Statement of Significance
The Fisherman's Shed, which is now situated behind the Queenscliff Maritime Museum originally sat on Fisherman's Pier. Fisherman's Pier was constructed in 1856, but it is not known when the shed was constructed on the pier. Registered fishermen used to shelter in this shed and it was used as a clubhouse and later as a meeting place for the Fishermen's Union. Between 1895 and 1946 fisherman Henry Zanoni painted a mural featuring the ships and ferries that were coming into Queenscliff, on the interior walls of the shed. Fisherman's Pier was demolished around 1960 and the Fisherman's Shed was relocated twice, most recently to behind the Maritime Museum.
The shed is a single room weatherboard structure with a gable roof clad in corrugated galvanised iron roof. It has central double doors at the front of the building and three double hung windows. The interior has a coved timber lined ceiling and a bench seat along one wall. The ship and ferry paintings extend from mid way up all four walls of the shed to the ceiling.
How is it significant?
The Fisherman's Shed is of historical and architectural importance to the State of Victoria.
Why is it significant?
The Fisherman's Shed is of historical significance for its associations with the maritime history of Queenscliff. The shed and its interior paintings perpetuate the memory of the Bay Steamer trade and the demolished Fisherman's Pier. The interior paintings provide a valuable pictorial history of the shipping and ferry industry in Victoria over a period of fifty years. The shed is important for its use by local fishermen as a clubhouse and union building. It is important as a remnant of Fisherman's Pier which was demolished in the 1960s.
The Fisherman's Shed is of architectural importance as a rare surviving example of a timber structure associated with the maritime industry. Many port towns would have had fishermen's sheds or timber structures on piers, but most of these have not survived or are no longer intact. The interior paintings of ships and ferries are highly unusual.
FISHERMAN'S SHED - HistoryContextual History:
The township of Queenscliffe was established in 1863 and is situated on the eastern tip of the Bellarine Peninsula at Port Phillip heads.
Queenscliff was named in honour of Queen Victoria and was a strategic defence post and military garrison. In 1838 a sea pilots service was established by George Tobin to navigate ships through the sandbanks of Port Phillip to Melbourne. In 1842 the first lighthouse was built and in the 1850s steamers began to travel the waters between Queenscliff and Melbourne. During the 1880's Queenscliff became a popular and fashionable seaside resort. Tourists and socialites from Melbourne and western Victoria regularly spent their holidays at Queenscliff. Elegant hotels and fashionable clubs were built to cater for the elite. Steamships carried thousands of people in a single trip.
The foreshore, pier and eastern parks area of Queenscliff evolved with the changing needs and development of the town. During this time the entire foreshore has changed in shape and area as land has been alternatively lost or gained with tide movement and man made filling. Up to the 1880s the immediate foreshore area was occupied by the odd fisherman’s hut and the tide surveyors and customs boat crew quarters, situated on the site of the existing pilots Quarters. There were three piers, the health officers and the pilots pier to the south, the baths pier in the centre and the steamer pier at the end of Symonds Street to the north. Past this pier was the fisherman’s pier extending out from Wharf Street. Both the latter piers were later extended to form a breakwater to shelter the fishing fleet (Queenscliff Urban Conservation Study).
A.J.Skene completed his survey of the town and a post office was established in May 1853 and within three years the first jetty was constructed at the end of Wharf Street. Before this the first steamer excursion to Queenscliff was planned from Geelong at the end of 1854. In 1857 the planking of Wharf Street completed the initial jetty works and served to combat the wet approaches to the structure. A lifeboat was added soon afterwards and a lifeboat shed in 1860. The pier became known as the Fisherman’s Pier. In 1871, a formed roadway replaced the planked approach (Queenscliff Urban Conservation Study).
From the 1870s, a regular passenger bay steamer service commenced with the Golden Crown. The Lonsdale, Ozone, Hygeia and Weeroona were later well known steamers on the Bay. As the town prospered, the increasing use of steamers for pleasure and for carriage of goods created a need for a new pier extending to deeper water. A new pier 702 feet long, known as the steamer pier, was constructed in 1884-5 to the south of the first pier by John Knox of South Melbourne for the sum of 3696 pounds (Queenscliff Urban Conservation Study).
A series of extensions to both piers over the next few years culminated in the early twentieth century with the formation of a completely enclosed boat harbour. The year after the steamer pier was built, it was extended about 300 feet by the Queenscliff builder W.G.Priddle for a similar sum to the original cost and then, during 1886-7, G.C.Coote increased the pier’s length a further 200 feet and constructed a dog-leg 300 feet long. On this extension, Campbell and Grey constructed a new enlarged shelter shed, which still exists, and L. Mouat laid down tracks on the deck and repaired the earlier, now demolished shelter shed. In 1888-9, Mouat built a boat shed which housed the davit-hung lifeboat which had been transferred from the elbow of the fishermen’s pier. This was located on one of the now demolished landing stages on the south side of the pier (Queenscliff Urban Conservation Study).
Also in 1888-9, R.Ryan constructed an extension to the fishermen’s pier. This pier was further extended from its nineteenth century dog-leg form by S.Patience and L.Mouat between 1913 and 1915 when a second dog-leg was constructed. This extension aligned with the earlier dog-leg on the steamer pier, making two arms, between which an island pier was constructed, which provided additional shelter in bad weather to the fishing fleet. As a finishing touch, the angle of the steamer pier dog-leg was fitted in by Sly and Starling in 1922-3 (Queenscliff Urban Conservation Study).
