Rich history

Southbank and Fishermans Bend have a rich and important industrial and manufacturing history dating back to the mid 1800’s. Their heritage is reflected in the surviving built form.

City of Melbourne recently completed a heritage review for Southbank and Fishermans Bend, which was considered by the Future Melbourne Committee on 19 September 2017.

The Review involves two dynamic areas; one comprehensive study; and two different approaches to engage with landowners and protect the identified heritage places. Both approaches will result in an amendment to the planning scheme.


The City of Melbourne recently completed a heritage review for Southbank and Fishermans Bend, which was considered by the Future Melbourne Committee on 19 September 2017.

16 October 2017

Southbank developed first as a commercial shipping port in the mid 1800’s and has grown into a high density residential and commercial area with a world class Arts precinct. Early development was predominantly one and two storey brick warehouses, timber yards and factories with saw tooth roofs.

The Fishermans Bend employment precinct was developed after the war period and provided the large sites needed for post war industrial technology and assembly line production. The area benefited from being close to both the port and the central city.

Did you know:

  • Southbank and Fishermans Bend was an important hunting ground and food source for Aboriginal groups for thousands of years.
  • The former tracks used by indigenous people formed the alignment for modern roads.
  • Extensive swamps caused many problems for first European settlers and delayed development of both areas.
  • Early immigrants to Melbourne arrived at Port Melbourne and then had to walk to the City following local aboriginal paths through the swamplands.
  • The former Kosky brothers’ furrier business in City Road was once linked to Russian spies and the infamous ‘Petrov Affair’.
  • The former Castlemaine brewery in Queens Bridge Street includes some of the oldest buildings in the area and the former brewery malthouse is now used by the Malthouse theatre.
  • The former artificial limb factory in Sturt St manufactured new limbs for returned servicemen after the First World War.
  • Fishermans Bend is the home of Vegemite, the FJ Holden and the black box flight recorder.
  • Fishermans Bend had its own airstrip during the war and one of the runways now forms the alignment for Todd Road.
  • Holden began as a small coach building business in Adelaide and later merged with General Motors to manufacture military equipment during the war.

The Heritage Review


Planning scheme amendment C305 is currently being progressed for permanent protection of 16 newly identified Southbank heritage places and four places previously included in amendment C280. Amendment C304 will apply interim protection for 11 places while the permanent controls are processed. Places with current planning permits are included in the permanent controls, in case permits are not acted upon.

Fishermans Bend

Most of the Fishermans Bend heritage places are large complex industrial sites with multiple buildings which still continue to operate. GMH and Kraft are some of the sites identified in the review. In Fishermans Bend, the City of Melbourne will work with landowners of the identified places to further understand land uses and assess the significance of the identified sites. Following further investigation, a planning scheme amendment is expected to be prepared in 2018 for the significant places. Opportunity will again be available for community and landowner comment.