ITELLYA IS A STICKY BEAK: JOSEPH PORTA, THE LADY SURVEYOR AND JAMES DAVEY'S CORAL-COVERED COAL.
ITELLYA DON'T LIKE MYSTERIES
AND READS EVERY HISTORY BOARD HE SEES.
THINGS THAT SEEM LIKE COINCIDENCE
FIT TOGETHER, MAKING SENSE.
Entering the Rosebud West Bowling Club for a Rosebud Rockers dance, I saw an article pinned on the notice board with a picture of a footballer. My wife bought me a jumper years ago; it had "Football is Life" in large letters on it, which showed (a) that my wife understood me and (b)why I just had to look at the article. It was about Ron Porta, who had brought back Somerville Football Club's glory days and had recently died. The bulb lit up. I had seen that surname on my Moorooduc parish map. Ron's wife and brother had never heard of lot 63 Moorooduc but trove proved that Joseph Porta, Ron's ancestor, had been near Somerville a century before Ron coached the side.
I have mentioned the lady surveyor in reference to Bernard Eaton in the RED HILL PIONEER journal. The information on that history board became etched in my memory bank because I knew well the difficulty of just walking in the mountainous terrain near Blackwood. I imagined the difficulty of carrying out a meticulous task like ensuring that levels were spot on so that water would flow for miles, with only gravity to propel it, along races such as the one that the Byers Back Track follows to O'Brien's Crossing. I imagined her tripping over fallen branches and bracken fern, exposed tree roots and protruding reef rock (unseen because of her ankle length dress), which would have been fatal if it happened where the race went around a huge granite boulder about an arm's length from a plunge of a hundred metres into the Lerderderg Gorge. How the author of "Those Courageous Hardy Women" would have loved a story like that to demonstrate how courageous and hardy the female pioneers were near Sorrento. At Greendale, between the Western Highway and Blackwood, there is a Shuter St. I wonder how many Greendale residents know how the street got its name. What a coincidence that there is a street with the same name just south of Puckle St in Moonee Ponds! "Oh really!" as Sam Newman would say. Read about Charles Shuter in Alexander Sutherland's "Victoria and Its Metropolis: Past and Present" (1888.)
The last item was the result of coincidence, just sheer good luck. I usually listen to another station, but on another radio, tuned to 3RPP, the local peninsula station, I heard some good music so as I started the computer, I switched the set nearby to RPP. The next stroke of luck was that I needed to free up some disk space and while that was happening, the next program "Beyond Infinity" commenced. The first discussion in this science program was about a comet that a Professor from Newcastle said crashed into the sea near New Zealand.It caused a giant tidal wave that formed chevrons (spearhead shaped sand dunes)all around the south east coast, 90 metres above sea level and well inland. The theory that aborigines made middens on clifftops was debunked as the same shells were found in cliff faces and buried in concrete-like chevrons. Why was this of more than scientific interest to me? It was only last night while trying to confirm or disprove a theory (that the Davey pioneers of Frankston and near Red Hill were related)that I came across the curious tale of James Davey, son of Mr J.Davey of Balnarring, finding a large lump of coal covered with coral near a creek near "Warrawee" about a mile from the coast. There was great curiosity about how it came to be there. My thought at the time of reading this article was that somebody had found it on the beach but discarded it when his friends displayed a "So? Whatever!" attitude to his unusual find. (See Mornington Standard, 15-10-1896 page 2, 2nd last column.)
Now I think we have an explanation of how the coral-covered coal came to be a mile inland!
on 2012-01-09 21:18:39
Itellya is researching local history on the Mornington Peninsula and is willing to help family historians with information about the area between Somerville and Blairgowrie. He has extensive information about Henry Gomm of Somerville, Joseph Porta (Victoria's first bellows manufacturer) and Captain Adams of Rosebud.