Major Bay was a feature on the south shore of the natural harbour's shore.

Major Bay was a feature on the south shore of the natural harbour’s shore.

during Victoria’s early industrial era Major Bay was an important location on the south shore of the Middle Harbour. The city’s first shipyard, Laing’s Ways was established here in 1859.

With the closing of the shipyard the bay’s quiet waters became a free use home for day-fishing boats, transient barges that moored to pilings beyond the low tide line, and to float-home dwellers. By the end of 1947, free use gave way to the establishment of the Federal Government’s Fisherman’s Wharf facility. Subsequently the bay was filled in and was used as an informal “sports field”.

A Modern Park

Fisherman's Wharf Park's rain garden.

Fisherman’s Wharf Park’s rain garden.

In 2009 Victoria’s City Council endorsed a plan to transform the underused sports field to a “natural” park with a broad range of amenities for residents and visitors to enjoy. The park was opened in October of that year with the James Bay Neighbourhood Association’s input having informed its design.

Facilitated by the bay’s earlier infill, the park includes the largest rain garden in Victoria where people can learn how the land filters and cleans runoff before it reaches the ocean. Also within the park are a state of the art playground, the sandy beach area, the community herb garden, and the expanded David Foster Way waterfront pathway.