Often the news we share through the MMHN Update is concerning, this is not surprising – these are most challenging times with many global hostilities, environmental threats and subtle shifts in influence around our oceans – in particularly Australian waters.

If MMHN were a ship we would most certainly be flying the K-KILO flag of the International Marine Signal signalling “we wish to communicate with you”. In essence, all that MMHN is able to do is disseminate information, raise awareness and advocate on matters of importance to maritime stakeholders.

We acknowledge the Naval Historical Society of Australia (Victorian Chapter) for reminding us of the critical necessity of such a ‘signal’ across this troubled world.

But first – two event invitations for you to consider:

May 1, 5pm – Insight into the Australian Maritime Industry

Angela Gillham (CEO of MIAL – Maritime Industry Australia Ltd.) will discuss the background and work of MIAL past, present, and future in advocating for the Australian maritime industry. The presentation will provide invaluable insight into the maritime industry and the critical of importance of shipping to Australia. The presentation will be free to MMHN and OSSA members and $10 to others. All proceeds will be equally shared between the Mission to Seafarers and Stella Maris Seafarers Centre.

Where: Magnet Gallery, Premises SC G19, The District Centre, Wharf St, Docklands. Take the Bourke St Tram – last stop.


April 20, 10.30am  –  Now you see it, Soon you won’t. Heritage Shipping Control Tower, Victoria Harbour

An informal on-site presentation by MMHN to the 2024 Australian Heritage Week program. Owned by government, this impressive maritime infrastructure asset, the tower, is recognised as significant in the evolution of Melbourne, now languishes, ignored, neglected and left to rot as a longstanding work in progress.

MMHN will share what we know of the history and regrettable disregard for its cultural value – and perhaps is future?

Where: Gather at the tip of North Wharf, Docklands. Take the Collins St tram to the last stop walk towards Docklands library, continue walking along the North Wharf Road in towards the Bolte Bridge.



1. RAN Sea Cadets at Williamstown
2. Dark Vessels and Data – Industrial Fishing
3. HMAS Armadale Podcast
4. ASEAN in Melbourne – Maritime Recognition
5. Funding for Maritime Heritage Projects – ANMM Grants
6. Apollo Bay – Then, Now and Next
7. Antarctic Circumpolar Current
8. China’s New Qinling Antarctic Station – Global Impact
9. RSV Nuyina– Echoes of an Historic Voyage
10. Wreck of the vessel Fiji
11. Brennan Torpedo: Australian Submarine ‘innovation’
12. RAN – Surface Fleet Review
13. U3A – Where Maritime Heritage matters
14. Wreck of SS Nemesis
15. Beach Plastic – Re-Think on this critical interface with oceans
16. Parks Victoria – Litter in our waterways
17. Melbourne Riverboat Design
18. Cruise Industry in Victoria
19. Port of Vancouver – An inspirational ‘model’ for the Port of Melbourne
20. Billabongs in Melbourne – Map
21. Ship movements in Port Phillip Bay
22. HMS Royal Sovereign – quite a tale
23. The Reuniting Family – Maritime Heritage Sculpture
24. MMHN First Book – River to Bay


1. RAN Sea Cadets at Williamstown

MMHN thanks Lieutenant (ANC) Ashley Alp Commanding Officer TS VOYAGER (Williamstown) for these heart-warming photos below. The Australian Navy Cadets (ANC) is a Commonwealth national strategic youth development program for adolescents between the ages of 13 and 19 years. Supported by the Royal Australian Navy, the Australian Navy Cadets is a leading provider of youth development with approximately 2350 cadets and 81 Training Ships across Australia and open to young Australians between the ages of 13-18 of all gender and ability.

ANC adult volunteers lead, manage, motivate and train the cadets “With a focus on the maritime domain, cadets participate in numerous exciting and rewarding activities, both on land and the water, with the key objectives of building self-confidence and developing teamwork and leadership skills.”

