A faulty navigation marker is thought to have started the fire that destroyed the historic cargo shed on Yarra Street Pier in 1988. A high tide prevented firefighters from attacking the fire from underneath. The pier, which was by then no longer in use, was damaged beyond repair.
The pier’s cargo shed was built in 1908 to a design by local 19 year old student architect Percy Everett. Everett’s legacy remains in beautiful buildings such as Geelong’s Peace Memorial and old Courthouse, as well as many striking modernist buildings he designed as Chief Architect of the Victorian Public Works Department.
The Yarra Street Pier had an earlier brush with disaster. The clipper ship Lightning caught fire in the early hours of 31 October 1869. The captain of a neighbouring ship sounded the alarm and although 400 of the wool bales on board the Lightning were saved the fire could not be subdued. The Lightning was towed away from pier and eventually sunk at 6.30pm after numerous attempts to scuttle her failed.