In the 1880s, the Port of Warrnambool handled more cargo than the Port of Melbourne and was a thriving deep sea port. In 1874, a plan was approved by Government to provide protection to shipping by constructing a breakwater utilising huge concrete blocks weighing 32 tons each.
The blocks were transported to the breakwater site by a specially built railway line, and construction was not completed until 1890.
The Warrnambool Breakwater consists of two parts: the concrete breakwater extending out into the bay, and the timber viaduct which once joined it to the shore, which now runs along the east side of the Merri River and is surrounded by land to the east. The breakwater is 30ft wide with a 15ft wide parapet with a walkway along the top.
The viaduct was originally a raised timber structure, but is now filled in below and to the sides with bluestone rubble, and there is an asphalt roadway, known as Viaduct Road, laid along the top.
The area to the east of the viaduct which was once part of the harbour is now land, and a car park has been constructed along the new shoreline. The breakwater railway was removed in 1962, though some remnants of rail remain.
Today the breakwater is a great place to take the kids fishing, offering a sheltered place to relax. Fishing can be done on the bay side with smaller rods or over the breakwater facing the ocean with surf rods chasing the bigger fish.
Boat launching is also available at the breakwater.