See: Navy Cadets

Image: ANC


2. Dark Vessels and Data – Industrial Fishing

Fishing boats use Automatic Identification System, or AIS, to avoid colliding with each other. Their AIS signals bounce off satellites to reach nearby ships. However, fishing vessels can intentionally disable their location tracker if they want to hide their location. Given that AIS is not mandated, turning it off is in itself not illegal. Commercially it is useful to know where your competitors are fishing, however, vessels going ’dark’ also enables Transhipment aka Fish ‘Laundering‘ which occurs when Dark Fishing vessels illicitly transfer illegal catch to legal catch.

There is an even more environmentally valuable use of AIS in generating data on an estimated 50% to 80% of fishing operations occurring out of sight, more than 100 nautical miles off shore. The value lies in ‘mining’ nautical Big Data, crunching immense batches of statistics to determine patterns of fishing fleet behaviour simply not apparent before AIS.

Computers have crunched 22 billion identification messages transmitted by sea-going fishing vessels to map fishing activity around the globe. The analysis reveals that more than 55% of the world’s oceans are subject to industrial scale exploitation. Even when ‘dark’ vessels are operating, through utilising new technological advances, including satellite data and machine learning, it is possible for researchers to estimate more accurately where exploitation may occur. In a sense AIS data is one of the most complete sources of maritime data.

The ‘absence’ of AIS data is also an ‘indicator’. Main ‘dark’ hot spots are to be found in the Bering Sea and along the Pacific coast of the USA. Five years of data on the topic of fishing vessel location devices and data on the habitats of 14 large marine species, including seabirds, sharks, turtles, sea lions and tunas, all highly mobile marine predators, highlight that these are significantly at risk because of the large numbers of ‘dark fishing ‘vessels operating where these species live. When factoring in the presence of ‘dark’ vessels, the estimated risk to these animals has increased by nearly 25%.

See: The Guardian – Fishing ships turn off tracking and Global Fishing Watch
And BBC News – World’s Fishing Fleets Mapped and The Conversation – Fishing Boats Go Dark


3. HMAS Armadale Podcast

MMHN recommends the Armadale podcast (9 episodes) which recounts the riveting and true story of the Australian corvette AMAS Armadale which was sunk in action off East Timor 1/12/42. This riveting story of heroism, personal triumph and tragedy remained classified for 50 years.

See: Spotify – Armadale Podcast


4. ASEAN in Melbourne – Maritime Recognition

MMHN notes that the recent ASEAN Conference Melbourne acknowledged the critical importance of maritime matters in the region. “ASEAN recognises the multi-faceted nature of maritime issues and therefore commits to a holistic, integrated and comprehensive approach to address them. Maritime cooperation constitutes an important component of the ASEAN Political-Security Community (APSC) Blueprint, which calls for, among others, the establishment of the ASEAN Maritime Forum (AMF) and a comprehensive approach that focuses on the safety of navigation and security issues in the region that are of common concern to ASEAN.”

Given that the Republic of the Philippines is a founding member of ASEAN; the immense number of global merchant seafarers from the Philippines, and the HQ of Victoria International Container Terminal’s (VICT) is in Manila, it is perhaps not entirely surprising that that of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. attended the inauguration of a port expansion, and the First Lady of the Republic of the Philippines, Louise Araneta – Marcos, visited the fully-automated VICT terminal (VICT), highlighting the importance of this being the only operator at the Port of Melbourne table to accommodate largest ships.



5. Funding for Maritime Heritage Projects -ANMM Grants

Australian National Maritime Museum: If your organisation has objects or collections that contribute to an understanding of Australia, its people, and developments which have influenced its maritime history, and you need support to care for and to provide quality public access to them, you could be eligible for a grant.

What are your organisation’s priorities for the year ahead? Conservation, Collection Management, Presentation or Public Programs. If you are involved in the collection, promotion, and presentation of Australia’s maritime heritage, here are 3 opportunities:

Maritime Museums of Australia Project Support Scheme offers funding of up to $15,000 for projects
Maritime Museums Administrator’s Course, targeting active care and display $3,000 grant to cover for week-long course and plus, in-kind (non-depending on your priorities)
Visit the website for more information and how to apply.

Or call MMAPSS Coordinator: (02) 9298 3777

Note: Applications for grants close 3PM (AEST) Tuesday 9 April 20


6. Apollo Bay – Then, Now and Next

Since the 19th century, Apollo Bay’s maritime significance has ‘waxed and waned.