Following the extension of the fishermen’s pier, a new boathouse was built between 1926 and 1929 by D. O’Dorward to house the newly-arrived lifeboat Queenscliffe. The boathouse included a slipway with roller, channel, keelway and cradle supplied by Herbert Brookes’ Austral Otis Engineering Co.; a petrol engine for the slipway was added by yet another firm, Ellinston and O’Neill. In about 1960, the fishermen’s pier was demolished and the lifeboat house and slip were relocated where Sly and Starling had filled in the angle of the steamer pier (Queenscliff Urban Conservation Study).
The steamer pier, built between 1884 and 1889 for a cost of about 14,000 pounds remains today as a symbol of the early bay steamers and the numerous distinguished patrons brought by them from Melbourne to Queenscliff and Point Lonsdale (Queenscliff Urban Conservation Study).
History of Place:
The Fisherman’s Shed, which is now situated behind the Queenscliff Maritime Museum originally, sat on Fisherman’s Pier. Fisherman’s Pier was constructed in 1856, but it is unknown when the shed was constructed on the pier. Registered Fishermen used to wait in this shed. Between 1895 and 1946 fisherman Henry Zanoni painted the ships and ferries that were coming into Queenscliff, on the interior walls of the shed. Fisherman’s Pier was demolished around 1960 and the Fisherman’s Shed was relocated to behind the Maritime Museum.
FISHERMAN'S SHED - Permit ExemptionsGeneral Conditions: 1. All exempted alterations are to be planned and carried out in a manner which prevents damage to the fabric of the registered place or object. General Conditions: 2. Should it become apparent during further inspection or the carrying out of works that original or previously hidden or inaccessible details of the place or object are revealed which relate to the significance of the place or object, then the exemption covering such works shall cease and the Executive Director shall be notified as soon as possible. Note: All archaeological places have the potential to contain significant sub-surface artefacts and other remains. In most cases it will be necessary to obtain approval from Heritage Victoria before the undertaking any works that have a significant sub-surface component. General Conditions: 3. If there is a conservation policy and plan approved by the Executive Director, all works shall be in accordance with it. Note: The existence of a Conservation Management Plan or a Heritage Action Plan endorsed by Heritage Victoria provides guidance for the management of the heritage values associated with the site. It may not be necessary to obtain a heritage permit for certain works specified in the management plan. General Conditions: 4. Nothing in this declaration prevents the Executive Director from amending or rescinding all or any of the permit exemptions. General Conditions: 5. Nothing in this declaration exempts owners or their agents from the responsibility to seek relevant planning or building permits from the responsible authorities where applicable. Regular Site Maintenance : The following site maintenance works are permit exempt under section 66 of the Heritage Act 1995, a) regular site maintenance provided the works do not involve the removal or destruction of any significant above-ground features or sub-surface archaeological artefacts or deposits; b) the maintenance of an item to retain its conditions or operation without the removal of or damage to the existing fabric or the introduction of new materials; c) cleaning of the building exterior including the removal of surface deposits, organic growths, or graffiti by the use of low pressure water and natural detergents and mild brushing and scrubbing; d) repairs, conservation and maintenance to plaques, memorials, roads and paths, fences and gates and drainage and irrigation. e) the replacement of existing services such as cabling, plumbing, wiring and fire services that uses existing routes, conduits or voids, and does not involve damage to or the removal of significant fabric. Note: Surface patina which has developed on the fabric may be an important part of the item’s significance and if so needs to be preserved during maintenance and cleaning. Note: Any new materials used for repair must not exacerbate the decay of existing fabric due to chemical incompatibility, obscure existing fabric or limit access to existing fabric for future maintenance. Repair must maximise protection and retention of fabric and include the conservation of existing details or elements. Public Safety and Security : The following public safety and security activities are permit exempt under section 66 of the Heritage Act 1995, a) public safety and security activities provided the works do not involve the removal or destruction of any significant above-ground structures or sub-surface archaeological artefacts or deposits; b) the erection of temporary security fencing, scaffolding, hoardings or surveillance systems to prevent unauthorised access or secure public safety which will not adversely affect significant fabric of the place including archaeological features; c) development including emergency stabilisation necessary to secure safety where a site feature has been irreparably damaged or destabilised and represents a safety risk to its users or the public. Note: Urgent or emergency site works are to be undertaken by an appropriately qualified specialist such as a structural engineer, or other heritage professional. Minor Works : Note: Any Minor Works that in the opinion of the Executive Director will not adversely affect the heritage significance of the place may be exempt from the permit requirements of the Heritage Act. A person proposing to undertake minor works may submit a proposal to the Executive Director. If the Executive Director is satisfied that the proposed works will not adversely affect the heritage values of the site, the applicant may be exempted from the requirement to obtain a heritage permit. If an applicant is uncertain whether a heritage permit is required, it is recommended that the permits co-ordinator be contacted.
FISHERMAN'S SHED - Permit Exemption Policy
The significance of the place lies in the relatively intact fabric of the shed and the mural. Although not on its original site, the shed was located on the Queenscliff Fisherman's Pier (now demolished) and is now best understood within the context of the Queenscliff maritime precinct. The shed is a rare example of a nineteenth century timber structure associated with the fishing industry at Queenscliff. The mural painted between 1895 and 1946 recording the ships using Queenscliff is of particular importance. The purpose of the permit exemptions is to allow works that do not impact on the significance of the place to occur without the need for a permit.