Tag Archives: railway

Pier into history

20 Apr

Signpost Entrance Cunningham Pier GeelongOver the last few years I have become strangely interested in history. I am not sure if it’s an age and maturity thing or if perhaps my desire to discover the past was awakened when we began renovating a 1920’s house. Either way I often find myself reflecting on buildings, places and objects and wonder what their previous life entailed.

As a purpose-built, functional structure visitors to Geelong’s Cunningham Pier barely reflect on its hardworking past. Today the boards of the pier hear only the clicky clack of high heels as they bustle over the disused rail line that runs up its length.

The pier was constructed in the 1900’s by The Geelong and Melbourne Railway Company and started its life aptly named the Railway Pier. The rail line ran the length of the pier but also extended further up Cunningham Street (responsible for its current namesake)  and into what is now the Geelong city centre.  Those with a keen eye can even spot some of the visible tracks that now lay dormant around today’s city precinct.

Once the port operations moved to its current North Shore location in the 1950’s there was little need for the infrastructure. It remained unused and fell into disrepair until the late 1980’s when it was resurrected to serve as a party space.  The pier spent just over a decade as the place to bring in the New Year. The next iteration for the pier was as home to buffet food restaurant Smorgys. Smorgys closed its doors in 2010 and made way for the shiny new hospitality precinct that we enjoy today.

From infrastructure to fine dining, the pier has served Geelong well.