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    Melbourne extends its heritage protection with 37 new sites

    Branko Miletic

    Following the commissioning of the ‘Southbank and Fishermans Bend Heritage Review’ by heritage consultants Biosis, the City of Melbourne, as part of its ongoing and wider heritage strategy, has identified a range of extra places of heritage significance that have been recommended for future heritage protection.

    Encompassing a geographic area bounded to the south by the Yarra River, east by St Kilda Road and north by Kings Way and the West Gate Freeway and the northern part of Fishermans Bend, this area also includes the modern suburbs of Southbank, South Wharf, part of Docklands and part of Port Melbourne.

    The review recommended that 37 new heritage overlays be introduced, including two new heritage precincts. It also recommends minor changes to 17 existing overlays and includes everything from former industrial to retail buildings such as the Commonwealth Clothing Factory, Clarendon Street Bridge, South Wharf sheds 1 and 2, National Gallery of Victoria, Southern Cross Service Station (later Ampol Service Station), and Alcock's Billiard Tables.

    Other properties to go on this heritage ‘wish list’ include a range of one-time Melbourne icons such as the old Allen’s Sweets Factory, Walker Cheese, Sennitt’s Ice Cream, the Castlemaine Brewery, Robur Tea House, and the Port Melbourne Abattoirs, along with a series of laneways and even a furrier (Kosky Bros.) that was once implicated in a 1950s Cold War spy scandal.

    According to the council, Southbank and Fishermans Bend are historically significant as the first peripheral settlement to the main European occupation of the Port Phillip district from 1835, which over time became the temporary landing place for new immigrants, a staging point for further entrepreneurial activity, camps for both soldiers and immigrants, and a one-time fringe settlement for dispossessed Aboriginal people.

    Moreover, noted the Biosis report, Southbank has architectural significance for the very high quality of the colonial government architecture in the Victoria Barracks and Police Depot, the modern cultural icons of the Arts Precinct, and the cohesive industrial styles of the late Victorian, Edwardian and interwar styles of factories and warehouses.

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