This plan is of great significance to the local history of Warrnambool, in particular the Breakwater and its impact on Warrnambool's maritime and trade history.
The plan shows the existing jetties at the Port of Warrnambool, plus the partially erected Breakwater and proposed works to the Breakwater by both the Borough of Warrnambool Surveyor and Sir John Coode. The plan was signed 28th February 1879 by Sir John Coode. The legend at the bottom left describes the existing works and the proposed works.
The Warrnambool Breakwater
Sir John Coode was a British harbour engineer. He was brought to Melbourne by the Melbourne Harbour Trust to advise on works to improve the Port of Melbourne. The Victorian Government commissioned him to present a plan to complete the Warrnambool Breakwater. His original plan was too expensive so he prepared a revised plan for a shorter structure. The work was completed in 1890. The construction proved to be too short to protect adequately from the weather and didn't allow enough depth for larger vessels to come into port. The decreasing trade was further affected by siltation in the bay due to the breakwater, and the completion of the railway line.
The situation of the harbour became a real problem that, by 1910, required continuous dredging. In 1914 the Breakwater was extended but proved to be a failure because the work began to subside and by 1920 about two thirds of the harbour was silted up. Alterations made in the 1920's increased the silting problem and by the 1940's the harbour was no longer used. More alterations were made in the 1950's and 1960's.
The Warrnambool Breakwater is registered as a place of significance on the Victorian Heritage Database.
This plan of the proposed works for the existing Warrnambool Breakwater is of great significance to the local history of Warrnambool, in particular the Breakwater and its impact on Warrnambool's maritime and trade history.
The Warrnambool Breakwater is registered as a place of significance on the Victorian Heritage Database (VHR H2024).
It is historically significant to Victoria as one of the most important maritime engineering projects in Victoria in the late 19th century.
The Warrnambool Breakwater is of historical significance as one of the most important maritime engineering projects in Victoria in the late nineteenth century. It is evidence of Victoria's nineteenth century investment in regional port infrastructure and the development of Victorian coastal shipping.
It is of significance for its association with the English civil engineer Sir John Coode, the most distinguished harbour engineer of the nineteenth century, who was brought to Victoria to advise on works to improve the Port of Melbourne, but was retained by the Government to advise on improvements to the harbours at Portland, Geelong, Port Fairy, and Lakes Entrance, as well as Warrnambool. His projects for Melbourne, Lakes Entrance and Warrnambool were major engineering projects of the nineteenth century.
The breakwater is historically significant as a reminder of Warrnambool's early maritime history as a Western District port, and as one of Victoria's major 'outer ports'.
While the Warrnambool Breakwater is a demonstration of the engineering skills of the nineteenth century, it also demonstrates the limitations of knowledge relating to sedimentology at the time and the confidence apparent in a number of nineteenth century plans which assumed that natural forces could be overcome or contained by engineering.
Plan of Warrnambool Harbour, Port of Warrnambool, dated 28 Feb 1879.
Plan shows existing Breakwater and work proposed by both Warrnambool Borough Surveyor and Sir John Coode.
Plan has gold coloured quarter-dowel rods top and bottom and a metal ring at the top. Stamped with title. Signed by Sir John Coode.
Inscriptions & markings
Stamped "VICTORIAN HARBOURS / WARRNAMBOOL / PLAN / to accompany / SIR JOHN GOODE'S REPORT / DATED 28 FEB 1879"
Signature "John Coode"
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