What is significant?
Victoria Dock is a 37.6 hectare (96 acre) water basin constructed between 1887 and 1892 to accommodate large ships of the time. Designed by the British engineer, Sir John Coode and modified by Melbourne Harbor Trust Engineer Joseph Brady, the dock was constructed by excavation works to the West Melbourne wetlands. The dock is between 8.5 and 9.5m deep and is bordered on four sides by linear wharfage. Entrance to the wharf is gained at the western end and the mouth to the dock is 61 metres wide. The wharves once provided 21 berths (now substantially reduced) and it has a central pier constructed in 1919 and extending from the middle of the north-eastern section. The wharves were originally constructed using timber pilings, although some sections now also employ concrete. While all the cranes have now been removed from the site, the crane rails remain on the wharf apron at berths 19-21. At the time of its opening in 1892, Victoria Dock was the second largest single dock in the world and by 1950 it was handling over two millions tons of cargo annually; in the mid 1980s this figure had increased to 20 million revenue tons annually. The dock features several large cargo sheds, the earliest of which date from 1913.
Victoria Dock is of historical, scientific (technical) and architectural significance to the State of Victoria.
Victoria Dock is of outstanding historical and scientific (technical) importance as the oldest, large, single dock remaining in the world. Victoria Dock is scientifically (technically) significant as the first artificial basin constructed in Victoria, breaking with the British tradition of small dock design and, through its scale, allowing the largest vessels then in service to be handled close to Melbourne. The simple linear wharfage at Victoria Dock was revolutionary, pre-empting similar British designs by at least two decades.
Victoria Dock is historically significant for its associations with renowned British engineer Sir John Coode whose original concept involved construction of three small docks with wharfs supported by concrete and masonry pilings. The dock is also historically important for its associations with Joseph Brady, resident engineer with the Melbourne Harbor Trust, who successfully recommended alterations to Coode's original design converting it into one
single large dock which used Australian timbers for pilings rather than concrete and masonry. The dock is historically important as a testament to the skills of Coode and the vision of Brady.
Victoria Dock is of architectural and historical significance for its intact cargo sheds at Berth 8 (1913), the oldest and most intact shed in the Port of Melbourne and the prototype for the construction of later cargo sheds at Victoria Dock, and at Berth 15 (1913) which survives as a substantially intact open and closed shed. Both sheds at Berths 8 and 15 are historically and scientifically (technically) important for their ability to demonstrate cargo handling practices once common to the whole of the Melbourne wharves. The sheds at berths 9 and 14 are architecturally, historically and scientifically (technically) significant as the first sheds at Victoria Dock to be re-designed to accommodate mechanical handling equipment (1942). Despite the loss of the cargo cranes, Berths 19-21 with their railway tracks, sheds and Telford bluestone pitching are historically and scientifically (technically) significant for their ability to demonstrate typical ship to shore cargo handling practices of the 20th century.
Victoria Dock is historically significant for its associations with the Melbourne Harbor Trust which had a vital role in Victoria's trade and transport history. The construction of the dock symbolised the success of the Harbor Trust over other bodies in the State with vested interests in ports. The dock is historically significant as the main port facility through which general cargo was shipped and handled for Victoria from 1924 to 1970.
General Exemptions:General exemptions apply to all places and objects included in the Victorian Heritage Register (VHR). General exemptions have been designed to allow everyday activities, maintenance and changes to your property, which don’t harm its cultural heritage significance, to proceed without the need to obtain approvals under the Heritage Act 2017.Places of worship: In some circumstances, you can alter a place of worship to accommodate religious practices without a permit, but you must notify the Executive Director of Heritage Victoria before you start the works or activities at least 20 business days before the works or activities are to commence.Subdivision/consolidation: Permit exemptions exist for some subdivisions and consolidations. If the subdivision or consolidation is in accordance with a planning permit granted under Part 4 of the Planning and Environment Act 1987 and the application for the planning permit was referred to the Executive Director of Heritage Victoria as a determining referral authority, a permit is not required.Specific exemptions may also apply to your registered place or object. If applicable, these are listed below. Specific exemptions are tailored to the conservation and management needs of an individual registered place or object and set out works and activities that are exempt from the requirements of a permit. Specific exemptions prevail if they conflict with general exemptions. Find out more about heritage permit exemptions here.Specific Exemptions:
No permits are required for works which are in accordance with a Development Plan approved by the Minister for Planning and Local Government and included in the signed Development Agreement, provided that:
* no registered building or feature is demolished, altered or removed before the site on which it stands is actually required for development in accordance with the approved Development Plan;
* such demolitions, alterations or removals have the prior approval of the Docklands Authority.
