Auto Heritage sites under threat
Emotive yes. Fishermen’s (please yourself where the apostrophe goes, everyone else does, but mostly today it’s not used) Bend has long been Victoria’s centre for automobile manufacture. From the time GM-Holden erected an assembly plant on a former golf course in Salmon street a number of other firms have gravitated to the area. Hillman, Humber, Sunbeam, Chrysler, Rambler, Toyota, Renault, Standard, Mercedes-Benz, Vauxhall, Bedford as well as Holden have all be produced in the area.
Now the threat of prime industrial land on the fringe of Melbourne’s CBD being sold to developers will possibly obliterate any evidence of auto production, particularly after 2017 when Holden shuts down (the Holden site is already on the market). The Age recently carried a story on the Roots factory that give some insight to the problem. .
Already Adelaide has witness three Holden plants vanish. The Birkenhead plant was levelled some time ago and the site still remains vacant, all that is left is the mosaic from the foyer.
The Woodville site is now a hardware store and the King William Street factory was levelled a couple of years ago.
Fishermen’s Bend is actually not where we understand it to be today. Originally the Yarra went further north and curved to the South East. Fishermen’s Bend was located in the curve. A Sandridge Canal was proposed to run from the current Port Melbourne dock to Spencer Street but this was dropped in 1886 in favour of digging the current course of the Yarra. The diversion was engineered by Sir John Coode creating Coode Island, while the name survives the old course of the river was filled in and the original Fishermen’s Bend eliminated.