History and Heritage
History of Melbourne Docklands
- 1835 - John Batman sails into Port Phillip in May, purchasing a large portion of the land now known as Melbourne and building one of the first houses in Melbourne atop Pleasant Hill (later known as Batman’s Hill)
- Batman’s Hill formed part of the boundaries of the general terminus developed in the 1850s for the railway companies.
- When the area was taken over by the Government in 1856, it became the Melbourne terminus of the (new) Victorian Railways.
- 1837 - Surveyors Russell and Hoddle draw up the Melbourne city grid, leaving the marshland empty. The area becomes the location of some of Melbourne’s first industries, especially those connected with the livestock trade: abattoirs, bone grinders, wool washers and candle makers.
- Late 1880s - English engineer, Sir John Coode, converts the marshland site into a prominent industrial and transport hub. The Victoria Docks thrive as Melbourne’s key port for many years.
- 1970's - Changes to cargo transportation and storage methods reduce the significance of the site which is virtually abandoned.
- 1990’s - The Victorian Government's Docklands Taskforce is appointed to identify and report on the best options for the area.
- 1991 - Docklands Authority Act 1991 passed by the Victorian Parliament. The Docklands Authority was established to facilitate private sector development of the area.
- 1996 - The site was released to the market in 7 separate precincts.
- 1997 – Construction of Docklands Stadium commences.
- 1999 – Docklands Authority takes on the municipal management for Docklands.
- 2000 – Docklands Stadium (Telstra Dome) & Docklands key transport links open. Bourke Street, La Trobe Street, Wurundjeri Way all open.
- 2002 – First residents move into residential towers at NewQuay, Docklands.
- 2003 - The Docklands Authority merges with the Urban and Regional Land Corporation (URLC) to become VicUrban and manages the development of the site which has become Melbourne’s biggest urban renewal project.
- Victoria’s maritime history has been intrinsic to the Docklands’ future. It resonates in the precinct current structural designs and is more practically honoured by the preservation of select heritage buildings.
- 2007 - On July 1, the municipal management of Melbourne Docklands is transferred from VicUrban to the City of Melbourne with VicUrban continuing its role as the agency responsible for its development until the project is completed in around 2020.
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