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Yarraville Festival
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The White Hat Guide to

Williamstown

Williamstown

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Overview
Places to visit
Things to do
Markets
Places to stay

Williamstown

Williamstown

Overview


In the earliest days of European settlement in this area, two small villages had grown up in the region. Governor Bourke arrived from New South Wales and named the settlement near the mouth of the river Williamstown (after the king) and the settlement further up the river near the fresh water Melbourne (after the prime minister of England). From his choice of names, Governor Bourke clearly thought that Williamstown would become the more important settlement. As it turned out, Melbourne flourished and became the social and commercial hub of the 'Port Phillip District'. Williamstown, whilst remaining an important port and maritime centre, became a secondary settlement. If you didn't have a boat, access between Melbourne and Williamstown was through the swampy western suburbs. Even until the early 1970s, many people's access to Williamstown was through queuing for the slow and clumsy car ferry (more of a punt really) that crossed the mouth of the Yarra. If you look in a street directory you will still see Williamstown Road in Port Melbourne heading straight towards the ghost of the Williamstown Ferry.

With this relative isolation, ‘Willy' (as the locals call it) was able to retain much of its own separate character. The word 'village' is used rather indiscriminately by guidebooks and breathless tourist brochures to describe such an atmosphere, but in Melbourne, Williamstown is one of the few areas that White Hat considers can justly use that title.

For a flavour of Williamstown in the nineteenth century, take a walk along Nelson Place with its buildings facing the bay and the port. They are in varying stages of preservation – some have been modernised, others have been faked up in 'Ye Olde Tea Shoppe’ style – but there is plenty there to suggest the atmosphere of the old port where John Price was murdered on the beach by convicts. You can also visit the local museum (see below) and the Williamstown Botanic Gardens to get a feeling for nineteenth century Williamstown.

For much of the twentieth century, the area had a strong industrial focus. Williamstown was home to a large naval shipbuilding works, neighbouring Newport had rail yards and workshop, Altona had refineries and Spotswood had numbers of manufacturing industries. (The film Spotswood weaves a gentle story around one such industry in decay and the area is sometimes unkindly satirised as one that has been slow to adapt to the effects of changing conditions in manufacturing and world trade.) For a flavour of this period visit the Railway Museum and the excellent Scienceworks Museum housed in a large pumping station.

With the building of the West Gate Bridge in the 1970s, Williamstown became more accessible from the eastern suburbs and the Sunday market on the foreshore (see below) has become a firm favourite with Melbournians.

Suburban trains run regularly to Williamstown and there are regular ferry services from Southgate, Docklands and St Kilda Pier (St Kilda ferry runs only weekends, public holidays and throughout January). Williamstown is also very bicycle friendly with numbers of bicycle tracks and a regular bicycle ferry operating underneath the West Gate Bridge.

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Places to visit

Williamstown

Places to visit


Williamstown Historical Society Museum
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Things to do

Williamstown

Things to do


Some forthcoming events in Williamstown:

Yarraville Festival

The Yarraville Festival has been operating since 1981 and has steadily grown into one of Melbourne's liveliest community festival and White Hat feels that the location helps add to the genuine village atmosphere. There is music across 7 stages from local professional and community performers, everyone will find something that they enjoy.. Kids of every age, from toddlers to teenagers, will hear music suitable for their age group, and a range of activities and rides are available for them. From jumping castles to carnival rides to bungee jumping, with many of the rides free.

The Yarraville Festival also features its annual market with plenty of stalls. Selling everything from vintage clothing, food and handmade gifts the market is a great opportunity for visitors to pick up a bargain.

Further details at Yarraville Festival

Our rating - 4 Hats

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West Side Shorts
Short films in a relaxed atmosphere. White Hat suggests that if you are inteerested in watching the type of short films you are unlikely to see in a mainstream cinema with a chance to discuss what you thought of them over a drink then you might want to check out West Side Shorts. Program details at Angry Productions. ..
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Markets

Williamstown

Markets


One Market in Williamstown
One Market is all about beautifully made food, fashion and wares. New and vintage. Our emphasis is on quality, taste and design. On the first Sunday of every month (except January) at the beautiful church in the main stretch of Williamstown. ..
Altona Beach Market
A popular market which has been running since 2005. It features fresh local produce, arts and crafts in a pleasant park setting. ..
Williamstown Farmers Market

Farmers markets are first recorded in Williamston in the 1840s. The tradition has been revived in the original Market Reserve (now Robertson Reserve) with farmers markets twice a month.

2nd Sunday of month - Robertson Reserve, Cnr Cole & Hanmer Sts, Williamstown
4th Sunday of Month - The John Morley Reserve on The Strand, , Williamstown

More details at Williamstown Farmers Market.

..
Yarraville Village Farmers' Market
(Previously known as Yarraville Gardens Farmers Market, it has now moved to its new home in Beaton Reserve). Organic Fruit & Vegies, Eggs, Organic Breads, Olive Products, Wines, Plants incl Indigenous, Pestos/Dips, Organic Coffee, Cheeses . White Hat also suggests that while you are there you pay a visit to The Village Market next door in the Seniors Hall to browse the range of arts, crafts and upcycled wares. Further details at www.farmersmarket.net.au ..
Altona Lions Club Market
An outdoor market with 40 stalls in the spacious park next to Cherry Lake with trash & treasure, toys, clothes, preserves, home-grown and home-made goods. ..
Williamstown Craft Market
A large outdoor market in an atmospheric location featuring handcrafted wares, arts, crafts and other goods. Accommodation near this market >> ..
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Places to stay

Williamstown

Places to stay


Selected places to stay in Williamstown:

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