Another choc-a-block MMHN Update for you:

MMHN enjoys celebrating nautical terms and it seems plenty are still in common usage! Who would have thought, the term ‘chock-a-block’ is a naval expression meaning ‘full’? It comes from the days of sail when blocks and tackle were in common use in a ship’s rigging. When the lower block of a tackle was run close to the upper block, so that the blocks were together and could be hoisted no higher, then they were said to be ‘chock-a-block’. The term ‘Slush fund’ was also originally a nautical term. The slush was the fat or grease skimmed from the top of the cauldron when boiling salted meat. Ships’ officers would sell the fat to tallow makers, with the resulting proceeds kept as a ‘slush fund’ for making small purchases for the ships’ company. So now — Avast (meaning ‘stop what you are doing’) and note in your diaries the following MMHN invitations!



1. Presentation: Australian National Maritime Museum (ANMM) comes to Melbourne! A rare opportunity!
2. Presentation: It’s Cold and Old and Rarer than Gold
3. Presentation: In Search of the Last Continent – Melbourne and early Antarctic exploration
4. News of No.5 Goods Shed and a request
5. The SS South Steyne: what is it about steam vessels?
6. Fishing Boat Tacoma – Port Fairy
7. Rare Maritime Archive Collections – University of Melbourne
8. Maritime Union Archives
9. Submarine at Station Pier
10. Duke of Gloucester’s Cup
11. RAN Investment
12. Ship Histories – Sea Power Centre
13. Sea Power Conference 2024
14. Maritime Olympic role
15. Sad Wyuna News
16. Southern Wooden Boat Sailing (SWBS)
17. IDWAL unveils Social Impact Report
18. Seafaring inspection – Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA)
19. St Kilda Ferry
20. Go Boats
21. Farstad Shipping – OSSA/Stella Maris
22. Recreational boat speed -Wave Wash at Williamstown
23. Docklands Precinct – Maritime Heritage really matters
24. Robur Tea Warehouse – the threat continues
25. Dancing on Convict Ships
26. MMHN Advocacy


You are invited..

1. Presentation: Australian National Maritime Museum (ANMM) comes to Melbourne! A rare opportunity!

On this vast island continent, especially in Victoria it seems, our maritime heritage is rich but widely dispersed. This prompted MMHN to invite Daryl Karp, Director and CEO of ANMM to meet Victorian maritime heritage stakeholders and enthusiasts at the RHSV. National Museums have to be located somewhere. Celebrating the richness of maritime heritage from Sydney is no easy matter. Ms Karp has worked in the broadcast and cultural industries for over 20 years – and may have some thoughts to share on this problematic matter.

DATE: 2nd July, 2024  TIME: 5pm
VENUE: RHSV, 239A Beckett Street, Melbourne


2. Presentation: It’s Cold and Old and Rarer than Gold

Tony Shields of the Ephemera Society of Australia will present on collectables from the Heroic Era of Antarctic Exploration. Take the Elizabeth St tram.

DATE: 23rd July, 2024   TIME: 11am
VENUE: RHSV, 239A Beckett Street, Melbourne


3. Presentation: In Search of the Last Continent – Melbourne and early Antarctic exploration

Andrew McConville will present on the joint Victoria Royal Society and Geographical Society forming the Australian Antarctic Exploration Committee in 1886.

DATE: 23rd July, 2024   TIME: 12:30pm
VENUE: RHSV, 239A Beckett Street, Melbourne

For the complete Rare Book Week Program, visit:


4. News of No.5 Goods Shed and a request

As you drive out the CBD past the Mission to Seafarers on Wurrundjeri Way, many of you will have noticed the demolition and re-erection of famous No.5 Goods Shed. MMHN commends Riverlee Developers for this project on North Wharf. Ten years in the planning, involving the preservation and appropriate re-purposing of this No. 5 Good Shed adjacent to the last electric crane and the soon to be established Seafarers Rest Park. Riverlee reports:

