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The Royal Jetty




The royal jetty

Next time you have a cup of weak white tea (even though your preference is for a strong espresso) with your grandmother, try reading the tealeaves. There in the tea leaves you will find reference to QE2's first visit to Australia. Well, not in the tealeaves as such but in the Royal Visit China from which you are drinking. If you mention it to grandma she will quickly retrieve the Royal Visit coffee table book and teaspoon complete with its original packaging. This visit was highly significant. The first time a reigning monarch of Australia deigned to set foot on the soil of their Australian dominion was in the 1950s. This was at a landing on the Yarra River. Some of you may be able to track down some photos or, better still, ask grandma. The landing upon where the then young reigning deigning monarch alighted from the lighter was a point of land near the base of the Bolte Bridge.

During the 1990s you could walk along this neglected bank the river past vessels used for night party cruises on the bay and which like most ladies of the night did not show up too well under the cruel light of day, and on to that original landing complete with several moored lighters. Nearby was a control tower used by the port authorities (now replaced with one further downstream) and a secluded Japanese Garden. This was one of our favourite secluded places in Melbourne and the venue for a number of quiet picnics with friends while we watched the passing river traffic.

The site fell into increasing disrepair with the abandoned goods sheds presaging the current trend to green roofs with copious weed life sprouting in their asbestos guttering.

The area is now closed off. Before long we expect it to be habited by sophisticated, urbane young professionals who believe we are long overdue for a republic and who have the latest designer items in their upmarket apartments. It will be their children who discover great grandma�s bone china and coffee table book and wonder about the location of the historic spot where a reigning monarch first set foot on Victorian soil.

 Site of the Japanese garden near the royal jetty


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Other articles in the series Seven Lost Icons of Melbourne:

Seven Lost Icons of Melbourne - overview

  1. Redhead Matches

  2. The Flying Swallow

  3. Cremorne Gardens

  4. The Royal Jetty

  5. Bendigo Street Richmond

You can find a comprehensive guide to markets around Australia at The White Hat Guide to Markets in Australia.