Princes Pier Refurbishment

Princes Pier was originally built more than 96 years ago. It has played a key role in Australia's wartime and multicultural history being:

  • The departure point for Australian troops during the First and Second World War.
  • The arrival point for American troops during the Second World War.
  • The first landing in Australia for thousands of post-war migrants.

The Victorian Government recognised Princes Pier as an important part of Victoria’s maritime history and had committed $34 million to its restoration where they accepted a proposal from us for the pier to be revitalised which included:

  • Most of the end section of the Pier decking being demolished, with hundreds of historic piles under the decking retained as a heritage centrepiece.
  • The first 196 metres of the Pier to be fully restored with new supports, a new concrete deck and lowered timber landings and mooring for recreational boats and ferries.
  • The restoration and returning of the gate house to its original state.

A significant challenge to the project, was that the demolition of the pier could not be undertaken as per the typical demolition procedure, where demolition is undertaken from on top of the existing deck. Due to the deck’s poor and sub standard condition, it had collapsed in a number of areas rendering it incapable of supporting the necessary demolition equipment.

With the use of two, 300 tonne jack up barges providing a base for Fitzgerald’s 120 tonne crawler mounted cranes, the concrete deck, timber members and structural steel was able to be removed. A team of operators, riggers and divers undertook the painstaking task of removing each member, on a piece by piece basis, for transportation and later removal from the site for later recycling if suitable, or if not, then disposal. 

Due to heritage requirements, in lieu of total removal and replacement of the existing piles, piles were stabilised and repaired with a specialised epoxy and protective wrapping.  Divers were employed to undertake the underwater works. Above water, concrete caps have been created to bring the piles to a new level height required to receive the new to be constructed deck.

Numerous trials were undertaken where old timber piles taken off site were repaired and later tested and cut in half to ensure the total injection success of the epoxy injection system. The success of this process has now caused it to be adopted by other marine authorities, such as Port of Melbourne Corporation.

Construction of the new deck over the repaired piles began with the reconstruction of the first 196m of the pier deck. To receive the new deck, pile extension structural lengths with reinforcement hook bars were built.

Suspended galvanised steel formwork was then placed together with reinforcement and later structural concrete, resulting in a deck that had the capacity to support the 55 tonne crawler crane construction load and upon completion, a T 44 loading rating suitable for anticipated vehicle and pedestrian movements.

On the newly constructed deck, hard and soft landscaping has been provided allowing the community a waterfront precinct with a suitable environment for reflection for those who arrived in Australia as immigrants and for those who departed to the two world wars.

Another particular challenge on this project, was the heritage and historical importance of this pier and the subsequent community and political interest. The restoration of the gatehouse was the historical centrepiece focus of the project. Neglected for many years, suffering vandalising and showing the affects of age, a desire was expressed to return the gatehouse to a standard whereby it will be preserved as a heritage icon for many years.

Fitzgerald undertook this challenge of not only the restoration works, but also the significant heritage consultation requirements with various partners, stakeholders and key community representatives.

The gate house was also raised by hydraulic means as a single element to a higher level that matched the new adjacent deck levels. Then it was restored with particular attention on the exterior appearance of the gate house, to ensure that it reflected its original appearance, 96 years ago.

Reference is made to the following link, which proudly displays our efforts on the Princes Pier Refurbishment.

Video courtesy of Major Projects Victoria

Princes Pier Refurbishment
Princes Pier Refurbishment
Princes Pier Refurbishment
Princes Pier Refurbishment