80 years on from its original, the heritage-listed Goods Shed 5 on Melbourne’s Yarra River is being re-born. Built in 1894 by W M Dalton and J C Johnson & Son in response to the sudden influx of cargo resulting from Melbourne’s Gold Rush boom, the original Goods Shed remained in use until 1939, when the growth in maritime trade prompted the Port of Melbourne Authority to commission G. A. Winwood to demolish the old shed and to construct the now heritage-listed Goods Shed No. 5. After almost a century as the most used wharf on Melbourne’s Yarra River waterfront, Goods Shed 5 fell into disuse in 1975, when the newly completed Charles Grimes Bridge left insufficient clearance for cargo ships to pass underneath for passage upstream.


So – now the Request! MMHN needs information from you! We are seeking first-hand (or even background family) knowledge of this emblematic Goods Shed. We know it served many purposes besides maritime trade. 

Does anyone have any ‘stories’ to share with us?

Images: Riverlee and Ross Brewer: See the heritage No.5 Good Shed and the last electric crane on North Wharf


5. The SS South Steyne: what is it about steam vessels?

Why is it that these marvellous steam vessels, much loved by maritime heritage stakeholders everywhere, struggle to gain the attention they richly deserve. MMHN has reported regularly on the work of volunteers restoring ST Wattle, maintaining a tenuous berth on North Wharf, valiantly withstanding pressure from planned real estate developments threatening to dislodge heritage vessels in due course. The ABC (April 10th) reports similar difficulties for NSW’s only heritage-listed vessel SS South Steyne celebrating 86 years at sea, but the prized steam ferry has also been left without a permanent home, going on eight years. The SS South Steyne was launched from Leith, Scotland on April 1, 1938, and arrived in Sydney after a rigorous 64-day maiden voyage. MMHN finds it simply inconceivable that relevant authorities in Victoria will fail to grant the beloved Wattle a permanent home in Victoria Harbour. Stay tuned.

See: ABC News SS South Steyne Anniversary

Image: The SS South Steyne made its maiden voyage 86 years ago. (ABC News)


6. Fishing Boat Tacoma – Port Fairy

A wonderful maritime heritage story to share with you. The ABC Landline (28/4) journalist Jodie Hamilton writes:

“When the grand old wooden fishing boat Tacoma returned home to Port Fairy, its skipper Ross Haldane was transported back 72 years. The 76-year-old grandfather was one of the seven children onboard when the boat left in the early 1950s destined for South Australia to bolster the state’s growing fishing industry. ‘I remember the boat going into its first big waves — we quickly ran down into the galley and watched the waves from there,’ Ross said.”

“Ross and one of the original crew members, 90-year-old Jack Bellamy, made the return trip this year aboard the Tacoma from Port Lincoln to Port Fairy, where it arrived on March 25. To welcome the 25.6-metre boat home, the mouth of the Moyne River was dredged, and 14 tonnes of ballast was trimmed to lighten the vessel, reducing its draught to make the journey upstream. Tacoma Preservation Society president Ross Haldane said the moment was not just significant for his family, but the town. His father Bill, and uncles Alan and Hughie, built the boat from 1944 when the first delivery of logs from the Otway Ranges arrived.”

“The Tacoma helped pioneer the Australian bluefin tuna industry in the 1950s and the Spencer Gulf prawn fishery out of Port Lincoln, South Australia.”

“The three Haldane brothers had built smaller vessels before attempting to build the Tacoma with the aim of accessing deeper water to catch tuna.”

“Portland fishing historian Garry Kerr said the Tacoma was among Australia’s top 20 heritage vessels. ‘She’s been beautifully maintained and she’s quite unique in that regard in as much as most vessels have hard times before anyone realises, they should have been kept,’ he said.”

