News & Media

Historic Polly Woodside to reopen to public

Melbourne’s iconic tall ship Polly Woodside set sail once again today to return to her home berth at Duke’s Dock following its $13 million restoration and will reopen to the public later this month. 
Major Projects Minister Tim Pallas said the Polly Woodside’s berth at Duke’s Dry Dock had been restored to working order ensuring the barque would survive into the future as a reminder of Melbourne’s maritime history and tourist attraction.
“The restoration of Duke’s Dry Dock means that the Polly can be periodically dry docked for repairs providing her with a safe, comfortable home,” Mr Pallas said.
“The Spencer Street and Charles Grimes bridges mean she is locked in, which is one of the reasons why Duke’s Dock had to be restored to working order. The dock dates back to 1875 and is one of the few surviving relics of Melbourne’s extensive shipbuilding and repair industry that used to stretch along the Yarra’s Southbank from the Queens Street Bridge to Docklands.
“Work is still underway on the area around Duke’s Dock to restore the board walk and wharf sheds. The final result will be a fantastic new tourist attraction for the South Wharf precinct around the new Melbourne Convention Centre.”
Mr Pallas said the Polly Woodside would be open to the public for the first time in three years at the Melbourne Convention Centre’s free public open day on Sunday 31 May.
The Polly Woodside was built in 1885 and is owned and operated by the National Trust of Australia (Victoria). National Trust CEO Martin Purslow said the Victorian National Trust was delighted with the progress of work at Duke’s Dock.
“These works will enable Polly to be dry docked for the first time in 32 years, allowing her iron hull to be maintained for future generations,” Mr Purslow said.
“Polly Woodside is Victoria’s largest moveable heritage asset and we encourage the public to visit her at the upcoming public open day and sample the maritime experience that is due to fully open to the public in late 2009.”
The Polly Woodside has been berthed on the Yarra’s Southbank for the duration of the restoration, which began in August last year.
The Brumby Government has provided $8.86 million for the refurbishment of Duke’s Dock while the Plenary Group and National Trust are providing $4 million for the works on the adjacent area and the Polly Woodside itself.