Diana Sawyer at the Queenscliffe Library where she gave a very interesting talk about the harbour to a full house.

The Queenscliff Harbour Story

Members of the Queenscliffe Historical Society aren’t just a few retirees filling in their days welcoming you at the door of the museum and pointing you in the direction of the latest exhibit. They are zealots when it comes to preserving the borough’s history inside and outside the building in Hesse Street.

One member, Diana Sawyer, has undertaken a mammoth research project about the history of Queenscliff’s harbour. Diana located and investigated a multitude of articles and opinions, photographs and plans (many rarely seen by the public) which relate to the development of Queenscliff Harbour.

The slim volume details how the competing interests of innumerable players from early fishermen, colonial administrators, ships’ pilots, ferry operators, local residents and visiting tourists have been incorporated.

The Foreword has an informative timeline for the story beginning in 1802 when the Lady Nelson became the first European vessel to cross the Rip into Port Phillip, in 1856 the first official jetty structure was built, 1935 saw the start of the ‘Cut’ up to 2004 with the announcement of a private consortium developing the new harbour.

The Queenscliff Harbour story has three main parts beginning with the early 19th century developments, the 20th century ‘Cut’ history and the contemporary 21st century harbour development.

The history of Queenscliffe, a mixture of defence, maritime services with fishing, boats and resort industries, is unique in the state of Victoria. With its military history and buildings from the 1860s to those of World War II, Queenscliff is historically linked with the wider aspects of the Empire and the Defence Forces. The Harbour Story is part of this history.

“This book is essential reading for history buffs keen to follow the pattern of the state’s development; for locals truly interested in their physical environment; or for cultural tourists keen to delve deeper into whether Queenscliff’s 21st harbour development has faithfully incorporated the heritage of its beginnings.” – Justin Francis, Borough of Queenscliffe Heritage Advisor.