The Tacoma helped pioneer the Australian bluefin tuna industry in the 1950s and the Spencer Gulf prawn fishery out of Port Lincoln, South Australia. This was an ambitious 7-year project for the Haldane Family. Funds were tight but the SA Government stepped up to assist. Had the Victoria Govt done so instead of the SA Govt. there would have been quite a different fishing industry story to tell. “Port Lincoln is the seafood capital of Australia, and we catch something like 70,000 tonnes, which is about 20 per cent of all fish in Australia,” Ross said. When the Tacoma was retired from the commercial fishing fleet 9 years ago, the Haldane family gave it to the Tacoma Preservation Society. Before returning to Port Lincoln after visiting Port Fairy last month, more than 1000 lucky maritime enthusiasts visited the vessel. Each season, the Tacoma still takes tourists tuna fishing from Port Lincoln, which is more than 700 kilometres or 400 nautical miles from its original home. MMHN recommends that you catch the entire story.

See: ABC News – Pioneering fishing boat Tacoma

Images: Tacoma Preservation Society: The Tacoma was built in the Haldane’s yard at Port Fairy over seven years from 1944 built over 7 years using logs felled in the Otways.


7. Rare Maritime Archive Collections – University of Melbourne

MMHN is grateful to Ms Susan Millard, Curator of the Rare Books Collection at the Baillieu Library, University of Melbourne, for alerting us to two large shipping collections in MU holdings:

Alan Villiers Collection

Originally the working library of the novelist and writer Alan Villiers (1903-1982), this collection of approximately 300 volumes consists mostly of books about ships, sailing and the sea. It was presented to the University by the Potter Foundation in 1982. The mixed collection includes significant and rare 20th century materials. Villiers was a distinguished sailor, author and photographer. His work vividly records the period of early 20th century maritime history when merchant sailing vessels or ‘tall ships’ were in rapid decline. He was appointed a Trustee of the National Maritime Museum in 1948 and co-founded the Museum’s collection of historic.

John Houghton Collection

Around 700 items on marine and maritime history. Naval material, development of naval architecture. International and some foreign language. Nineteenth century material. Ship construction and technology. Egyptian navy in the nineteenth century.



8. Maritime Union Archives

The University of Melbourne Archives holds a few different collections of records from unions and branches that later amalgamated into the Maritime Union. A great resource for keeping track of all of these is the Australian Trade Union Archives website, which maps the past entities related to a particular union.

Maritime Union of Australia is here.


9. Submarine at Station Pier

Wonderful indeed to see NRAN presence in Port Phillip Bay – and submarines in particular! MMHN Board member Commodore Greg York advises that the reason for the visit of the HMAS Rankin is R&R, and to support the ADF Career recruitment.

HMAS Rankin is the sixth and final of the Collins class, RAN submarine was named for Lieutenant Commander Robert William Rankin, the boat was laid down in 1995, and commissioned into the RAN in March 2003. The vessel was the subject of a documentary series. She was the first submarine since 1987 to be awarded the Gloucester Cup.


10. Duke of Gloucester’s Cup

Gloucester Cup is the common name for three awards of the Australian Defence Force, officially called the Duke of Gloucester’s Cup. The actual awards are presented to the most proficient ship of the RAN vessel, an infantry battalion, and an RAAF squadron. The awards were created in 1946, while he was serving as the Governor-General of Australia, and were first presented in 1947. Initially assessed on the gunnery accuracy, quickly the criteria was changed to “overall proficiency”, based on each ship’s level of operational efficiency during a calendar year; husbandry and seamanship; supply and administration; officer and sailor training; divisional systems, morale and discipline; and equipment reliability, maintenance and resourcefulness.


Image: Janet Bolitho, writer of Port Places and MMHN member


11. RAN Investment

Daniel Darling, Military & Defence Market Forecasts International, says that Australia aims to double the size of its naval fleet with its largest shipbuilding investment since World War 2. However, he has believes that questions remain over its “financial commitment, manpower, schedule, and ability to avoid acquisition missteps.”