In accordance with s92(3) of the Heritage Act 2017, permit exemption issued by the Executive Director, Heritage Victoria on 4 January 2023 (P37329):
Installation of temporary events and structures (for events with a permit from the City of Melbourne) for up to 14 calendar days inclusive of bump in and bump out.
Installation of temporary events, decorations and structures associated with the City of Melbourne’s municipal Christmas celebrations for up to 60 calendar days (within one calendar year) inclusive of bump in and bump out, with no further structures erected in the same location for a period of 7 calendar days for hard stand surfaces, or 14 days for turf surfaces.
The following temporary event infrastructure can be installed for all events:
The installation of temporary structures, such as marquees, tents, market stalls, display cases and furniture, gazebos, and shipping containers.
The installation of temporary freestanding services associated with events, including generators and associated service cabling.
The installation of temporary freestanding audio-visual and broadcasting equipment, including temporary staging, flooring, rigging, screens, speakers, lighting and associated infrastructure.
The erection of temporary freestanding scaffolding towers, projectors and infrastructure associated with lightshows and projections onto, or into airspace within the extent of registration of registered places and objects.
The installation of temporary freestanding artworks.
The installation of freestanding temporary recreation and entertainment facilities, equipment and structures, such as jumping castles, amusement rides, and sporting equipment.
The installation of temporary decorations, such as decorative lights, bunting, tinsel, cut floral arrangements, freestanding garden beds and the like.
The installation of equipment and infrastructure associated with firework, laser and drone displays.
The parking, installation and operation of temporary micro-tenancies, such as food trucks and coffee carts.
The installation of temporary furniture, including tables, desks, chairs, umbrellas and the like.
Installation of temporary portable toilets.
Installation of temporary operational, promotional, directional and wayfinding signage.
Installation of temporary surveillance systems.
The erection of freestanding fencing structures associated with temporary events.
The following exemption conditions apply to all events:
Works and activities must be entirely reversible, and not involve damage to, or removal or disturbance of, early or original fabric, including landscape features such as historical planting schemes, paths and ground-surface masonry, built structures (including interiors and exterior elements), or historical archaeological remains.
Temporary structures and associated elements exempted must be freestanding and not involve new penetrations into or affixings to early or original fabric.
There must be no subfloor/subsurface/excavation works or activities.
Cabling and associated service conduits must not be affixed to early or original fabric.
Outdoor temporary structures must not be positioned within a structural root zone, or within two metres of garden beds.
Works or activities within tree protection zones must be in accordance with a Tree Protection Management Plan prepared by a qualified arborist.
Outdoor temporary structures are exempt within tree protection zones only if works and activities are undertaken in accordance with a Tree Protection Management Plan prepared by a qualified arborist.
In tree protection zones the method of affixing temporary outdoor structures to the ground must be in accordance with advice provided by a Tree Protection Management Plan prepared by a qualified arborist.
Any works or activities involving the attachment of temporary decorations, artworks or lights to trees must be guided by a Tree Protection Management Plan prepared by a qualified arborist.
Plant and equipment access must use existing paths and access routes where possible. Existing paths and access routes must not be damaged, widened or extended.
Tree canopy and fragile surfaces such as turf, soft landscaping, timber flooring and groundsurface masonry (excluding concrete or asphalt), must be protected from temporary structures and associated installation activities (for example the use of sleepers, boards, track matting or other ground protection). Vehicles must not use access routes through floorboarded, decked or tiled locations.
All works and activities must comply with the internal and external engineering and loading requirements of the place.
Any area(s) impacted by works and activities must be fully remediated to its previous condition within 28 calendar days of removal of temporary structures.
This specific exemption prevails over the general exemptions for temporary events and structures.