Tim Bliss
December 4, 2020

Not far out of the Melbourne CBD is another wonderful coastal suburb by the name of Williamstown. Not only is it a great place to visit, it is also steeped in history. From what was originally a neglected industrial town and Melbourne’s first seaport, Williamstown has certainly come a long way since. The history of Williamstown is evident just by taking a walk down the street, the stunning Victorian-era buildings combined with the magnificent streetscapes all makes this place what it is today.

Originally named Port Harwood by one of the Melbourne founders, John Batman in 1835, Williamstown gained its name after the reigning of King William IV and then was not declared as a city until 1919. During the time of the gold rush in Victoria, Williamstown became a busy place as many individuals passed through this town on their way to the goldfields.

The maritime history of Williamstown makes it a great place to check out if you are a boat person or even just enjoy being by the water. Plus for those of you who are cyclists being by the water makes it not only a great riding location but also a fantastic spot for a coffee stop. You will find no shortage of cafes and eateries along Nelson Place for you to sit back and enjoy a hot cup of coffee and soak in that incredible view.

Adding to the incredible history of Williamstown is the Timeball Tower, an old form of timekeeping which involved a ball dropping at a precise hour every single day along the boats in the harbour to set their clocks. It is certainly a very cool piece of history to go check out by the water and even better if you are able to get down there around 1pm you can see the ball drop.

HMAS Castlemaine at Williamstown. Source hmascastlemaine.org.au

Finally, for those of you who are interested in a bit of maritime war history then you must get down to the harbour to check out HMAS Castlemaine. Used primarily during World War II, HMAS Castlemaine travelled over 216,000km circumnavigating Australia multiple times and was under the constant threat from both air and sea attacks.

All in all Williamtown is a wonderful place to visit with no shortages of places to see, lovely cafes and fantastic harbour views all around.

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