In the early part of the 20th century, the original pier was unable to accommodate the new breed of larger and more powerful steamships. As a result the current pier was built between 1922 and 1930 and is the largest timber piled wharf structure in Australia. The Stothert and Pitt cranes were erected in 1949 for goods handling. The original supports are still underneath the current pier, chopped down when the replacement was built. The new pier was designed so that passengers landed at the terminals above, while goods traffic moved underneath, in what was quite forward thinking for the 1920s. It has a wharf length of 933 metres, and capable of berthing ships 305 metres long with a draught of 10.3 metres. When originally built the pier had five railway sidings running onto it, as well as a passenger platform on the southern side named 'Bay Excursion Platform', a westward extension of Port Melbourne station. After the pier was rebuilt it was provided with eight tracks, four along each wharf face.
Melbourne is becoming an increasingly popular port of call for some of the world's most prestigious cruise liners. A record 57 cruise ships visited the pier in 2008/2009 cruise season and combined with increased patronage on the Spirit of Tasmania sailings, ensures an active precinct at Beacon Cove. Station Pier has two terminal buildings that provide for Spirt of Tasmania ferry services, and for visiting cruise ships, Navy or tall ships. The increasing interest of Melbourne as a cruise ship destination is likely to result in larger ships visiting Station Pier.
This post is part of the Watery Wednesday meme.