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Key details

Location
Suburb of Docklands, Melbourne

Policy objective
Urban renewal 

Project area
190ha (includes 44ha of water; 7km of waterfront; 3.7ha open space)

Overview

Melbourne's Docklands is one of Australia’s largest urban renewal projects, reconnecting central Melbourne with its historic waterfront.

Docklands is comprised of eight distinct precincts, used for residential, commercial, retail, dining and leisure. 

When Development Victoria was first handed responsibility for Docklands in the 1990s, the land was regarded as derelict.

Today, the precinct continues to emerge as an innovative and dynamic community.

Construction of Docklands commenced in 1997 and was originally anticipated to be completed in 2025.

However Docklands will continue to evolve with re-master planning underway for some precincts, and therefore the completion date of Docklands has expanded.

By 2031, Docklands is expected to attract 20 million visitors per year. 

$14.6 billion private investment

13,000 residents

73,000 workers

68 pieces of public art

Outcomes

Almost two-thirds of the original development plans are now complete.

Key achievements:

  • Urban renewal through strong partnerships with private developers, the State Government and the City of Melbourne
  • More than $12 billion of private investment
  • Home to more than 13,000 residents and 73,000 workers
  • 2,500 to 3,000 construction jobs sustained annually
  • 10,000 apartments completed, or under construction
  • More than 1 million square metres of commercial office space completed, or under construction
  • Home to some of Australia’s largest companies including ANZ, NAB, Medibank Private, and Myer
  • Marvel Stadium and waterfront is a world-class sporting and entertainment destination
  • 66 pieces of public art across the Docklands precinct
  • Over nine hectares of parks and open space
  • One of the largest concentration of green buildings in Australia, embracing strong Ecologically Sustainable Development (ESD) principles

Approach

In 1991 the Docklands Authority (now Development Victoria) was established to oversee the renewal of the Docklands area.

The goal was to create a waterfront development that would extend the western edge of Melbourne’s CBD and enhance its historic connection with the waterfront.

A plan for Docklands was released in 1995, after extensive consultation with the community and key stakeholders. Construction of Docklands started in 1997 and was anticipated to be completed in 2025. However Docklands will continue to evolve with re-master planning underway for some precincts.

Development Victoria is responsible for managing the Docklands urban renewal project, through partnerships with private developers, the State Government and the City of Melbourne.

A precinct approach has been adopted to guide the overall development of Docklands.

Through a competitive bidding process, Development Victoria has partnered with selected developers via a Development Agreement.

A requirement of each Development Agreement is the preparation of a distinct master plan/development plan that guides the delivery of the project.

Land is generally developed on an individual building or stage basis in response to market demand.

Prior to commencing work, developers must submit a detailed planning submission to the relevant responsible authority.

Land ownership is transferred from Development Victoria to the developer once a number of conditions have been met.

Upon receiving the title to a parcel of land, the developer can begin construction.

City of Melbourne

The City of Melbourne is the Responsible Authority for issuing planning permits for developments less than 25,000m2 gross floor area.

The City of Melbourne is the Municipal Authority and is responsible for maintaining the bulk of the developed public realm.

Development Victoria is a Referral Authority for all planning applications in Docklands under the Melbourne Planning Scheme.

Completion of construction

At the completion of construction, Development Victoria and the City of Melbourne certify that development is complete to agreed design standards.

As the municipal authority, the City of Melbourne receives all rates from completed development.

Location

Docklands is adjacent to Melbourne’s CBD and covers 200ha, situated mostly on the banks of the Yarra River.

It's bound by Spencer Street and the Charles Grimes Bridge to the east, Bolte Bridge to the west and Lorimer Street to the south.

Transport options include:

  • Public transport — visit Docklands by tram, train or bus using PTV Journey Planner
  • Driving — access Docklands via CityLink and the Monash and Westgate freeways, and park in one of 5,000 public parking spaces
  • Cycling — Docklands is connected to key Melbourne bicycle routes and offers kilometres of off-road bicycle paths
  • Walking — explore Docklands with kilometres of easy walking pathways
  • The Port Phillip Ferry service is available from Portarlington or Geelong to Docklands, docking in Victoria Harbour opposite Marvel Stadium

Who to contact about this project

Development Victoria

Customer service
Ph: 131 852
contact@development.vic.gov.au

Media
Ph: 03 8317 3700
media@development.vic.gov.au

City of Melbourne

Ph: 03 9658 9658
After hours: 03 96589774

Melbourne Town Hall
Corner Swanston and Collins Street
Melbourne VIC 3000 

 

When Development Victoria was first handed responsibility for Docklands in the 1990s, the land was regarded as derelict.

