Williamstown is the oldest continuous settlement on the shores of Port Phillip Bay. Indeed, when Captain William Lonsdale was dispatched from Sydney to take up the post of Police Magistrate in the southern outpost of NSW in 1836 he decided that his courts, barracks and gaols should be located in the town Governor Sir Richard Bourke had named in honour of King William IV.
Ever since, Williamstown has played an integral role in the growth and development of Melbourne and Victoria, and the suburb and port are part of the state’s living heritage.
The trappings of that parade of history are housed in the Williamstown Historical Museum at the Mechanical Institute in Electra Street. Steam buffs can get their kicks in the Railway Museum in North Williamstown, while the award-winning science and technology museum, Scienceworks, is located in an old pumping station in neighbouring Spotswood.