From Coal to Solar: Port Melbourne to Albert Park

70 Beach St, Port Melbourne VIC 3207, Australia

From Coal to Solar: Port Melbourne to Albert Park

70 Beach St, Port Melbourne VIC 3207, Australia
Staff Pick
14 m
1.2 km
Directions to walk Directions


The walk follows the path taken by coal from Town Pier [now site of Port Melbourne Yacht Club] to Gasworks where it was made into town gas

From Coal to Solar: Port Melbourne to Albert Park

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This walk is a story of transformation. Town gas transformed the life of Sandridge residents by providing light and power. Dependence on the erratic supply of black coal from NSW drove efforts to find alternate power supply in Victoria. When the technology to use Victoria's coal reserves had been developed, there was no further need for the Gasworks. This heralded an era of cheap and abundant electricity. Now we are on the brink of another transformation - to renewable energy. The legacy of contamination at the Gasworks remains - just as we are leaving a legacy of greenhouse gas pollution for future generations. The walk concludes opposite a heritage worker's cottage with solar panels to the rear.


Points of Interest

1. Town Pier - now the Port Melbourne Yacht Club

Black coal arrived here from Newcastle. Town Pier was the first significant pier structure in the early settlement of Sandridge. It was demolished in the 1950s.

2. Morley's Coal Depot

This handsome coal store was one of the businesses owned by William Morley, the first mayor of Sandridge. Blue stone was preferred to timber as fire was a recurrent danger.

3. Railway Line

The coal was conveyed by rail pulled by a dray up Dow St. Recent works to create a raingarden revealed the old tram tracks

4. Sandridge Bay Towers

The former Harpers Starch Factory with its distinctive chimney - a significant landmark through the 20th century.

5. Esplanade East

The coal continued its journey along Esplanade East - the eastern edge of the former Sandridge Lagoon. It is said that during the depression, coal would fall from the wagons accidentally on purpose

6. Gasholders

Huge gasholders stored the gas. The gas was contained in a huge bell that rested on water. The level would rise up or down, depending on how much was in storage.

7. The Weighbridge

This is where the coal was brought into the Gasworks and weighed. In the thirties, workers gathered at the entrance in the hope of getting any work at all.

8. Brick Wall

I love the patterning of this brick wall and the colours in the bricks. Contemplate the size and the length of the walls around Gasworks and imagine them being built brick by brick.

9. Solar!

Note the solar panels appearing on houses in this neighbourhood. At one time, the Gasworks management had to pay to clean the neighbouring houses from grit and grime.


Art and Culture Art and Culture
Park(s)/Garden(s) Park(s)/Garden(s)
General General
Picnic Spot Picnic Spot
Seating Available Seating Available
Dog off-leash area Dog off-leash area
Public toilets Public toilets


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