Yarra St Pier’s fleet at anchor
TWO of today’s photos appear to have been taken on the same day in the 1870s, with the same sailing ships lined up at the Yarra St Pier.
Our main picture shows the Geelong Customs House in the foreground to the right, with the Yarra St Pier in the distance.
The Customs House was completed in 1856 and remains today with a restaurant on the bottom level. The foreshore back then extended only as far as what would later be Eastern Beach Rd.
The land that is now the Steampacket Gardens was later reclaimed and a seawall built.
The photo taken from the south shows more clearly the dilapidated Steam Packet Jetty.
Geelong’s first wharf had been the Stone Jetty, completed in 1840 opposite what later became Transvaal Square.
The Steam Packet Jetty was built shortly afterwards, opposite Mack’s Hotel.
The Yarra St Pier was built in 1851 and was connected to Steam Packet Jetty by a nar- row cross wharf, the piles of which can be seen in both photos. The cross wharf was for the convenience of passengers using the bay steamers.
A purpose-built wharf for bay steamers, the Moorabool St Pier, was built later alongside Cunningham Pier, originally known as Railway Pier.
Our other photo also shows the Yarra St Pier in the background.
Taken in 1869, it shows what was said to be familiar sight on the Geelong foreshore at the time.
Retired ship’s master Captain William Keller can be seen in his goat cart on the left of the photo. Captain Keller was believed to have suffered badly from arthritis, and had his small goat cart custom made.
The larger ships at the pier were also identified. Those on the western side were the Helen, Colonial Empire and Alumbagh. On the eastern side was the Juliette.
The photo was taken by Thomas Washbourne, who at one time had his studios in Pakington St, Geelong West. Contact: email@example.com
The Geelong Customs House, with Yarra St Pier in the distance in the 1870s.
Yarra St Pier as seen from the south in the 1870s.
Retired ship’s master William Keller and his goat cart.