Protection for Fishermans Bend’s industrial history

A Vegemite Factory, an iconic industrial shed on the Yarra River, a significant Aircraft Factory and the West Gate Bridge have been put forward for protection following a review of heritage in Fishermans Bend.

Deputy Lord Mayor Nicholas Reece said City of Melbourne Councillors will consider a recommendation to nominate five sites for protection as the result of a review by an independent heritage expert.

“Fishermans Bend has been home to some of our most iconic industries and brands including Vegemite and General Motors Holden,” the Deputy Lord Mayor said.

“By 2050, Fishermans Bend is expected to provide employment for up to 80,000 people.

“We want to create new jobs and communities in this urban renewal area while protecting the places and histories that make it unique.”

The Deputy Lord Mayor said the Westgate Bridge has been nominated as a site of state significance for its historic and social significance as well as the aesthetic and technical significance of the bridge’s design and construction.

“The Westgate Bridge was the site of an industrial accident that killed 35 workers more than 50 years ago and led to lasting workplace reforms. The bridge also opened up our city to the west,” the Deputy Lord Mayor said.

The former Government Aircraft Factory (now owned by Boeing Aerostructures Australia) at 226 Lorimer Street in Port Melbourne has also been nominated as being of state significance for the role it played as one of only two aircraft assembly plants in Australia during World War Two. The other site in Mascot is already on the NSW state register. 

With 40 per cent of the Boeing site proposed for heritage listing it will not impact on any of the current operations of Boeing nor their ability to consider expansion of their operations on this site in the future. 

Three sites of local heritage significance will also be nominated for protection:

  • Shed 21 (206 Lorimer Street, Docklands, near Bolte Bridge)
  • Electricity Substation (224-236 Salmon Street, Port Melbourne)
  • Former Kraft Vegemite Factory (1 Vegemite Way, Port Melbourne).

Heritage portfolio lead Councillor Rohan Leppert said the City of Melbourne has undertaken a series of independent expert heritage reviews across the municipality to identify and protect our heritage.

“This is the most comprehensive study of industrial heritage we’ve ever undertaken. This is the industrial heartland of our city, a proud heritage that we don’t want to lose as Fishermans Bend undergoes renewal,” Cr Leppert said.

“We’re stepping up protection for significant sites to provide certainty and clarity to landowners, established businesses and the community.”

Cr Leppert said the nomination of the former Kraft Vegemite factory is an example of how we can protect the history of Fishermans Bend while the area grows and changes.

“In 1943 hundreds of women were recruited to work at a new vegetable dehydration factory in Port Melbourne as part of the war effort. In 1952 the site was expanded to include a ‘yeast factory’ that went on to become a household name and Vegemite is still being made at the factory today,” Cr Leppert said.

“This site is emblematic of post-war food manufacturing plants that were constructed across Melbourne. It’s important to retain the area’s history and we will continue to do whatever we can to ensure Fishermans Bend retains its industrial spirit.”

City of Melbourne Councillors will consider seeking to implement the recommendations of the Review for locally significant places through Planning Scheme Amendments C393 (interim heritage controls) and C394 (permanent controls).

If the recommendations are endorsed by Councillors, management will submit nominations for the two state significant places to the Victorian Heritage Register.

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