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Year in Review 2021

Diving right in to

Fishermans Bend

The sections below are arranged by precinct, as per the Fishermans Bend Framework.


In Montague, several projects came to completion this year, including the Montague Residences, South and Lilix. People have moved in.

Oakwood with its 132 hotel rooms and 260 serviced apartments is taking bookings and the Normanby which also includes a hotel of 198 rooms and 105 apartments will be completed in early 2022.

R Iconic (Normanby Rd x Boundary St) on the former Oxford Press site emerges in the foreground of the two towers.

from the roof of the Coles carpark, Port Melbourne, from left to right, the crane of R Iconic, Oakwood and Normanby

Hospitalty to new residents and construction workers is being offered by new cafes at 444 City Rd and The Relief Unit (2).

The Golden Fleece which closed in the depths of the lockdown in 2020 is set to re-open with a Mediterranean look under Isaac Constantine and Zachary Riggs.

The Wayside Inn returns to being a pub after a spell as Industri.

The first Year 6 students graduated at South Melbourne Primary School.


The Soap Factory is in various stages of completion with yet another outpost of The Relief Unit recently opened as well as an Uncle Roccos barbers.

The Soap Factory by MUSK Architects on Ingles St, Port Melbourne, December 2021


The Port Melbourne Secondary College is ready and waiting to receive its first cohort of students. Foundation principal Anne Stout was appointed in July.

Port Melbourne Secondary College from Murphy’s Reserve

Goodman added another property to its substantial portfolio in Fishermans Bend when 525 Graham St (behind Woolworths) was sold in October for about $35 million.

The sixteen Evelyn townhouses at 343 Williamstown Rd, adjacent to Murphy’s Reserve, were finished.

The site for Port Lane (201 Williamstown Rd) is being cleared in preparation for construction in the New Year. All apartments are reported to have been sold.

Port Lane to be developed by id Land, designed by Rothelowman, 17 December 2021


Goodbye to Mrs Timms house, September 2021

Mrs Timms house at 58 Station St, which had clung on for so long, was demolished in September. This tiny house expressed a part of Port Melbourne’s history which will be hard to read when a new dwelling is built.

The median price of a house in Port Melbourne in 2021 was $1,700,500 compared to $1,457,000 in 2020. The median price of unit was $755,000 compared to $715,000 in 20201. characterises the top three population groups in Port Melbourne as 25.4% maturing and established independence, 16.5% independent youth and 11.87% maturing couples and families.

The year closed with a surprise announcement of the Government’s intention to demolish the existing estate at Barak Rd to create new housing as part of the Big Housing Build. The land will be leased to a consorium and housing of various tenures and sizes built in its place. What this means is yet to become clear.

The Barak Beacon Rd housing estate, image Janet Bolitho

Station Pier and Waterfront Place

103 Beach St, the site of the former Beacon Cove Foodstore, was acquired by Lux in July. The development will now be known as Pier 103 Waterfront Residences. New architects, Carr architects, were appointed to make minor revisions to the existing planning approval for the site. The Foodstore was designed to be the focal point of Beacon Cove, developed between 1996 and 2006. In 2022 Port Melbourne is once again to be ‘re-defined’, according to the tagline for the development.

The new London at 92 Beach St has yet to win over Port Melbourne people still smarting from the loss of The London in 2017. The cafe is due to open in the New Year. The ‘residences’, a favoured word of 2021, feature a wine room.

The new London, Port Melbourne, December 2021

And yes, there are further chapters to be written in the long running 1 – 7 Waterfront Place saga. The Port Phillip council decision of 24 June to protect sunlight to the foreshore shared path was appealed by the developers, Action Group. A full hearing is set down at VCAT for 22 March 2022.

The Spirit of Tasmania is on track to vacate Station Pier in spring 2022 for the new terminal in Geelong.

In the spirit of the record to document absence as well as presence, no cruise ships visited Station Pier in 2021.

Bay St and community

Bay St has remained steady, according to the Port Melbourne Business Association. There has been a net loss of three tenancies over the year. There are now no children’s toy and clothes stores, and only one homeware shop. There are more dog service related stores.

The ANZ branch in Port Melbourne closed, and the Commonwealth Bank moved closer to the ‘heart’ of Bay St. The impact on Bay St of the new Woolworths in Fishermans Bend is not yet clear.

Cafe businesses off Bay St thrived as they became the warm focus of the lock down routine – Station St Trading Company and Heart Bake catered to their micro local communities.

