The city of Melbourne and homeport of the Wimmera where she arrived in November 1904 was, as is now, the second largest city of the Commonwealth, with an estimated population in the Greater Melbourne area of over 508,000. It was then also the seat of government for the Commonwealth.
‘By section 125 of Commonwealth Constitution Act it was decreed that the capital city of the Australian Commonwealth should be in New South Wales, distant not less than 100 miles from Sydney. Until such time as the Federal Government should meet at the seat of government, Parliament was to sit in Melbourne.’Victorian Year Book 1904
It was the headquarters of the Huddart Parker company and a port that in 1904 alone saw 2495 arrivals of British, Australasian and Foreign ships contributing to the imports and exports of the State valued at over £20,000,000 and £24,000,000 respectively. The ports of Victoria also saw over 55,000 passenger arrivals and near 66,000 departures in that year – with 190 men, women and children arriving by the Wimmera at the end of her maiden voyage.
In Melbourne the berths for the interstate and overseas steamers of the Huddart Parker fleet were on the Yarra River whereas overseas passenger liners generally berthed at the Port Melbourne wharves. Along the north banks of the Yarra, west of Queen’s Bridge were Queen’s Wharf and the Australian wharf, and on the south bank was the Prince’s Wharf and the South Wharf. Several docks were also situated along the River, between the wharves, including Dukes Dock and Wright and Orr’s Dock.
© Ralph L. Sanderson 2004-2021