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Gem Pier

Gem Pier
Gem Pier

Gem Pier is a historic pier located at Williamstown in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. The first Pier built in 1839, near the present-day Gem Pier was known as the ”Williamstown Jetty’’. This was renamed ‘’Old Pier’’ in 1855, after the construction of Ann Street Pier. In the 1860’s and 70’s, the pier was known as ‘’Steamboat Pier’’.  In the 1870’s the pier was renamed as ‘’Gem Pier’’ after the paddle steamer ‘’Gem’’ which ran a service from Williamstown to Port Melbourne.

The pier was originally used for the transportation of goods and passengers between Williamstown and Melbourne. Today, Gem Pier is a popular tourist attraction and a hub for recreational boating and fishing. The pier features a long boardwalk that is ideal for a leisurely stroll and offers breathtaking views of the waters of Port Phillip Bay and the city skyline. Gem Pier is also home to the HMAS Castlemaine, a World War II-era warship that has been converted into a museum and is open to visitors. Visitors can experience the life of the crew members and see inside of the ship which exhibits wide range of artefacts documenting Australia’s maritime history. The pier is located near some of Williamstown’s best cafes, restaurants, and shops, making it a great place to spend a day exploring and enjoying the local culture.

Boats near Gem Pier, Williamstown, Victoria, Australia

Melbourne Seaplanes are based near Gem Pier and provides the visitors an opportunity to view the city skyline and surrounding bays and coastal beaches from the air. Ferry services run from Southbank and St Kilda to Gem Pier.

Commonwealth Reserve, Williamstown, Victoria, Australia
Commonwealth Reserve

The Commonwealth Reserve at the foreshore is studded with objects of historical importance and have a children’s playground. Williamstown’s craft market is held in the Commonwealth Reserve from 10am to 4pm on the third Sunday of each month.

History of Gem Pier

On the 1st of June 1837, following the subdivision by Robert Hoddle, Hugh Maclean purchased the land he had built his home on in 1834. A ferry service was established by Hugh Maclean, which ran from Gem Pier to Port Melbourne. The Passengers would light a signal fire and make smoke on the distant shore to alert the boat to impending business. Transport across the bay cost five shillings.

HMAS Castlemaine, Gem Pier, Williamstown
HMAS Castlemaine

Gem Pier was the first landing place in Williamstown and it is here people arrived at or left Williams Town.

A 33.5 stone Jetty was built here using convict labour sent from NSW in January 1839. The Pier was known as The Williamstown Jetty until 1855. This was the first substantial wharf built in Port Phillip.  In 1854 further additions were made to the Jetty. During this time Ann Street Pier was under construction so the Jetty was also known as Old Jetty or Old Town Pier. In 1877 Melbourne Harbour Trust was constituted and the Jetty came under the management of Harbour Trust.  In 1886 Old Town Pier was lengthened by 100feet. A dredge deepened the berths at the reconstructed Pier.

Melbourne Seaplanes near Gem Pier, Williamstown
Melbourne Sea Planes

In the 1860’s and 70’s the Pier was referred as Steam Boat Pier. From the 1870’s it was widely referred as Gem Pier. It got the name Gem Pier from the paddle steamer that operated between Williamstown and Port Melbourne. Gem provided regular steamer service between Port Melbourne and Williamstown for forty years from 1868 to 1908. In the 1880s, the pier was known as either Steam boat Pier or Gem Pier.

HMAS Castlemaine at Gem Pier

There was a boat ramp next to Gem Pier by 1892, created for the use of Water Police, who brought bay found dead bodies ashore to be taken to the nearby morgue.

Gem Pier, Williamstown
Gem Pier

In 1927 the old pier structure was demolished and replaced with a new structure with a budget of £7112 . H.E Asher of North Williamstown was awarded the contract by the Harbour Trust. In years before the demolition, the pier was found unsuitable for larger steamships as it does not go far enough to reach deep water. The Pier was rebuilt again in 1992 and lengthened in 2003.



Address:  1 Syme St, Williamstown VIC 3016

Open 24 Hours

Other Information

Dogs are allowed on leashes.

No swimming, jumping, or diving from the jetty.

Boating zones apply.

Location Map for Gem Pier