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Walking Port Melbourne

May 31

There are many ways, real and virtual, to reflect on Anzac Day in Port Melbourne.

  • Explore our Port Melbourne First World War Centenary site. Find out who enlisted from any Port street by typing the name of the street in the search box, or read the interesting research under the stories tab.
  • Use the City of Port Phillip’s On the Home Front self guided walking tour to visit the many sites of significance in Port Melbourne and surrounds from Princes Pier to the Gallipoli Lemnos Memorial.

Through focusing on just one street, Heath St, Christine Griffiths and Barb Mullen have given a deep insight on the impact of the war on one Port Melbourne street.  Their Heath St Anzac Day booklet can be accessed here.

The War Memorial around which we usually gather wasn’t Port Melbourne’s first war memorial. That distinction goes to the Women’s Welcome Home Band Rotunda, gifted by the women welcomers to the City of Port Melbourne on 6 November 1918. Read more about the Rotunda here. 

Following an energetic campaign and fundraising, the Port Melbourne Council made the Excelsior Hall (cnr Bridge, Princes and Station Sts) available as a gathering place for returned soldiers and sailors in 1919. The full story is here.

The siting and form of a fitting war memorial was the subject of debate over many years. Cr Crichton favoured the site outside the Fountain Inn (now the Cornerstone) whereas Cr Sinclair thought the newly reclaimed Edwards Park would be more suitable. In the end, the pull of locating the Memorial within sight of the piers from which the troops embarked was agreed.

In an ironic twist, the only Port Melbourne councillor to have a bust erected in his honour, Cr Walter, argued that Council funds should be used to support the more pressing needs of the living than a memorial. His view did not prevail.

The memorial appears to have been first used for a service in 1928. Read the foundation story of the Port Melbourne War Memorial here.


May 31
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Port Melbourne Historical & Preservation Society
9646 9360


Port Melbourne
Port Melbourne, VIC 3207 Australia + Google Map