Known, of course to the Gadubanud or Katabanut peoples, Cape Otway was ‘discovered’ by Lieutenant James Grant sailing the vessel Lady Nelson in 1800 while surveying the Victorian coast. Initially called Middleton, the township was re-named Apollo Bay in 1877 recognising Capt. Loutit who sought refuge in the Bay aboard the schooner Apollo on a trip between Melbourne and Warrnambool in 1845.

Several years after, sealers and whalers began working in the region with the Henty Brothers whaling station set up at Point Bunbury on the west end of the bay. The only viable access to the township was by sea access until in 1932 the Great Ocean Road opened up the town. The town firstly thrived through timber felling in the Otway Ranges, and the transport of timber by sea. The fishing industry became prominent when the Great Ocean Road made daily deliveries of fresh fish to Melbourne possible.


So from whaling to timber to commercial fishing, to major tourist destination on the route to the 12 Apostles, media reports indicate that a new maritime opportunity may await for Apollo Bay port.

Bass Strait Freight which operates a service between Tasmania and Flinders Island, in the east of Bass Strait is investigating expanding its operations too include a roll-on roll-off vessel travelling to and from King island to the west of Bass Strait only 48 kms south of Apollo Bay.

Significantly Apollo Bay is the only All-weather harbour between Melbourne and Portland, in the far west. The proposal involves shipping of 20,000 cattle annually through the Apollo Bay port and township currently reliant upon tourism. Controversy and opposition has erupted in the tourist town. Stay-tuned.

See: ABC News – Proposed Shipping Service from Apollo Bay
and The Age: Cows and tourists lock horns over shipping plan

Image: Colac Shire website


7. Antarctic Circumpolar Current

Last MMHN Update referred the Atlantic ‘gyre’ current patterns – which despite the vast distance, will impact on Australia. Closer to home we have the Antarctic Circumpolar Current and neighbouring ocean gyres. This is an ocean current created by density and temperature variations in the water (thermohaline circulation). Thermohaline describes currents that are the result of variations in temperature (thermo) and salinity.

Leaving aside the impact of temperature changes as Antarctic glaciers melt, the Antarctic Circumpolar Current alone distributes Antarctic nutrients around the world and in doing so boosts the value of global fisheries by circa US$2.8 billion, making these currents an important part of the Southern Oceans Biodiversity and ecology.

See: The Conversation: Antarctica provides $276 Billion in economic benefits


8. China’s New Qinling Antarctic Station – Global Impact

The importance of Antarctica to the Australia’s economy and national security in the long-term is irrefutableMMHN recommends close reading of a report y ABC Journalist Libby Hogan (18/2) “China opened its 5th research station in Antarctica this month, analysts sounded alarm bells about potential security threats on Australia’s southern doorstep.”

Following is a brief account of key points:

Image: ABC website – Qinling Station

Presence is Power: Qinling allows China to increase its strategic all year round presence in/on Antarctica covering another area of the Antarctic quadrant with presence on the ice-free Ross Sea. This will enable multiple opportunities for China including: surveillance capabilities, control over maritime transport routes, capability of launching satellites all extend the capacity to exploit resources. Of the continental landmass. China’s strategic reach is also enabling a continuous shipbuilding program which, notably includes Antarctic icebreakers.

Image: Antarctic bases ABC website

Drake’s Passage: Last Month MMHN reported on maritime transport difficulties related to Panama and Suez Canal both adversely impacting capacity on global maritime trade. A consequence of these difficulties, Drake Passage, a turbulent body of water that lies between South America and China’s Great Wall Station, may become a more popular route. For the past decade China has been building ‘useful’ maritime infrastructure in Chile and Argentina which, when factored into the location of the Great Wall Station will deliver greater surveillance and/or potentially greater control over Drake’s Passage.

