The Lovell Chen-designed free-standing interpretation panels, developed in association with historian Jill Barnard, tell the story of the pier’s history and close association with migrant arrivals and military departures. They also explain the significance of the various historic features that can be seen on the pier, which can be viewed as elements of the wider interpretation programme.
Drawing people on to the pier is the magical spectacle to be found at the seaward end. A forest of undecked original timber piles, the tops trimmed and capped, stretches 360m into Port Phillip Bay, impressing upon the viewer the enormous scale of the structure. Back near the shore, a preserved segment of pier structure is revealed, and the railway tracks that once served berthing ships have been reinstated. Reclaimed timbers have been reused as seating, now bearing the names of vessels that docked at Princes Pier.
New elements of the scheme include a Lovell Chen-designed weathering steel kiosk that houses digitised historical material (by others), and a specially commissioned installation by Stephen Hennessey that provides the pier’s identity. The reverse of Hennessey’s pillars provided an opportunity to display an historic photograph that captures the romantic aspect of long-distance departure locations.
We also designed the wayfinding signage for the pier, which connects the new public open space into the series of historic locations along the foreshore and port. They are linked by the Port of Melbourne Corporation’s Heritage Trail, also developed by Lovell Chen, in association with Büro North.
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