Parks Victoria is a statutory authority, created by the Parks Victoria Act 1998 and reporting to the Minister.
Our estate covers more than 4 million hectares, or about 18 per cent, of Victoria. We manage the largest and most diverse collection of heritage places on public land in Victoria, with around 2,900 heritage assets and many places of National and State significance.
Our primary responsibility is to ensure parks are healthy and resilient for current and future generations. We manage parks in the context of their surrounding landscape and in partnership with Traditional Owners.
Port Campbell Rocket Shed is within the Port Campbell National Park. The original contents of the shed, the rescue safety equipment, form the heritage collection.
After the wreck of the Loch Ard in June 1878, it became necessary to have a rocket outfit and life-saving apparatus at Port Campbell. There is evidence that equipment from the Port Campbell Rocket Shed was used at the wreck of the Fiji, at Moonlight Head in September 1891. Rockets could be fired as a distress signal, and also to take a line from one point to another. In the case of a shipwreck, a line was fired from the shore to the ship. This was followed by a heavy hawser (a very heavy rope), and a breeches buoy. The breeches buoy is a ring shaped life-buoy, with a support in the form of short breeches in which a person is suspended for safe transfer to a ship.
For many years the ropes and tripod material were stored in a small building on the foreshore. The policeman stationed at Port Campbell was the officer in charge of the equipment and crew. A Captain and crew were selected from local men, for rocket practice, to ensure smooth working in time of an emergency. Each man had a special job to do, and the drill for bringing the equipment from the shed to the firing site, and setting up the tripod , was strictly carried out. Rocket practice was held at least once a year, and the crew were paid a small sum for their attendance.
The Rocket Shed was erected on the present site, after the extension of the Great Ocean road, which was opened in December 1935. This newly erected building, painted cream with green trim, was then used to store the ropes and rocket equipment.
Port Campbell Rocket Shed (2011)
The rocket equipment which comprises this collection appears to have been used in various lifeboat and rocket stations on the Victorian Coast. Although it is unclear if this is the original rocket equipment from Port Campbell, if not original to the site, it has been used in rescue operations and is identical to the equipment that has been in use at Port Campbell from C.1890 onwards.