Yarra St Pier’s fleet at an­chor

Geelong Advertiser - - NEWS -

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: pe­ter­john­begg@gmail.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.

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