“Further, the IIP makes clear the domain of highest priority to the Australian government: maritime capabilities are slated to receive the highest share of investment through 2034. Its 38 percent share is more than twice the 16 percent planned for the land domain, the next highest.”

MMHN thanks RUSI for this interesting article.

See more: Defense Australia aims to double its naval fleet



12. Ship Histories – Sea Power Centre

What a marvellous historical resource! Check these comprehensive lists for yourselves!


13. Sea Power Conference 2024

MMHN recommends an interesting opinion column (The Age 20/5). George Brandis now ANU Professor, former high commissioner to the UK, Liberal Senator and federal Attorney-General shares his views on Australia’s engagement at the recent Sea Power Conference, an annual gathering of international Navy Chiefs, policy makers, industry leaders and scholars. Brandis reports “Britain was for centuries the largest naval power of the world has ever seen, still has the largest navy of any of the European democracies and the 2nd largest navy in NATO”; noting also that “China plans to have 400 major vessels surface and submarine by 2006”. Brandis observes with apparent dismay that “not one Australian voice weas heard”, perhaps reflecting our regional focus. Given Australia’s utter dependence on global maritime trade, he questions the decision to stay disengaged from the Red Sea naval arena of conflict.

See: The Age – I Attended the Sea Power Conference on behalf of Australia
Note: The Royal Australian Navy (RAN) hosted the Indo-Pacific Sea Power Conference 2023 – its theme being ‘Fleet 2035: Sea Power and the Future of Maritime Warfare’.
See: Navy – Indo-Pacific Sea Power Conference 2023

Image: RAN


14. Maritime Olympic role

Interesting juxtaposition (Reuters, May 8). Heritage sailing vessel and an immense cargo vessel arrive in France carrying important cargo.

“The Olympic flame reached Marseille, just outside the Old Port, amid tight security on Wednesday, 79 days before the Paris 2024 Games Opening Ceremony. More than 150,000 people are expected to attend the ceremony after a six-hour parade of the three-masted Belem, which left Greece on April 27 with the flame after it was lit in Ancient Olympia 11 days earlier.”

See: G Captain – Olympic flame arrives in Marseille

Image: CMA CGM Greenland container ship is seen with Paris 2024 and the Olympic rings on it as the “Belem”, a three-masted sailing ship that carries the Olympic Flame sails to the Old Port REUTERS/Manon Cruz


15. Sad Wyuna News

Recent very alarming headlines in the Launceston Examiner:

“Bell Bay Port in Tasmania’s north was forced to close on Tuesday morning after a large, unmanned vessel broke free from its mooring. The 63-metre MV Wyuna, formerly a training ship for the Australian Maritime College, drifted across the Tamar River on Tuesday before being towed back to port.”

“This isn’t the MV Wyuna’s first brush with trouble, with 2017 reports indicating Tasmanian authorities were prepared to seize the vessel seven years ago.”

The ship was built in 1953 by Ferguson Shipbuilders, Port Glasgow, Scotland for the Port Phillip Sea Pilots organisation as a pilot cutter. Sea Pilots transferred by the Wyuna’s workboat to the vessel requiring pilotage while it was stopped dead in the water, with shelter provided by the vessel itself. In the early 1970s the pilot service started using fast launches, and in 1979 the Wyuna was sold to the Australian Maritime College in Tasmania as a training vessel until 2004 when the vessel sold to Mineralogy Pty Ltd as an accommodation vessel. In September 2013 she was donated to the Western Port Oberon Association for the Victorian Maritime Centre currently at Crib Point. For a time, she was docked at Beauty Point, Tasmania, and after being refurbished for 18 months the plan was to move to the Docklands in Melbourne, Victoria. The plan failed and the vessel was docked at Inspection Head Wharf in Beauty Point. Later it was towed into Bell Bay at anchor from January 2016. Should funding become available the Western Port Oberon Association has plans for the vessel. In the meantime? Stay tuned.

