- Sullivan, John
- Ship design and development
- RAN Ships
- None noted.
- December 1986 edition of the Naval Historical Review (all rights reserved)
Vice President John Sullivan continues his story of HMA Dockyard, Williamstown, and in this article relates how the streets and thoroughfares received their names.
ONE THING WHICH SURPRISED ME when I began my research was the fact that the roads and certain areas of the Dockyard have names. When I was employed there in the 1940s I never heard any reference to these names, except of course the Dockyard and Nelson Piers. Many readers who were familiar with the Dockyard during the war years may be as surprised as I was, so I will list the names and give brief details of where the names come from. Let us assume that the Graving Dock and the Dockyard Pier run North and South, which is close enough for descriptive purposes. Seven of the names listed are official, the remainder are subject to change before the Dockyard modernisation is completed. The official ones are Nos. 1, 2, 3, 4, 11, 12 and 13 in the following list.
1. Olive Bank Road. This road commences near the eastern side of the Yard, between the present change-room and the Joiners’ and Shipwrights’ Work-shop. For old-timers, it begins at the Western edge of the old building berths where the merchant ships River Loddon and River Mitta were built during WW2. It runs west, does an S-bend around the head of the dock and the old administration building, past the old entrance gates and continues west past the new Stores Building and the new Administration Building, known as Nelson House. By the way, the terms ‘old’ and ‘new’ in the context of this article refer to the Dockyard as I knew it. Some of the ‘new’ buildings may be approaching 40 years in age for all I know! This road is named for the last sailing ship to be docked in the Alfred Graving Dock, which took place on 3rd December 1930. She was a large ship belonging to the Andrew Weir Line, and had been a regular visitor to the Dockyard.
2. Firefly Road runs north and south, beginning at Olive Bank Road, opposite the old entrance gates, passes between what were known in my day as No. 1 and No. 2 Boiler Shops, and continues on to Nelson Pier. Firefly was a small side-wheel paddle steamer which operated the first regular steam ferry service between Williamstown and Melbourne on the Yarra River. She commenced operations on 28th October 1838.
3. Pitchboiler Road runs north and south from Olive Bank Road between the old admin. building and the building berths. These present-day building berths are on the same site where the corvettes and Culgoa were built. It leads onto the Dockyard Pier. Pitch-boilers were an important part of the caulking process of wooden ships, and the boilers were situated adjacent to this roadway.
4. Norval Road also runs north and south from Olive Bank Road, and is on the west side of the building berths. This road was named for the barque Norval, 300 tons, which carried the first party of settlers into Port Phillip Bay in 1835. She also carried cattle and sheep, which were unloaded at Point Gellibrand.
5. Naval Depot Road. This short road begins by running east and west from the eastern edge of the old merchant ship building site, passing the present-day electrical and electronic workshops and the canteen. It then does a 90-degree curve to the right and there finishes. It is of course named for the old Naval Depot, which was a feature of the Dockyard until 1920.
6. Hopetoun Road is another short road running west from the head of Nelson Pier. Its northern extremity is the water’s edge, and is known as Hopetoun Wharf. This road and the wharf are named for the Victorian Navy’s last acquisition, the first-class torpedo boat Countess of Hopetoun.
7. Shenandoah Wharf. This is the east-west section of wharf running east from the head of Nelson Pier to the west side of the building berths. It is named for the raider Shenandoah, operated by the Confederate States of America during the American Civil War, and which visited Melbourne (and the Dockyard) in 1865, as referred to earlier.
8. Battery Quay is the short section of shore line running east from the entrance of the Alfred Graving Dock. It is so named because of artillery pieces being mounted there, sometimes only temporarily.