Antarctic Treaty: According to the former head of the Australian Antarctic Division, Tony Press, “Qinling station met the fundamental obligations of the Antarctic Treaty for peaceful use and non-militarisation as per Australia’s inspection of the station in 2020.” However, Anne-Marie Brady, Researcher University of Canterbury, found contrary to the Antarctic Treaty “several instances when China failed to declare its use of military personnel in Antarctica, including the use of a logistics expert from the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) to set up the BeiDou-2 global positioning system. Accord to the Lowy Institute “The Antarctic Treaty System (ATS) provides Australia with a peaceful, non-militarised south; a freeze on challenges to our territorial claim; a ban on mining and an ecosystem-based management of fisheries. But China wants to benefit economically, and potentially militarily, from Antarctica. It is increasingly assertive in the ATS, primarily over fisheries access, and active on the ice”. 

See: Lowy Institute: Australia, China, and the Antarctic Treaty System

Resources – Daniel Bray: La Trobe University, comments “As competition for marine resources intensifies in the South China Sea, China can more easily fish in Antarctic waters. This is problematic particularly in relation to krill , a key food source for ecosystems and medicines. “You control the seas, you control the world, ripe for shaping international commerce.” Dr Bray warns of a possible contest over minerals, and fresh water which is one of the overlooked resources in Antarctica ”including vast amounts of minerals, hydrocarbons, oil and gas, and you’ve got 70 %of the Earth’s freshwater locked up in that continent”.

Australian Presence: Tony Press warns “What was alarming is Australia’s underinvestment in Antarctica for science and logistics capabilities, particularly the lack of capacity to operate in all parts of Antarctica all year round”. Although the former Morrison govt. allocated $804 million over 10 years for Australia’s strategic and scientific capabilities in Antarctica, in 2023, budget pressures resulted in Australia’s Antarctic Division saving $25 million. Australia’s reliance on a single new ice breaker, RSV Nuyina, which primarily supports Australia’s scientific research team in Antarctica, was not enough. Mr Bray said “despite the investment, Australia still did not have the monitoring capabilities to keep across China’s activities”.

See: China’s new Antarctic station and Space & Defense – China’s new Antarctic base may monitor Australian space launches


9. RSV Nuyina– Echoes of an Historic Voyage

Last month the, Australian Antarctic Programme (AAP) News reported the history-making inaugural voyage to the Mawson research station in Antarctica – 70 years after the MV Kista Dan made a similar voyage to establish the station. While the RSV Nuyina will transport supplies, and personnel for the winter, the MV Kista Dan’s mission in 1954 was exploratory, led by Dr. Phil Law who named the station after Sir Douglas Mawson. MV Kista Dan faced challenges such as navigating through ice and eventually succeeded in reaching Horseshoe Harbour. Mawson Station, remains central to Australia’s longstanding engagement with polar exploration and scientific research across multiple scientific disciplines including glaciology, meteorology, and cosmic ray physics.

See: AAP Media Release and Video

Image: AAP website


10. Wreck of the vessel Fiji

A win! Rare acknowledgement of Victoria’s maritime heritage. MMHN congratulates Alan MacLean who has persisted in gaining due recognition by the Heritage Council for the inclusion of Fiji Shipwreck Landscape on the Victorian Heritage Register. Never an easy process , but happily this has now been gazetted and the registration can be viewed online via the Victorian Heritage Database: i.e. Landscape, seascape and features associated with the wreck of Fiji in 1891 and its aftermath. This includes the wreck site, the beach, the upright anchor monument, the headstone and associated gravesite.


Image: VHD


11. Brennan Torpedo: Australian Submarine ‘innovation’

Submarines designed elsewhere are big news in Australian media. MMHN is grateful Bob Hart, Secretary Royal United Services Institute of Victoria(RUSI) for alerting us in the RUSI Defence Update (4/3) to a little-known aspect of Australia’s own Submarine heritage and an Australian ‘innovation’ patented by inventor, Louis Brennan in 1877. The torpedo was propelled by two contra-rotating propellers that were spun by rapidly pulling out wires from drums wound inside the torpedo. In 1894 the then secret Brennan Torpedo, Lt. John Monash wrote of Louis Brennan, CB (1852–1932) an Irish-born Australian mechanical engineer and inventor. “Is it fair to say that this inventor of the world’s first practical guided missile is little-known? While in Australia he developed a revolutionary wire-guided land-launched torpedo and tested it in Hobson’s Bay.