See: Pulse Tasmania – Bell Bay Port Closed – Wyuna vessel breaks free

Image: MMV VMC website


16. Southern Wooden Boat Sailing (SWBS)

After the sobering news of the Wyuna, MMHN thanks the SWBS (3/5) for the following:

The glass half empty/half full conundrum, seems to be particularly applicable to the world of wooden boats. For every story of doom and gloom, of undiscovered terminal rot, of unsaleable masterpieces, there are antithetical tales of life changing moments and profound connections. Indeed there is something very beguiling about being around old wooden boats.”



17. IDWAL unveils Social Impact Report

MMHN thanks AMWS for alerting us to this “ground-breaking” IDWAL Social Impact Report (18/4/24). IDWAL are a prominent Cardiff-based group in ship inspection and data services. This report offers unprecedented insight into “the living and working conditions of seafarers worldwide drawing on data from over 13,000 vessel inspections”. The report introduces a Social Impact Score (SIS) framework, evaluating 10 key aspects of seafarer welfare. Significant gaps between industry commitments and actual conditions, particularly in connectivity and recreation are evident. The report highlights best practices and opportunities for improvement. “By providing actionable insights, enabling maritime stakeholders to make “socially responsible decisions, enhance ESG credentials, and improve conditions for seafarers, thus fostering long-term sustainability in the industry.”

Access the IDWAL Report here.


18. Seafaring inspection – Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA)

AMSA is to launch a concentrated inspection campaign (CIC) in collaboration with Tokyo and Indian Ocean MOUs to address seafarers’ employment conditions. Daily Cargo News (3/4/24) reports that issues related to seafarer conditions including employment agreements, wages, hours of work and rest, leave entitlements, repatriation, and crewing levels, remain prevalent problems despite Maritime Labor Convention (MLC) regulations. AMSA highlights the importance of respecting seafarers’ rights for safe and secure work environments. They cite cases of vessel detention due to wage disputes and inadequate provisions, emphasizing their commitment to enforcing MLC standards. Complaints AMSA plans to conduct the CIC from September to November 2024 to ensure shipping companies comply with MLC.


Image: AMSA website


19. St Kilda Ferry

MMHN recommends a little ferry service plying our waters between Port Melbourne, Williamstown and St Kilda Pier. Few are aware that it takes a mere 15 minutes to cross from Williamstown Pier (near the wonderful Castlemaine) to a sheltered arm of Station Pier, Port Melbourne. The St Kilda Ferry service operates primarily to showcase the penguins returning to the pier and the often spectacular sunsets. However, pre-COVID a trial running this Ferry as a daily commute to and from Williamstown drew considerable patronage. Commuters are fully aware of the multiple hidden ‘costs’ involved in using West Gate Bridge. MMHN strongly advocates that our ferries are a squandered ‘resource’ on the vast waterways around Melbourne. Ferries should rightly attract the same government subsidy as trams, buses, and trains. Ferries would obviously relieve pressure our congested roads.

See the MMHN Report: MMHN June-23-2021 Forum Report
See St Kilda ferries:

Image: Jackie Watts


20. Go Boats

As well as ferries, MMHN reminds you of another fun way to experience our waterways – Go Boats. These Danish-designed picnic boats, constructed, in part, of recycled materials, are powered by German state-of-the-art zero-emissions electric motors. Given the abundant “blue” spaces (i.e. our waterways), on-water is to be celebrated and should be included in City of Melbourne recreation planning.


