Wharfies hook 1950s

Maker unknown

Registration number



Maker unknown


Wharfies hook

Production date



iron, wood

Dimensions (H x W x D)

2.5 x 31.5 x 18.8 cm

Credit line

City of Melbourne Art and Heritage Collection


wharfies, hook, docks, Docklands, waterfront, shipping, cargo, harbour


This wharfies hook was used by the late Rob Clyde of Port Melbourne. Clyde worked on Melbourne’s waterfront for more than 40 years. Wharf workers used these hooks to help lift and guide loads of cargo shipped in hessian bags. Men would often lift heavy loads which would be more than their own body weight. As containerisation was introduced in the late 1960s, the shipping industry changed dramatically and goods such as bags of wheat and flour were no longer hauled individually. The hook has had an iconic status as the symbol of work on the wharves, hence the title ‘Under the hook’ (1982) of the book by Wendy Lowenstein and Tom Hills based on oral history interviews with former wharfies.