Flying the flag for maritime at the Docklands Summit

Flying the flag for maritime at the Docklands Summit
Jackie Watts

Great to see Docklands residents and businesses represented in numbers at the recent City of Melbourne Docklands Summit at Marvel Stadium – and particularly heartening to hear such widespread alignment between resident views about the future of their precinct with those views advocated by the Melbourne Maritime Heritage Network (MMHN).

You may wish to check the eight opportunities MMHN has identified in order to capture and celebrate the future of Docklands. See:

We were dismayed to hear nonsensical references in creating the Docklands Precinct identity. The Docklands community isn’t looking for an identity – it has one already – and a strong one – AND IT IS ALL ABOUT THE WATER!

Marvel to the MCG?

It is regrettable that the AFL is yet to grasp this reality, despite operating a large, dominant corporate asset in the heart of Docklands with a vast aquatic amphitheatre – Victoria Harbour – on its doorstep!

Although MMHN is delighted that Melbourne’s waterways were to be part of a AFL celebration, we was dismayed that the AFL had, in effect, turned its back on the Docklands Precinct – again. The AFL had the great opportunity to create a “Stadium to Stadium” waterways route “Marvel to the MCG” journey from the ferry terminal at Docklands to Birrarung Marr. Starting the journey in Docklands is likely to have attracted many thousands of people to the start of the parade at Harbour Esplanade.

This seems to be such a lost opportunity for the AFL to demonstrate corporate citizenship and genuinely boost Docklands. MMHN contacted the AFL to raise this matter and request that the AFL re-think the route. We were told the plans were well advanced. It’s hard to accept this as a reason not to adjust the program. Same vessels same waterways?

Returning now to City of Melbourne Docklands Forum – corporate panellists based in Docklands spoke of engagement with, and support for, the Docklands community. Let’s get beyond the corporate rhetoric. If the AFL won’t support Docklands this year, then it should become a permanent “fixture” in the footy calendar of the future.

HMAS Castlemaine – an early alert for Docklands residents

Take a ferry over to Williamstown on October 10 for a wonderful celebration with the Navy commemorating the 80th anniversary of the commissioning of the HMAS Castlemaine at Commonwealth Reserve, Williamstown, on Sunday, October 9.

The heritage-listed HMAS Castlemaine is a ship museum owned, preserved and operated by the Maritime Trust of Australia, a totally volunteer-run organisation, and has been restored and maintained by the volunteers since 1974. This volunteer effort certainly warrants celebration. It’s wonderful to see the Navy is strongly supporting this important event …

  • RAN Band recitals in rotunda, 1pm to 5pm
  • Static displays from HMAS Cerberus, 1pm to 5pm
  • Defence Force Recruiting displays, 1pm to 5pm
  • Australian Navy Cadets displays and TS Voyager Open Day, 1pm to 5pm
  • RAAF PC21 Aircraft display (TBC)
  • Navy helicopter flying display (TBC)
  • Navy Drone club flying (TBC)
  • Ceremonial Sunset, Band Performance and Guard on Gem Pier and HMAS Castlemaine, including firing blank rounds, 7.15pm to 7.45pm

Australian Red Ensign – September 3

It is widely acknowledged that the global Merchant Fleet has been absolutely critical during the pandemic.

Over recent months Offshore and Specialist Ships Australia (OSSA) has valiantly lobbied state authorities to persuade them to fly the Red Ensign as a mark of respect to the seafarers entering Melbourne under the West Gate Bridge on September 3 – Merchant Navy Day. Sadly, protocol somehow prevented this.

Similarly, Melbourne Maritime Heritage Network (MMHN) lobbied the City of Melbourne to fly the flag at Town Hall without success. However, the City of Melbourne found a way to indicate its respect for merchant seafarers in this great maritime city.

For those of you who missed it, we are delighted to report that the Red Ensign proudly flew in Victoria Harbour outside the Waterways Branch on September 3.

The Australian Red Ensign is the official flag to be flown at sea by Australian registered merchant ship. •

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