Black and white negative showing the Maribyrnong River, Footscray, Victoria, circa December 1927.
This image shows wharves, a bridge, a crane, boats, jetties, various industrial buildings and tall chimneys, along the Maribyrnong River in Footscray. At front right are the boat sheds belonging to Alfred Sims. Behind this, the building with the initials 'F.S.C.' is the Footscray Swimming Club rooms which operated 1909 to 1930. Their diving tower is visible to the left of the club rooms. The multi-story buildings with the tall chimneys in the far background near the river on the right are the Barnett Glass Rubber Works, which operated at this site until 1939.
Also in the background, running across the river is a new bridge under construction by Victorian Railways, the Bunbury Street Rail Bridge. Over 1700 men were employed building this bridge. The bridge is connected to a tunnel which runs under Bunbury Street, starting from close to Footscray Railway Station and opening directly onto the bridge. The bridge and tunnel were designed to carry goods on a rail line separate from the passenger lines which passed through Footscray Railway Station. The Bunbury Street line ran direct from the West Footscray railyards to West Melbourne. In January 1928, shortly after this photograph was taken, the truss sections were erected on the bridge. It was originally thought that this bridge in the image was the Hopetoun Bridge, but further research suggests that this image was instead taken from the Hopetoun Bridge, of the Bunbury Street Rail Bridge. The Hopetoun Bridge, named after Australia's first Governor-General, Lord Hopetoun, was built in 1903, and later replaced in 1969.
Behind the Bunbury Street Bridge is the Napier Street Swing Bridge, built in 1893, which floated in the middle of the river and could swing around parallet to the river banks to allow ships through. This was replaced by Shepherd Bridge in 1958.
The Maribyrnong River was previously known as the Saltwater River from the mid 19th century until 1913, in contrast to the Yarra River, which was once known as the Freshwater River.
Description of Content
Photograph showing the Maribyrnong river with boatsheds, wharves and boats in the right foreground, a bridge at middle background, a crane and various industrial buildings in the far background. Sims' Boatsheds, the Hopetoun Bridge and Bunbury Street Rail Bridge are all depicted in the photograph.
Copied from B. L. Thorne, 22 Mar 1988
Place & Date Depicted
Maribyrnong River, Footscray, Greater Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, circa December 1927
The bridge in the background is the Bunbury Street Rail Bridge before the trusses were put on. The trusses were put on in January 1928.
Negative, 35 mm, Black & White
Type of item
Maribyrnong River Heritage Trail, Jill Barnard, Maribyrnong City Council, 2008, pages 11-16. [Link 1] accessed 28 June 2010. Photographs of this construction of the Bunbury Street Rail Bridge are in the State Library of Victoria [for example, [Link 2]] as well as in Museum Victoria's Charles H. Perrin Album Collection, eg MM 069700.