Docklanders … we need your help!
By Dr Jackie Watts - President
Residents of Docklands are a resilient lot. Grey skies, choppy waters and chill winds shearing off the towers make for a long winter, but when the sun shines, how very lovely it really is!
In absolutely glorious sunshine recently, Melbourne Maritime Heritage Network (MMHN) took an exploratory walk all along NewQuay to where it currently terminates at Wattle Rd.
At Wattle Rd the promenade turns inland away from the harbour for a block, and a footpath leads to Ron Barassi Senior Park – arguably the best view of the city skyline to be had in this town.
Now – this is where we appeal for help from Docklands residents …
The reason the MMHN took this spectacular walk is because of our persistent dismay that the City of Melbourne’s much heralded Greenline trail along the north bank of the Yarra River inexplicably terminates at the tip of Collins Wharf. MMHN struggles to make sense of this puzzling piece of urban planning which, while it goes some way towards acknowledging Melbourne’s rich maritime heritage, falls short.
Given the heritage significance of Victoria Harbour, how can the City of Melbourne urban planners ignore the major public maritime infrastructure “asset” in the area? Given footpaths along Harbour Esplanade and NewQuay and around to the Ron Barassi Senior Park already exist, why does the Greenline trail not encircle Victoria Harbour?
The City of Melbourne should do all it can to “open-up” the Docklands precinct – starting with extending the Greenline trail. By being inclusive and effectively creating economic and recreational public benefit in the Docklands precinct, it’s an easy win. Note – no new construction costs are incurred in extending the Greenline trail. All that it would require is the installation of additional directional and informational signage and it would certainly lend support to the businesses of Docklands. The current true heart of Docklands is, in effect, ignoring a major opportunity for the entire Docklands precinct.
MMHN encourages all Docklands residents and business to participate in Greenline trail consultations before they close on October 3 via participate.melbourne.vic.gov.au/greenline
Resuming the MMHN exploratory walk to Ron Barassi Senior Park, the water’s edge beneath the Bolte Bridge is regrettably still crumbling with yet-to-be-reinstated heritage wharves in the foreground.
However, Victoria Harbour glistens spectacularly, with yachts in the marinas, Docklands Stadium and the Heritage Fleet bobbing against Collins Wharf.
The heritage-listed Harbour Masters Tower looks surprisingly tall from this vantage point, still crying out for re-purposing, and across the river to Yarra’s Edge on towards the estuary, the massive vessels sit berthed at the Port of Melbourne docks. Absolutely stunning.
Hopefully, equally stunning is the MMHN vision for Central Pier (Development Victoria permitting) for an architecturally designed iconic low-rise structure housing the Maritime Experience Centre – an entirely new concept for Melbourne and a genuinely permanent “activator” for Docklands and an appropriate re-purposing of the heritage-listed Central Pier.
Stay tuned! •