Today, the precinct continues to emerge as an innovative and dynamic community.

Project timeline

  • Docklands Task Force established
  • Docklands Authority established to oversee regeneration of Docklands
  • Victorian Government releases a plan for Docklands
  • The first Expressions of Interest for development are called for
  • The first Development Agreements signed for the Stadium and Yarra's Edge
  • Municipal powers transferred from the City of Melbourne to Docklands Authority

2000 

  • The Stadium, La Trobe Street Bridge, Bourke Street Bridge and Wurundjeri Way open

2001

  • First residential apartment tower completed

2002

  • Webb Bridge opens
  • First residents move into Docklands
  • Collins Street bridge and extension opens

2003

  • The Docklands Authority merges with the Urban and Regional Land Corporation to become VicUrban
  • City Circle tram extended through Docklands
  • Construction on Docklands Park Stage 1 completed

2005

  • Tramlines extended to north-west Docklands

2006

  • Docklands is the venue for three Commonwealth Games events and a stopover point for the Volvo Ocean Race

2007

  • Municipal powers transferred from VicUrban back to the City of Melbourne

2008

  • Docklands residents can vote in City of Melbourne elections

2009

  • Opening of Docklands’ first purpose-built piece of community infrastructure, The Harbour Family and Children’s Centre
  • Tram Route 48 tram is extended along Collins Street to Victoria Harbour and the extension of the City Circle tram down Docklands Drive, joining routes 86 and 48

2010

  • A strategic planning and community consultation project was launched by VicUrban and the City of Melbourne — to involve the community, businesses and key stakeholders in planning for the second decade of Docklands

2012


  • Docklands Community and Place Plan is launched at the new community garden
  • Docklands Community Forum established with representatives from the of City of Melbourne, Places Victoria and the Docklands community

2013

  • Docklands' multi-purpose sports courts open
  • Last parcel of land in Batman’s Hill, to be known as Melbourne Quarter, is contracted to Lendlease

2014

  • Library at The Dock and the adjoining Buluk Park open
  • Extension of Collins Street tram line to Victoria Harbour is completed and Collins and Bourke Streets meet for the first time at an iconic new intersection 

2015

  • Docklands has attracted more than $10 billion private sector investments, has more than 10,000 residents and 53,000 jobs
  • Ron Barassi Senior Park Stage 1 including sports field, pavilion, playground, BBQs and walking circuit, officially opens

2016

  • The $8.5 million Community Hub at The Dock opens
  • The Docklands Walking Tours App is launched with The Dockside Heritage Trail highlighting the history of Docklands

2017

  • Places Victoria and Major Projects Victoria are merged to form Development Victoria, and remains the master developer of Docklands
  • The new three-storey Docklands Primary School is officially announced by the Minister for Education, on the corner of Footscray Road and Little Docklands Drive in NewQuay
  • Port Phillip Ferries commence operations on Portarlington to Docklands ferry service, docking in Victoria Harbour across the road from the Stadium
  • Docklands hosts the Volvo Around the World Ocean race for the second time

2018

  • In March 2018, Docklands had more than 1 million square metres of commercial space delivered or under construction, accommodating approximately 65,000 workers
  • More than 10,000 apartments were also delivered or under construction
  • Docklands Community Forum transitions from Development Victoria and council-led forum to community-led and rebranded to Docklands Representative Group
  • In 2018, the Stadium celebrated its 18th birthday, whilst also welcoming over two million patrons through the turnstiles, including the Stadium’s 40-millionth visitor

2019

  • Due to the number of downloads of The Harbourside Art Trail App coming from China, the accompanying Art Trail brochure is translated and released in simplified Chinese
  • The Minister for Education announced a new $10 million kindergarten will be added to the school, catering for 525 students and 66 kindergarten places
  • Construction on the Docklands Primary School commenced late 2018 and is due to open in 2021
  • Port Phillip Ferries commence operations on its second ferry service from Geelong to Docklands

Key projects

Construction of Docklands commenced in 1997 and was originally anticipated to be completed in 2025.

However Docklands will continue to evolve with re-master planning underway for some precincts, and therefore the completion date of Docklands has expanded.

Location

Docklands includes a number of precincts — more information on each precinct can be found below.

Docklands is adjacent to Melbourne’s CBD and covers 200ha, situated mostly on the banks of the Yarra River.

It's bound by Spencer Street and the Charles Grimes Bridge to the east, Bolte Bridge to the west and Lorimer Street to the south. 

