My Port Memories

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By: A.J


Hi Readers,

This is A.J, back again with some memories of being at St Kilda beach and the Port of Melbourne.

I recall going to the docks in the 1970s with others to get a history of them. I recall the ships of the time ‘Princess of Tasmania’ and ‘Empress of Australia’ which were the early Tassie Ferries, they were tied up at Webb Dock. A walk around Port Melbourne and you would see passenger ships at Station Pier bringing in new migrants to Australia, ships from P&O, Sitmar, Chandris, and other lines, and also some naval vessels such as H.M.A.S – Lonsdale base was a short walk away. Some of the tankers we used to see at the Holden Dock in Yarraville were: ‘Mobil Australis’, ‘Mobil Flinders’, ‘B.P. Endeavour’ and ‘Caltex Port Kembla’.

Other docks in Melbourne were Appleton, Swanson Docks (for Container ships), Victoria Dock, North Wharf, South Wharf, The Duke and Orr Dry Dock were used for ship maintenance, and of course the Polly Woodside. When you were at St Kilda beach you would see many ships at Bay Anchorage waiting to dock, a lot of the ships were under the A.N.L (Australian National Line) flag which were known as ‘E’ ships, ‘P’ ships and the Traders – one of the Traders, ‘Melbourne Trader’, collided with the Gellibrand Pile Light off Williamstown in 1976. A.N.L also had the ship ‘Lake Illawarra’ which, in January 1975, collided with a pylon of the Tasman Bridge, bringing a large section down on top of the ship causing it to sink into Tasmania’s Derwent River. Talking about accidents do you, readers, remember the capsizing of the ‘Straitsman’ in the Yarra River in 1974? I remember seeing her underwater on her side and later on being re-floated alongside South Wharf. It seems like it was only yesterday when these accidents happened.

There are many more ships that came into Melbourne that I didn’t mention here too, like the Sitmar Line ship ‘Fairsky’ that I arrived on from England in 1969, at Station pier.

The ships mentioned here are some of the ships that I remember seeing as a youngster, although I don’t get to see as many these days which is a pity.

As I sit at St Kilda beach, looking across the bay, I think of our port and how it used to be.

This article I would like to dedicate to all past and present Australian ships, crews and dock workers. I’d also like to thank A.E, my brother in law, for his input.

M.U.A. here to stay.

Till next time,



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