The Admiralty invited him to come to England. The weapon was developed, a government factory constructed to manufacture it and it was fielded in England, Ireland and Hong Kong. The State of Victoria requested it for Port Phillip defences but the request was denied. Modern Mk 48 torpedos are also wire guided and equipped with a formidable array of ‘counter- measures.’

On July 25, 2008 a Mk 48 Mod 7 torpedo fired by an Australian Collins-class submarine, HMAS Waller, successfully sank a test target during the Rim of the Pacific 2008 exercises. Brennan torpedoes, perhaps described as ‘clockwork’ needed no counter-counter-measures. Brennan also invented monorails and a helicopter precursor. He died and was buried in England.” 

Though often cited as the world’s’ first guided missile, guided torpedoes invented by John EricssonJohn Louis Lay, and Victor von Scheliha all predate it. That said, Brennan’s torpedo was much simpler in its concept and worked over an acceptable range at a satisfactory speed so it might be more accurate to call it the world’s first practical guided missile.

See: http:///

Image: Brennan torpedo replica at the Hong Kong Museum of Coastal Defence; cut-out shows the two drums of wire used for propulsion and guidance.


12. RAN – Surface Fleet Review

MMHN thanks Naval Historical Society of Australia for sharing this presentation by MMHN Board member Commodore Greg Yorke AM CSC RAN. This thought-provoking Oration, included a summary of the findings of the recent announced Federal Govt. Surface Fleet Review.

Viewed via YouTube:

The Govt. three part response to the Independent Analysis Recommendations, may be accessed via:

Australian Government: Enhanced Lethality Surface Combatant Fleet

Image: NHSA


13. U3A – Where Maritime Heritage matters

Over the past 13 years, MMHN Member, Bruce Gooley, has delivered fascinating maritime history courses to around 40 people each week at the U3A premises at Hawthorn. Class members are invited to make a brief informal presentation during final sessions about any area of particular maritime history of special interest to them. Currently the group is in the middle of an 11-week course entitled ‘Crossing the Line’ .

Bruce generously allows access to all his course material so should you wish to see a summary of the course topics and dates and links to PDF copies of this course notes, and all 13 years of course notes, or talk to Bruce about the next courses, email:


14. Wreck of SS Nemesis

An exciting albeit inadvertent discovery. ABC Illawarra journalist Nick McLaren reports “Ship searching for sunken containers stumbles upon 120-year-old shipwreck“. Lost off Wollongong 120 years ago the 73ft. iron vessel the SS Nemesis and 32 crew members aged 18 to 56 from Australia, the UK, NZ, Ireland, Canada, Norway, and British Guinea.

Carrying coal between Newcastle and Melbourne the ship foundered in July 1904 during a ”huge” storm. Bodies and debris washed ashore at Cronulla Beach but the hull could not be located.

The Sydney Morning Herald reported (July 15, 1904), “The greater part of the deck woodwork has the hull already been cast up on the beach in an almost unrecognisable mass of splintered timber. 

Offshore steamships like iron Nemesis tend to survive more intact in deeper water on sand and they present just an amazing time capsule of past events in 19th century trade and, in this case, a wreck that just tipped over into the 20th century.”

Searching for sunken shipping containers, the wreck was discovered 26 kilometres off the Wollongong coast when a company came across it by accident, with underwater scanning equipment looking for lost containers revealing the hull. Heritage NSW will carry out detailed survey work to document the wreck.

See: ABC News – SS Nemesis Shipwreck Discovered

Image: ABC – The SS Nemesis sank in a storm in 1904 while travelling from Newcastle to Melbourne. Supplied: Heritage NSW.

Image: ABC – A photo of the SS Nemesis taken in 1904.


15. Beach Plastic – Re-Think on this critical interface with oceans

Beaches are the interface with oceans. If you care about oceans – you need to pay close attention to beaches. MMHN thanks Planning Democracy (Newsletter Feb 2024) for alerting us to following worrisome information.

