotel. It was here on 21 September 1872 that George Sangster met with others to found the world’s first maritime union, the Melbourne Seamen’s Union. Sangster later became a local councillor, the President of Trades Hall Council and Port Melbourne’s first Labor MLA. 


Address: 197 Stokes Street, Port Melbourne

Hogan's Flat

In August 1928 a new Stevedoring Award drastically cut waterfront conditions.  The Waterside Workers Federation went on strike and employers hired strike-breaking ‘scabs’.  Thousands of Port people were left unemployed and struggling.  On 2 November, reluctantly back at work, unionists gathered on Hogan’s Flat to pick up a day’s labour.  When no work was offered, they rushed Princes Pier.  Police forced the WWF members back.  As the workers were retreating, police opened fire. Gallipoli veteran Allan Whittaker died of his wounds on Australia Day 1929.

This site commemorates Allan Whittaker and the Port community’s waterside work and union history.

Hogan's Flat - further information 

Address: Corner Beach and Pier Streets, Port Melbourne

Harpers Starch Factory

In early days of Port Melbourne, the suburb’s seafront was dominated by warehouses and factories that provided landmarks for ships coming up the bay. This iconic red brick building was erected in 1891 as a sugar refinery. In 1899 it was redeveloped by Robert Harper, a leading manufacturer, entrepreneur and politician. Harper’s starch factory complex operated until the early 1970s and was then developed as Sandridge Bay Towers in the 1980s. The building also featured in the original Mad Max movie (1979). Altered and adapted over time, the origins of the building remain clear and are important in demonstrating Port Melbourne’s industrial past.

Address: 9 - 11 Beach Street, Port Melbourne

Shaw-Ross Airfield

In 1920 Major Harry Turner Shaw and Lieutenant Hubert Galsworthy Ross founded the Shaw-Ross Engineering and Aviation Company behind the sand dunes on Ferry Road, Port Melbourne. In May 1921, Fishermans Bend Aerodrome became the first licenced aerodrome in Victoria. The same month, Lieutenant Ross was involved in an aeroplane crash in Port Melbourne, in which he and two passengers were killed. This resulted in one of the first air crash investigations in Australia.

Shaw Ross Airfield - further information.pdf

Address: Westport Reserve Beach, The Boulevard, Port Melbourne Foreshore


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