Images: Go Boats


21. Farstad Shipping – OSSA/Stella Maris

Shipping afficionados will recall this once significant name in Australian waters once one of the six largest companies worldwide in the market for large and medium-sized supply vessels. With its corporate headquarters in Alesund, Norway, the company employed circa 2,200 employees, with around 2000 employed offshore. Farstad Shipping focused on large, advanced vessels in the anchor handling, supply and subsea segments. The company’s operations are mainly concentrated on the markets in North-West Europe, Brazil and Indian Pacific, with offices in Norway, Scotland, Australia, and Brazil. In June 2017, Farstad Shipping merged with Deep Sea Supply and Solstad Offshore to create Solstad Farstad. So, why has this name cropped up in Melbourne now? Acquired from an unknown source, OSSA have been custodians of significant quantities of Farstad Shipping crockery in need a good home. Today, OSSA donated these ‘historic holdings’ to Stella Maris Seamen’s Centre.



22. Recreational boat speed – Wave Wash at Williamstown

MMHN loves alliteration! But seriously – as recommended in the Williamstown Wave Wash and Surge Study (2022), and in community consultations in September 2023, Parks Victoria have decided to extend the 5-knot Zone within the Williamstown Maritime Precinct effective as of April 2024. This applies to waters SW of the Williamstown Commercial Shipping Channel. Hopefully this will reduce the wash created by vessels, clarify the demarcation zone and improve safety.

More on Water Speed: from the entrance to the Yarra River (Beacons 23 and 24) to the southern drip line of the West Gate Bridge, the limit is now 8 knots (previously 10 knots). These new limits now apply for vessels less than 35m in length on the Yarra River. From the southern drip line of the West Gate Bridge to the Bolte Bridge, the limit is now 6 knots (previously 5 knots). Precisely how such speed limits are policed is unclear to MMHN.

Visit Engage Victoria to read the Summary Report.

But – there is still more! MMHN finds it hard to fathom the plethora of agencies charged with governing water safety?

Water Transport Victoria (WTV) concerned with recreational boating safety, jet skis, kayaks, paddleboards (aka SUPS) and all sorts of ports.


Images: Parks Victoria new wharf signage


23. Docklands Precinct – Maritime Heritage really matters

Docklands Precinct is of such significance to the maritime heritage of Melbourne, it comes as no surprise that MMHN is alert to matters likely to have an adverse impact on heritage values – beyond the damage that already done as port operations gradually shifted downstream from Victoria Harbour. It is pleasing, too, that twice in April the City of Melbourne Council took a pro-active stand in defending Docklands Precinct against inappropriate development.

Docklands News reported (April 23) “Council ‘plays hard ball’” over Port of Melbourne land rezoning. This seemingly innocuous bureaucratic realignment of small portions of land in Docklands was in fact crucial – which is why it is pleasing that CoM Council decided to ‘except’ this land, from the proposed bureaucratic realignment. Located along the Moonee Ponds Creek, west of the Bolte Bridge, it is crucial to the future of the Docklands. The Port of Melbourne Strategy Development Strategy 2050 identifies this small plot as “open space”. Is it? Not really. The sub-text of the Council decision has two important elements; (a) the decision enabled the possibility of Moonee Ponds Trail to link and activate New Quay around Victoria Harbour; (b) most significantly, this plot of land is essential to the highly controversial Port of Melbourne plan for a future Webb Dock. Council voting for ‘exception’ effectively compromised the Port of Melbourne plan for the construction of rail freight link at water level across the Yarra River – considered by many as disastrous to the future of Victoria Harbour and the Birrarung/Yarra.

See: Docklands News – Council plays ‘hardball’
Also, see: Docklands News – Don’t cut us off

The Age reported on another City of Melbourne Council decision this month, taking a stance against inappropriate development in Docklands Precinct, and rejecting an amendment put up by the AFL and Development Victoria (described as “one of the most embarrassing applications the City of Melbourne has seen”) to redevelop part of the Marvel Stadium precinct. DV owns the site on which three 90 metre high-rise towers were proposed along Harbour Esplanade. Known forever more as the DV “Great Wall of Docklands” proposal. The final decision will be made by Victorian Planning Minister, Sonya Kilkenny, but let’s hope.