According to Mornington Shore Councillor David Gill, Mechanical Beach-Raking is a useless as well as counter -productive process in that it actually exacerbates the environmental problem by breaking plastic objects into microplastic fragments, and the Raking process, in the short term, simply reburying the fragments. Adding to the problem, Mechanical Raking gathers all seaweed and dispatches this useful material to landfill.

Mechanical Raking is a well established but wrong-headed local govt. practise, clearly in need of re-think. Mornington Shire is leading the identification of these hidden cost to the environment of a superficially ‘tide-ey’ beach (pardon the pun)and has established an internal working group as well as contemplating further steps to “assess and understand the impacts and options for an alternate approach to the cleaning of our beaches”. MMHN encourages all maritime stakeholders to look at what is happening on ever-so neat beaches around this State, and monitor this ongoing investigation.

See: Mornington Peninsula News: Mechanical beach raking must end


16. Parks Victoria – Litter in our waterways

The banks of our waterways also interface with oceans. So first the good news? A litter audit by Parks Victoria Depot, Burnley, in January 2024 found that the litter collected by the Automatic River Cleaner (MMHN reported on this is 2023) is proving to be much more effective at removing litter from waterways than the old-fashioned litter traps- which have been next to useless. So – is all well in relation to waterways litter collection? MMHN argues not so.

MMHN wrote in March to Parks Victoria and the City of Melbourne registering a complaint about the appalling and persistent practice adopted by Parks Victoria in parking a FULL litter collection device for extended periods alongside a primary CBD walking pathway in our city – Southbank opposite MCEC. This on-going situation in which masses of litter is left by Parks Victoria for extended periods in a most prominent place along major CBD waterway makes a mockery of Parks Victoria’s efforts. MMHN contends that the City of Melbourne and Parks Victoria teams should be celebrating their efforts to clean up these waterways, rather than inadvertently highlighting the ongoing extend of the issue.

See : Parks Victoria – Yarra river gets a deep clean

Obviously this is not ’new news’ for Parks Victoria. It degrades our city. This would not be accepted in comparable state capital cities. MMHN requested an immediate change in Parks Victoria waterways litter removal schedule. I draw your attention to 7+ helmets. CoM replied that they referred this to PV. PV has not responded to MMHN – yet.

Image: Jackie Watts


17. Melbourne Riverboat Design

Hecker Guthrue architects in collaboration with naval engineers have designed two new river tourist ships for the rivers of Europe: APT Solara and APT Ostara. Both carry 154 passengers and 50 crew and prioritising sustainability in relation to ie. fuel and waste reduction and energy optimisation. The vessels are being built in the Netherlands at Huesden. APT has also commissioned a Murray river 5 Star Paddle Steamer at a cost of $6.5 million.

Image: Huesdon Website, the Ostara.


18. Cruise Industry in Victoria

The lure of the ocean. According to The Age reporter Brian Johnston, in the post COVID era of 2024, Cruise demand is ‘Hot’As a consequence of major global crises Spanish Flu epidemic, WW1 & WW2, the Oil crisis and, of course, the boom in Air travel, the “major predictable cruise downturn during the COVID pandemic”, industry data indicates a strong recovery. 2023 Cruise (CLIA) figures for November 2023 indicate that 31.5 million people paid to cruise somewhere on the planet – record levels. Predictions indicate 13% increase in 2024 Cruise lines are short on cabin capacity. Passenger perception is that cruising is ‘safe and easy’ in a hostile world.

How does this immensely optimistic global ‘take’ on the Cruise sector tally with moves by Australia’s largest cruise ship operator to the fee rise in Victoria – NOT WELL – cancelling two Melbourne port calls for the 2025/26 season, and redeploying the ships to other states.

The decision impacts visits from Princess Cruises and Cunard ships, which are part of the Carnival Australia Group. The State govt. claims the increase imposed by state authority Ports Victoria as ‘modest’ and said it followed two-and-a-half years of charges being frozen.

The move means the per passenger fee for using the historic Station Pier on Port Phillip will climb from $28.50 to $32 from January 2024 . According to Ports and Freight Minister Melissa Horne, “the revenue is needed in order to maintain the heritage-listed Station Pier.” Of this MMHN has no doubt. Shadow Tourism Minister Sam Groth MP describes this fee increase as -“just another hit for the tourism sector”, “weeks after the government confirmed a 7.5 per cent short-stay levy”.