Station St Trading Company with its planted kerb extension – an important community place during lockdown

The steadfast Port Melbourne Business Association embraced the local in all their promotion and activities and encouraged residents to do the same.

The weather

People complained we didn’t have much of a summer. The hottest day of the year was 25 January when the temperature reached 39.2 degrees.

It was the wettest spring since 2011. Total rainfall for the year to date is 680 mm (the long term average is 644.1mm) The upside of the rain and grey weather was that trees given up for dead enjoyed a new lease of leafy life, while the parks to which we turned during successive lockdowns were green and lush.

Port of Melbourne

2872 vessels went through the Port of Melbourne this year. In April, the Soroe Maersk at 346.98 metres, was the longest vessel ever to call at Webb Dock’s VICT terminal. It took empty containers back to Asian ports.

CEO Brendan Bourke retired, and Saul Cannon was appointed to the role. The Port progressed its plan for getting more freight on rail with determination. It got rail shuttle projects off the ground as well as in advocating for the Webb Dock Freight link which will follow at least part of the existing alignment through Westgate Park. The Port also commissioned a major container logistics study to assist in planning for the future.

Maersk, the world’s largest shipping company, embarked on an ambitious decarbonising journey. If it has been hard for nation states to agree on ambitious greenhouse gas reduction targets, agreement among members of the International Maritime Organisation is even harder.


Disposable masks entered the waste and litter stream.

People got accustomed to using communal compost and glass bins. We did things that it was once said we would never do. Therein lies the hope for change.

Even the hot summer evening overflow was now cardboard and paper, a change from the plastic of previous years. End of year gatherings featured compostable crockery and cutlery. However, re-use or bringing your own is still best.

Other bits and pieces

Electric cars began to appear in Port.

Symbol of the Year

I’ve chosen two symbols this year which express different possibilities.

The first, the occupation of the Westgate Bridge expressing aggressive public protest, the rights of the individual over the common good.

Will this be the trend that continues and strengthens as we enter a two election year?

The second, the eel.

This exquisite installation Wandering Stars was part of the Rising Festival which had to be cancelled because of COVID lockdown. On a cold winter night, the sight of it illuminating the Yarra Birrarung was an uplifting magic. The eel is the ultimate symbol of transformation, changing its shape and form as it slips through our waterways into the sea and makes its way to the Coral Sea to breed. And then they return to where they began their journey. The embrace of the eel in this artwork also marks the tentative steps that have strengthened this year towards much greater appreciation of, and respect for, the depth of cultural knowledge of the First Nations people of Melbourne.

Wandering Stars. Birrarung Marr

And so we end 2021 in a subdued mood with the impact of the Omicron COVID variant yet to be understood. Climate and the Corona virus do not conform to our annual cycles of anticipation, annual implementation plans and conclusion.

2022 will be the year of elections with the Federal election to be held in the first half of the year and the State election on 26 November.

The climate’s inexorable warming trajectory will continue.

Let’s get behind any actions that are regenerative, restorative, kind and lovely – transformative.

1Port Melbourne Victoria 3207 accessed 17 December 2021


  • Congratulations on covering so much in one year! Always engaging and informative. Looking forward to more in 2022. Meanwhile, enjoy a rest!

  • Thanks again Janet. A very readable, succint and informative jog through the year. Much appreciated from across the globe. :)

  • Dear Janet, This year seemed to be the year that both was, and wasn’t- which also felt both similar and different to last year. Through all the friction, uncertainty, monotony and tenuous movement, your reliable and diverse weekly offerings proved, so often, to be a welcome balm, tonic, or chime of hope. Across many sites of interest, layers of history, dimensions of community, the sharing of stories, and the small celebrations of everyday wonder (natural, human, and other), the steady beat of the PP drum marked myriad moments with reassuring clarity, delicacy, and abundant generosity. My gratitude to you Janet, yet again, for your commitment to us (all). Please enjoy your well-earned time for rest, recreation, and replenishment, and wishing you renewed vitality in the year to come. Gary

    • Such a hugely generous response Gary! Your commitment to the PP project, and seeing value in it, has encouraged and motivated me throughout the year.

  • Brad Hooper

    Thanks Janet. Sad to see things lost, retained and gained. Cheers Brad

  • Nick Aagren

    Thank you Janet for keeping us posted on local news during 2021. Hear, hear to Gary's comment.

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