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History of Victoria Harbour

Image shows HMS Tamar at anchor in Victoria Harbour in 1905.  The name was later used for the Royal Navy Port which was retired prior to the 1997 handover of Hong Kong to the People's Republic of China.

Originally known simply as Hong Kong Harbour the area was renamed in the 1850s to Victoria Harbour as was common at the time.

A naturally occurring harbour it had been in use as an anchorage since the times at least of the 15th century when Hong Kong was a major trading post for fragrant cedar wood logs, hence the name which translated as "Fragrant Harbour".

The Victoria Harbour we see today however is greatly changed its original and natural historic shape. Almost as soon the start of British Colonial rule various types of reclamation were introduced to widen the usable area of land both on the Kowloon and on the Hong Kong Island side. This has naturally lead to a change in the shape and character of the harbour.

Today all the coastline that can be seen is artificial in some way, with even islands such as Stonecutter's becoming joined to the mainland, and "Ferry Street" now being well inland!

Sadly the harbour has also been the location of some sad events including several shipwrecks, some with loss of life.  The most famous ship to sink in the harbour though was RMS Queen Elizabeth which sank in 1972.  The location is now underneath the Container Terminal 9 which is of course part of the reclamation.