Further worrisome news for the Melbourne’s Cruise tourism industry and particularly as Virgin were due to pick up some of the pier excess pier capacity which occurred after Port Victoria increased port fees. Virgin decisions were not entirely due to the fees.

See: Sky News: Virgin will not anchor in Australia
and Sydney Morning Herald – Virgin scraps Summer Australian Cruises

In MMHN’s view, this news highlights the immediate need for a concerted Cruise ship Strategy for Victoria and we have been advocating this strongly across the political spectrum – watch this space for further details.


19. Port of Vancouver – An inspirational ‘model’ for the Port of Melbourne

A reminder that MMHN has long advocated that Station Pier is genuinely iconic degenerating heritage-listed maritime heritage infrastructure asset. To this end, MMHN has presented a coherent case for creating a Station Pier Precinct in order to optimise its social cultural and economic value. (see MMHN Opportunity – Station Pier). There is no shortage of successful excellent port ’models’ around the world. As you read about the Port Vancouver which follows. MMHN encourages you to reflect on what is NOT- and what COULD be happening at Station Pier.

Many aspects of the Vancouver Port Terminal are impressive including the revenue it generates for Vancouver. Each cruise ship that docks in Vancouver contributes approximately $2 million to the local economy (unfortunately MMHN is not aware of comparable $ figure at Station Pier).

Turning to its tourism offering which encouragingly focuses on both– domestic tourism and international tourism: Canada Place (the Cruise Terminal Precinct) is an iconic landmark events venue for “inspirationally” Canadian experiences year round. Marvel at our 90-foot tall, white sails; view the Sails of Light illuminated at dusk and dawn; explore Canada on The Canadian Trail; learn about Canada’s largest port in the Port of Vancouver Discovery Centre; listen every day at noon for the Heritage Horns ; a Canadian Centennial Project (1967) enjoy the Dream of Canada Exhibit.

Note: In MMHN’s view, Station Pier is bleak and empty except when cruise ships call. Ports Victoria could easily use this vibrant ‘model’ as a template for Station Pier – which is, of course heritage listed and already genuinely ‘iconic’ to so many Victorians.

Leaving aside ‘promotional’ aspects of Vancouver Port, its ’sustainable’ operational aspects are also impressive! For example, in 2009, shore power a globally significant environmental initiative was implemented, which enabled cruise ships to connect to the shore-based electrical grid while docked. Shore Power technology enables ships to turn off their diesel-powered auxiliary engines and plug into British Columbia’s low-emission hydroelectric power network. Using Shore Power can significantly reduce air quality and climate change-related air emissions, as well as reduce engine noise. To date, Shore Power connections at the Port of Vancouver have prevented more than 30,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions. 15 years ago, this was the first installation of this type in Canada, and only the third in the world – could a similar such initiative which is now well established globally soon become a feature for Victoria? .

Port of Vancouver has the stated vision to be Port of to be the world’s most sustainable port. the port authority offer EcoAction Program, offering up to a 75% discount on harbour dues for shipping lines that use Shore Power, helping to encourage cleaner and quieter ships to call the Port of Vancouver. The award-winning cruise terminal recently awarded three prestigious operational awards Best Turnaround Destination, Most Efficient Port Facilities and Most Efficient Terminal Operation.

See: Port of Vancouver – Cruise
and Canada Place Cruise Ship Terminal

Image: Port of Vancouver Website


20. Billabongs in Melbourne – Map

MMHN acknowledges the heritage of our waterways – and here is a good news story. Waterways In the shadow of roadworks, preserving the last remaining billabongs in Melbourne

See: The Age – Remaining billabongs in Melbourne

The below map graphically indicates the presence and distribution of billabongs around the rivers around the bay prior to the Coode Scheme.
Vestiges of the billabongs and swamps that are evident today.

Image: Map funded by City of Melbourne and numerous agencies.


