Footscray Wharves and Environs

New Business’s

Renata Slusarski, proprietor of Big Fish, in the workshop at 47 Moreland Street

Most of the original businesses have left years ago, although CSR is still shipping sugar locally. Many of the large industrial sites have been converted to flats and townhouses.

Times change and some of the more recent businesses that have come to this historic area are of more modern nature, although many do link with the past.

An enterprising historian, Peter Somerville, so loves the river he set up a tour business in the late 1970s with a small boat which was named The Blackbird. This tour boat and the tours have become legendary in themselves and Peter is sought out by many people for his extensive expertise on local history and other matters.

A relatively new business with industrial overtones is the Waterside Metal Art Studio set up by Steve Phillips and others to teach the art of blacksmithing and produce beautiful work from the forge. The studio is also the site of a couple of very successful local blacksmithing festivals and we expect many more.

Proprietor Steve Phillips (Esteban) teaching blacksmithing at the Waterside Metal Arts Studio in Maribyrnong Street

The Company logo
Members work at a row of forges at Waterside Metal studios

In 1991 a new design studio arrived in this area, which called itself Big Fish. This studio has produced a wide range of innovative and unique 3D works, mainly for public spaces, that are playspaces, sculptures and signage, custom built for each site. And has been employed by a wide range of councils and state government departments among others.

The Big Fish workshop next door to the Footscray Community Art Centre
One of the amazing sculptures produced at the Big Fish Workshops

And when you need a break and a coffee why there is the Happy River Café. A café set in one end of the old Henderson House in Moreland Street Footscray but close enough for a walk to the river. Kid friendly, with lots of grass, good coffee and nourishing food.é

The Happy River Café welcome sign
The lovely ambience at the Happy River Café
A celebration sign for 10 years of service, and menu