Footscray Wharves and Environs


Construction of the Bunbury Street Railway Tunnel in 1928 

Train coming out of Footscray Railway Station on the main line built in 1859

The first bridge over the Maribyrnong in this area was a railway bridge, not a road bridge, just a little north of the survey area. This rail bridge was completed in 1859 to connect Melbourne to Williamstown and Sunbury.

The Bunbury Street Railway Bridge built in the 1920s. It is between the Shepherd Bridge and the Hopetoun Bridge

A steam train from an earlier era crossing the Bunbury Street bridge and entering the Bunbury Street Railway Tunnel (coming from Melbourne port).

A modern train coming out of the Bunbury Street Railway Tunnel at the Footscray end with the City visible in the background.

In later years a series of goods sidings were run off the main line just over the bridge on the Footscray side, and down along Maribyrnong Street to service the industries on the wharves.

Most of the large industries had their own sidings at one time or other; industries like the Colonial Gas Company, the Fertiliser Company and the Tannery.

Other residents remember the constant rail traffic earlier this century bringing coal and briquettes for several big companies, and wattlebark for the Tannery.

The main siding was still operating along Maribyrnong Street in the 1980s when this survey was first written, carrying coal to the S.E.C. in Yarraville. Incidentally it is the only railway line in Melbourne that runs along a suburban street. And it was a bit nerve wracking walking in the street because the trains were quiet and sort of snuck up on you.

The old goods sidings  line running along Maribyrnong Street in front of the Footscray Community Arts Centre. Trains no longer use the goods siding. Photograph taken in front of Footcray Community Arts Centre in 2017. The siding was still operating in the 1980s.
A steamtrain running along the goods siding along Maribyrnong Street under the Bunbury Street Bridge.
Train carrying superphosphate along the goods sideline in the 1950s.
The Maize Products Pty. Ltd. (built in 1913) on Maribyrnong Street by the river, used the railway siding (spur line) to transport raw materials and products such as glucose, cornflour and starch.

Another goods line, built in the late 1920s, runs under the length of Bunbury Street onto the steel rail bridge that crosses the river. The cutting for this line was carved out of the bluestone and later covered, to make it the first underground rail line in Melbourne.

An interesting feature of this line is that it had a continuous incline from Tottenham to Dynon Yards. This was brought home dramatically many years ago when a disconnected truck at Tottenham escaped and rolled all the way to the Dynon Yards, where it knocked a buffer out of the ground before it stopped.  

Construction of the Bunbury Street Railway Tunnel in 1928.