21. Ship movements in Port Phillip Bay

It is a given that sailing takes time. It is interesting to reflect that when cruise passengers pass through The Heads, they might mistakenly think they have arrived in the Port of Melbourne. Consider the time it actually takes to sail up to the port of Melbourne e and the Port of Geelong:

  • Port of Melbourne – Time listed is at Fawkner Beacon
    – Time between the Heads and Fawkner Beacon – 3 hours
    – Time between Fawkner Beacon and berth – 1 hour
    Fawkner Beacon Weather Station is located in the south of Victoria at an altitude of about m above sea level. Nearby localities include: Brighton Beach (5.95km away – Hampton (6.42km away) and Sandringham (6.42km away).
  • Port of Geelong – Time listed is at Point Richards
    – Time between the Heads and Point Richards – 3 hours
    – Time between Point Richards and berth – 2 hours
    Point Richards is the start of the navigation channel to Geelong which is marked by floating buoys

See: Vic Ports – Cruise Ship Schedule


22. HMS Royal Sovereign – quite a tale

MMHN thanks RUSV for sharing this maritime tale involving a British vessel, transferred to the Russian navy, and then reluctantly returned to be scrapped. This is an extract from the journal of Midshipman J. Cody kept while he served in HMAS Canberra, HMS Royal Sovereign (twice) and HMS Anthony from 1932 to 1933.

The journal was an essential part of a midshipman’s training – it was both a diary and an exercise in charting and illustration and Cody, perhaps somewhat tardily, kept it up as required. Ships’ captains review the journals and commented on their contents, often critically.

“HMS Royal Sovereign was a battleship constructed during the WW1 but completed in 1916 too late to see action in the Battle of Jutland. She was armed with four turrets of twin 15-inch guns. She continued in service in the Second World War but was a slow (23 knots) ship, limiting her usefulness. She was transferred to the Soviet Navy in 1944 and renamed as the Arkhangelsk. The Soviets reluctantly returned her to Britain in 1949 when she was scrapped. Her elevation mechanisms from her main gun turrets were later reused in the 250-foot radio telescope at Jodrell Bank, Cheshire built in 1955–1957. Quite a career, Due to her poor condition she spent September 1942 till September 1943 in refit in the United States, after her refit she spent just one month in the Indian Ocean and then returned home. She went into reserve, but was loaned to the USSR (becoming the Archangels). She sailed for Murmansk on Convoy duty on the 17th August 1944 and returned to Rosyth in 1949 and scrapped at Inverkeithing.”

Consultation with vessel operators and unions has commenced seeking views on the fleet, workforce, skills, business impact of requisitioning, and later this year legislative reviews of the Shipping Registration Act 1981 the Coastal Trading (Revitalising Australian Shipping) Act 2012 will begin.

Image: HMS Royal Sovereign by the Royal Navy Photographer.


23. The Reuniting Family – Maritime Heritage Sculpture

Such a strange location in a laneway off 525 Collins St CBD at the entrance to an office. Surely the Station Pier is the rightful place for this evocative sculpture commissioned by the Grollo Family commemorating not only Italian migration to Australia but also migrants from elsewhere. Too few CBD pedestrians hurrying by, pause to look. The sculptor, Michael Meszaros, captured the moment so well – the sense of longing and anticipation.

Image: Sculpture photo by Jackie Watts.


24. MMHN First Book – River to Bay

MMHN is delighted to announce that, the very first book specifically to acquaint children with Victoria’s maritime heritage entitled “ River to Bay” has been short-listed as ‘notable’ by the Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA) Annual Eve Pownall Award for Information Books. Although this non-fiction award category, first presented in 1988, was financed by Eve Pownall‘s family, since 1993 it has been funded by by the CBCA for “outstanding books which have the prime intention of documenting factual material with consideration given to imaginative presentation, interpretation and variation of style”. Credit where it is due – MMHN commissioned the book, but congratulations must go to the author Carole Wilkinson, illustrator Pru Pittock, Maryann Ballantyne of Wild Dog Books – and last but not least of course, our funding bodies – the English Speaking Union and The Geoffrey Evans Trust. The ultimate winner will be announced in 3-4 weeks.

See: Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA).

If you wish to order a copy please email


Until next time,


Dr Jackie Watts OAM
Melbourne Maritime Heritage Network