If you didn’t line up in the queue to make the right hand turn, or disobeyed Tommy’s instructions, he would wave you off to the side of the road and book you, leaving the intersection unmanned and it would descend into chaos. Those were the days when Police had real power. Tommy also attended, at the invitation of Sir John Williams, the Fleetways Christmas drinks at Bertie Street in Port Melbourne. Incidentally, the area where the trucks used to line-up was outside the Diamond T importers/assemblers on the corner of Yarra Bank Road and Clarendon Street, so that provided some interest while John was waiting.
The 'Short Road' or Williamstown Ferry, taken in 1965. The Ferry is leaving Williamstown. This particular ferry commenced service in 1930. Photographs taken by Frank & Wendy Rouse.
It was called the 'Short Road' Ferry, because it was the 'short road' to Williamstown. The 'long road' was down Dynon Road to Whitehall Street and Douglas Parade. It’s hard to believe now, as Williamstown is very gentrified and trendy, that Williamstown was once a real working port and industrial area. There was the Newport Power Station, the Newport Railway workshops, the Naval Dock yards, the Port Phillip Woollen mills, the Harbour tugs at the Reid Street Pier, the Melbourne Harbour Trust dredges (which dredged the Melbourne Port area) at Ann Street pier, and the Ports & Harbours bay dredges, which dredged the South and West Channels in Port Phillip Bay. Dredging of the Bay has been going on since the 1870s, so you have to wonder why there was so much kerfuffle over the recent (2008-09) Channel dredging by the Queen of the Netherlands. Obviously, some people have no idea of our history.
The Williamstown Ferry went from the end of Williamstown Road and crossed the Yarra to the bottom of The Strand, near the Power Station. This location had been the site of a river crossing since Melbourne was established, but the first formalised ferry service didn't start until 1873. The 1873 scale of fees was - Foot passenger, one pence ; Vehicle with one horse or animal, six pence ; with two horses or animals, nine pence ; with three animals, one shilling ; Vehicles with four wheels, 2 shillings. The Ferry became redundant with the opening of the West Gate Bridge in November 15, 1978. I have some pictures of the West Gate Bridge in the next blog post.