And this brings us, finally, to North Wharf which divides the Yarra from Victoria Harbour, now historically (and incorrectly) referred to by the developer, Lendlease, as Collins Wharf. Why? Perhaps a Collins St address is deemed more appealing in the real estate marketplace of the future. Lendlease has plans dating back to 2017 to construct apartment high-rise towers on 6 sites along North Wharf. Lendlease states, “each tower on the wharf that separates Docklands’ Victoria Harbour from the Yarra River gradually decreases in height to the end of the wharf. The end of the wharf is earmarked for a [small] public green space. Collins Wharf is a premium waterfront residential precinct that extends Melbourne’s famed Collins Street further westwards to engage with the water, connecting its maritime past with the contemporary vibrancy of the city”. Regrettably this “[small] public green space” has been labelled – again inappropriately by the City of Melbourne – ‘Eco Park’, when MMHN argues that it should be named in honour of engineers John Coode and Joseph Brady, who designed Victoria Dock (aka Victoria Harbour). Returning to Lendlease’s work on North Wharf, MMHN advocates that the Community Benefit contribution, required of all developers, should, in this instance, be directed towards the restoration and appropriate repurposing of immensely significant maritime heritage infrastructure the Shipping Control Tower.

See: The Urban Developer – Lendlease Docklands

Images: Plan and view of Collins Wharf from the Bolte Bridge at Docklands where Lendlease plans to build residential towers on six sites.


24. Robur Tea Warehouse – the threat continues

MMHN bemoans the relentless struggle to appropriately repurpose significant heritage-listed maritime infrastructure, such as the Robur Tea Warehouse. Some months ago, MMHN reported that developers were set to appeal a refused permit for 7 integrated towers on 3 sides of the Robur Tea building. This appeal has now been withdrawn. BUT – groan – a new amended development application has now been submitted to Heritage Victoria which seeks the construction of 7 integrated towers and buildings ranging in height from 30 levels to 3 levels. Submissions on the new permit application close 21/5.

Image: Robur Tea House. Source: National Trust of Australia (Victoria)


25. Dancing on Convict Ships

Concluding on a light-hearted note; cultural historian, Dr Heather Blasdale Clarke, studies the rich cultural heritage of European dance in Australia. Her research includes the culture of early Australian convicts. Heather writes:

“In 1814, after the arrival of the convict ships Surry, General Hewitt and Three Bees with both the crews and the convicts in a deplorable state, Governor Macquarie commissioned the surgeon Dr William Redfern to investigate. Redfern’s report recommended improvements to the diet, accommodation, hygiene, clothing, and activity for convicts. He strongly advocated the importance of convicts being allowed on deck for daily exercise and fresh air. His report was acted upon immediately when it reached the Commissioners of the Transport Board in London, and the service was transformed: the outcome for convicts on the long voyage was vastly improved. His report was a major contribution to public health and the regime which became the standard for convict and passenger ships to the colony.”

Read more about William Redfern
See: Dancing on convict ships


26. MMHN Advocacy

A major focus of MMHN is, of course, advocacy. For your information, MMHN Submissions appear on the MMHN Website.


Recent matters include:

  • City of Melbourne: Submission by MMHN on City of Melbourne Tourism Plan – Experience Melbourne 2028. Notable in omitting reference to maritime heritage or making any reference to Melbourne’s heritage assets at all.
  • City of Melbourne: Submission by MMHN on City of Melbourne Community Recreation Facilities Provision Framework. Notable for omitting any reference to BLUE recreation on our waterways or water-based activities at all.
  • MMHN has been asked by SDG consultant, commissioned by Freight Victoria, to comment on maritime skills likely to be needed in the maritime industry.
  • MMHN attended a lunch meeting (17/5) with Matthew Jackson, CEO of Parks Victoria, and also convened Yarra Traders (17/5).

Until next time,


Dr Jackie Watts OAM
Melbourne Maritime Heritage Network