About the precincts

Batman's Hill 2001- 2025

Learn more
Digital Harbour 2001- 2025

Learn more
Docklands Studios Melbourne 2001- 2021

Learn more
Harbour Esplanade 2000- 2025

Learn more
NewQuay 1999- 2025

Learn more
Stadium Precinct 1997- 2025

Learn more
Victoria Harbour 2001- 2025

Learn more
Waterfront City 2002- 2025

Learn more
Yarra's Edge 1997- 2025

Learn more

Community

Development Victoria is building the foundations for the Docklands community through projects identified in the Docklands Community and Place Plan.

The Docklands Community and Place Plan was the result of an extensive community engagement program designed to:

  • Identify opportunities to enhance existing and proposed developments in Docklands
  • Explore and provide input on how to create a vibrant sense of place and an engaged community

The Docklands Community Forum was established in 2012 by the City of Melbourne with the purpose of facilitating community input into the Docklands Community and Place Plan.

In early 2019, the Docklands Community Forum transitioned from a City of Melbourne-led forum to community-led and was rebranded to the Docklands Representative Group.

The format has been reshaped to encourage more opportunities for networking, connection and community-led projects and updates.

Development Victoria continues to work with the City of Melbourne to deliver a range of additional infrastructure and community projects in Docklands.

Community outcomes

The Library at the Dock is a community hub bringing people together to create, explore, connect, learn and participate. In addition to a traditional library collection, there is a recording studio, creative editing suites, community spaces and a performance venue to hold up to 120 people.

The library was delivered through a unique tri-partnership model between Development Victoria, Lendlease and the City of Melbourne. It's owned and managed by the City of Melbourne.

For more information and to enquire about booking community spaces, visit The Library at The Dock website.

Buluk Park is directly adjacent to the Library at The Dock at the corner of Collins and Bourke Streets.

It provides an additional 3,500m2 of public open space in Docklands and includes an inner-urban outdoor children’s playground, a cafe pavilion and Sally Smart Shadow Trees artwork.

The 3.2ha Ron Barassi Snr Park opened in October 2015. It includes a grassed area to accommodate a range of recreational activities, a community pavilion, a children's playground and carparking.

The Ron Barassi Snr Park was a collaborative project funded by the Victoria Government, constructed by Development Victoria and is operated by the City of Melbourne.

The Community Hub at the Dock is home to the Docklands Yacht Club, Dragon Boat Victoria and the Melbourne Outrigger Canoe Club.

A family services centre is also located in the building. The Community Hub at the Dock is another example of a tri-partnership between Development Victoria, Lendlease and the City of Melbourne.

Visit The Community Hub at the Dock website

Docklands Community Garden supports the development of healthy and connected communities.

It features a communal BBQ, a rosemary grove, vegetable patches and other herbs and edibles.  The Docklands Community Garden is located in Geographe Street.

Public open space projects such as Docklands Park, Victoria Green, Point Park, Sky Park and NewQuay Central Urban Park offer visitors, residents and workers access to promenades, recreational facilities, multi-purpose courts, public art and children’s playgrounds.

There is approximately 20ha of open space in Docklands currently. This is approximately 15% of the total Docklands area.

Docklands Sport Courts, operated by Active Melbourne City Sports, are available for public use and regular bookings for basketball, netball, futsal and other sports. The sports courts are located next to The Hub between Waterview Walk and Harbour Esplanade.

Adjoining the Docklands Sports Courts on the corner of Harbour Esplanade and Collins Street, the upgraded park space now includes a new outdoor urban exercise station, landscaping, table tennis table, footpaths and viewing areas (made from recycled timber from the Docklands wharves).

Public art projects have contributed a sense of identity for Docklands. There are 68 artworks currently situated in the parks and promenades and built into the architecture and landscape. Artworks have been inspired by the themes of history and future, land and sea, humanity and technology.

The Melbourne Docklands Walking Tour app was created by Development Victoria to showcase not only the rich history of the site but also the scale and breadth of the Melbourne Docklands redevelopment, both physically and from a place making sense. The first walking tour, The Dockside Heritage Trail, was launched in August 2016 and the second app, The Harbourside Art Trail in 2017.  Work on a third app is currently in progress.

The app is a self-guided walking tour through Docklands discussing the history of the Docklands area and the various urban art pieces.

The Docklands Walking Tours app is free and available via the Apple store or Google Play.

Central Pier was closed on 3 January 2020. Development Victoria is working with stakeholders to access future options.

Learning and development outcomes

In 2002, Government announced a $14 million investment in the Automotive Centre of Excellence for Kangan Batman TAFE. Located in Batman’s Hill on Batman’s Hill Drive (corner McCrae Street), the first stage of ACE commenced construction in 2004, with classes commencing in late 2006.  The $83 million second stage opened in February 2011.

