After sitting dormant for over 45 years, the historic Goods Shed 5 - forming part of the ​most intact cargo berth in the Port of Melbourne from the pre-containerisation era - has commenced its restoration journey.

Built in 1941 to cater to the sudden influx of cargo, the heritage-listed Goods Shed 5 has remained essentially unchanged and to this day, continues to demonstrate the important history and technology of pre-containerisation cargo handling methods.

It wasn’t until 1975 that the Goods Shed 5 fell into disuse when the newly completed Charles Grimes Bridge left insufficient clearance for cargo ships to pass underneath for passage upstream.

And now, forming part of Riverlee’s $500 million Seafarers project, key elements such as the roof trusses, doors and windows are being taken offsite for remediation works and will be returned during the project’s construction phase.

Situated next to the heritage-listed Mission to Seafarers building, the Seafarers site is steeped in history and will form part of a new maritime precinct for Melbourne.

The precinct will feature a 3,500sqm public park known as ​Seafarers Rest​ and a proposed maritime heritage centre as part of Mission to Seafarers building - which recently received unanimous support to fund a feasibility study by the City of Melbourne. The Mission to Seafarers Victoria will continue to provide welfare services from this location as it has for well over a century.

But Melbourne’s waterways and maritime heritage are currently poorly understood as both cultural and economic assets, says the chair of the Melbourne Maritime Heritage Network (MMHN) Dr. Jackie Watts.

“It’s important that we preserve our maritime history and acknowledge the role of trade by sea in driving Melbourne’s economic prosperity in the past and present day.”

Upon completion in 2023, the sustainable mixed-use riverfront precinct will be home to Australia’s first 1 Hotel & Homes lifestyle offering comprising 123 luxury residences (known as Seafarers Residences) and 277 guest rooms, a luxurious lobby lounge bar, event venue and meeting spaces, a state-of-the-art health centre, food and beverage offerings.

Image: Supplied