A maritime museum and experience hub in Docklands could be a step closer, with City of Melbourne Councillors considering whether to proceed with a feasibility and business case study on developing a museum at the Mission to Seafarers in Docklands.
Lord Mayor Sally Capp said the Victorian Government had approached the council to commence discussions about potentially investing in and assuming management of the site at North Wharf Docklands.
“Melbourne has a long history as a maritime trading destination and is home to Australia’s busiest port. We are committed to saluting our maritime past and sharing stories about the evolution of the industry,” the Lord Mayor said.
“It’s a missed opportunity if we don’t make the most of Docklands’ connections to the water and its significance for traditional owners and the development of a modern city.
“Councillors will be voting on whether to proceed with a feasibility and business case study which would need to carefully assess whether this is the appropriate arrangement for a commercial maritime heritage precinct.
“It would require community engagement with key stakeholders such as the Docklands community, waterways users and maritime precinct experts. We would need to assess funding as well as potential revenue from the museum and whether it would be suitable as a mixed commercial and community use space.
“As councillors, we need to consider whether the proposed project would adequately convey Melbourne’s significant waterways history and remain financially sustainable over the long term.”
Chair of the Knowledge City portfolio councillor Dr Jackie Watts said a Docklands maritime museum would be a cultural and tourism asset to the city.
“Melbourne’s waterways and our maritime heritage are currently poorly understood as both cultural and economic assets,” Cr Watts said.
“It’s important that we preserve our maritime history and acknowledge the role of trade by sea in driving Melbourne’s economic prosperity in the past and present day.
“Mission to Seafarers Victoria has operated at the prominent North Wharf premises since 1917. It is a complex of heritage listed buildings including the St Peter the Mariner Chapel, the Flying Angel Club and the distinctive Norla Dome, located at the western end of Flinders Street.
“The precinct houses an archival collection of over 10,000 items of maritime and social history that is considered to be of state and national significance.
“If endorsed, I look forward to a feasibility and business case study being progressed so that council fully understands the proposed sustainable funding models.”
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