The award-winning 5-star environmentally sustainable design with cutting-edge facilities is home to 3500 automotive apprentices, with up to 530 of them possibly being on site at any one time.

ACE is the largest and most advanced automotive training facility in the southern hemisphere, containing leading-edge technology.

ACE partners with industry leaders to provide students with access to world-class training facilities, technology and teaching staff. 

Visit the Automotive Centre of Excellence website

Located at 259 Footscray Road, the three-level vertical school and kindergarten will cater for up to 525 students and 66 kindergarten places.

The primary school will enjoy state of the art learning areas as well as a library, music and arts rooms, gym/sports hall and outdoor learning terraces. The kindergarten will be on the second level of the building and include two kindergarten rooms, administration areas and outdoor learning terraces.

Construction commenced late 2018 and is set to open in 2021.

Visit the Docklands Primary School website.

Kaplan Business School at 370 Docklands Drive in NewQuay, is a provider of higher education degrees offering courses in business, accounting, marketing, management, tourism, entrepreneurship, health services, digital management, analytics, project management and leadership.

Visit the Kaplan Business School website.

The Harbour Family and Children’s Centre, operated by early childhood specialists Gowrie Victoria, provides childcare and education services including long day care, occasional care, kindergarten and observation and training facilities for visiting early childhood students and educators.

Developed in 2009, the centre is located on a roof top of a supermarket and four-storey commercial building in Victoria Harbour and provides 150 childcare places and  employs 40 childcare professionals.

The centre was purpose-built to an ecologically sustainable design and was intended to act as a ‘best practice’ model for the design of inner-city childcare centres and includes 1,150 m2 of landscaped outdoor play space.

Development Victoria developed an Ecologically Sustainable Development (ESD) rating tool for childcare centres specifically as part of this project.

The Harbour Family and Children’s Centre was developed in partnership with the City of Melbourne, Gowrie Victoria, Lendlease and Development Victoria.

Visit the Harbour Family and Children’s Centre website.

History

Docklands is part of the Lower Yarra Delta, a low-lying area that spreads from Princes Bridge to the sea.

This was originally a wetland area containing swamps, low-lying vegetation, waterfowl and fish.

For thousands of years, this marshy land between the mouths of the Yarra and Maribyrnong River was used as a hunting ground and meeting place by several Aboriginal communities.

The first European settlers arrived in 1803, when New South Wales Surveyor General Charles Grimes sailed into Port Phillip Bay.

There was little further exploration of Port Phillip Bay and the Yarra River until 1835 when John Batman and John Pascoe Fawkner founded their illegal settlement, later named Melbourne.

Ships visiting the new settlement anchored in Hobson’s Bay (now Williamstown) and transferred freight by boat up the Yarra River.

By 1860, Docklands was home to the West Melbourne gas works, railway industry, an explosives magazine and pottery works.

Abattoirs, fellmongeries (dealers in animal skins and hides) and tanneries also set up in the area.

Construction of Victoria Dock commenced in the late 1880s and was completed in 1892.

Excavating the dock involved removing 2.3 million cubic metres of earth that was used to improve the land around the dock and to fill the West Melbourne Swamp.

By 1908, Victoria Dock was handling an estimated 90 per cent of Victoria’s imports.

Between the early 1900s and the late 1950s, Victoria Dock was Melbourne’s busiest dock handling a wide range of cargo including coal, steel, animals, wool and wheat.

In the 1960s, the Harbour Trust began using cargo containers that required very different storage to the long sheds lining the docks.

New docks and transport infrastructure were built west of Victoria Dock in the 1970s, rendering the dock and the wharves both sides of the Yarra redundant.

By the end of the decade, these new docks were handling around 68 per cent of the port’s cargo.

In 1989 the Docklands Strategy — Melbourne Docklands: Strategy for Redevelopment recognising the importance of linking Melbourne to the Southbank and Victoria Harbour areas was released by the Victorian Government.

A Docklands Task Force was established to review the feasibility of redevelopment.

In 1991 the Docklands Authority (now Development Victoria) was established to oversee the regeneration of Docklands.

Useful links

Docklands Public Realm Plan

Docklands Community Place Plan (and Place Plan map)

Docklands Design and Construction Standards 

Docklands Waterways Strategic Plan 2009–2018

Yarra River – Birrarung Strategy

The Docklands Walking Tour app (a self-guided tour) is free and available via the Apple Store or Google Play.

  • Docklands Walking Tour—The Dockside Heritage Trail Map
  • Docklands Walking Tour—The Harbourside Art Trail Map