JACKS MAGAZINE CANAL, LOADING DOCK AND WHARVES - History
Jacks Powder Magazine was built in 1875-76 and opened in 1878. By 1891, it was the largest and most important public magazine in the colony. Explosives from vessels in Hobsons Bay were transported upriver to Jack's Magazine, where they were unloaded onto barges at the entrance to the canal and/or proceeded 400 yards up the canal to offload at the canal loading dock. From here the explosives were offloaded onto a tramway that proceeded through a tunnel into the main explosives depot.
JACKS MAGAZINE CANAL, LOADING DOCK AND WHARVES - Interpretation of Site
Jill Barnard Review of Jack's magazine HI listing
The loading dock (B7) is described and included in the registration of H 1154 (Jack's Magazine). The canal is included in the extent of registration (all of the land marked L1) and is described as significant.
There is no evidence that wharves on the Saltwater River were included in the original design of Jack's Magazine. Several contracts were let for the construction of the powder magazine between 1876 and 1878, but none of them mentions the construction of a wharf.
The Argus, 13 January1875 described how the magazine was designed. Lighters would ferry gunpowder up the Saltwater River to the 300 foot long canal and along the canal to the loading dock. It was planned that a small crane would be located on the dock. Tramways were planned to ferry the gunpowder from the dock to the magazines (Argus, 13 January 1875, p.6).
It is possible that remnant piles and sheet piling close to the canal entrance on the Maribyrnong River (identified in MIAP Stage One) date from the establishment of the adjacent Colonial Ammunition Company's works in 1890. The company, which built an extensive factory complex (later acquired by the Commonwealth Government and becoming the Commonwealth Ammunition Factory) built a wharf (with crane) on sthe Saltwater River (Argus, 5 April 1890, p.6).
JACKS MAGAZINE CANAL, LOADING DOCK AND WHARVES - Heritage Inventory Description
Wharf piles are evident on either side of the canal entrance in the river. The northern wharf has evidence of two rows of paired timber piles that run 21 m from the former canal exit to the north, with sheet piling along the inside edge of the inner pile row along the bank. The piles are spaced 3 - 4m apart on the inner row, with the outer piles 3 m offshore. The southern wharf remains consists a 1 m section of vertical timber sheet piling that runs perpendicular to the bank, a single pile and a section of collapsed decking timber.
Wharf piles, canal banks, loading dock and archaeological deposits.