RAILWAYS ON THE MORNINGTON PENINSULA, (Red Hill- Bittern etc.), VIC., AUST.
There's a Station St and an equestrian trail to remind us of the Red Hill-Bittern railway. Centrepoint now occupies the site of the Red Hill Station. When I tell people about the Railway Estate in Dromana they think I'm mad. Where the heck was Kennedy's corner past which Red Hill residents walked to the train before the Red Hill line was built? These are the thoughts that popped into my head when I read STEAMY PICS KEY TO NEW LINE OF INQUIRY (P. 30,Mornington News, 30-7-2013.) The article also appeared on page 8 of the 25-7-2013 issue of the Southern Peninsula News.
The Mornington Peninsula Shire has commissioned a heritage management plan for the Red Hill-Bittern line and would like assistance to add to the scarce collection of photos (of trains, stations, bridges, goods being loaded or unloaded,passengers, railway staff etc) as well as tickets,other relevant material and information about operations. If you can help, contact the Shire's heritage planner, Simon Lloyd (firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 1300 850 600.)
The following chronology outlines the agitation for railway services on the Peninsula. You will come to understand why it took so long for Red Hill to get its railway. After the chronology will appear articles about
stations on the Bittern to Red Hill line. The chronology may take some time to complete. It will need to deal with Mornington Junction (Baxter) and the railway league's success with the Mornington line, Mt Eliza's opposition to a direct route and of course the likelihood of a line to Dromana before 1890.
It usually took about 20 years from the start of agitation before railway communication was achieved. People wanted the railway but owing to the hilly hinterland, and arguments about routes, deputations were usually speaking for the local good rather than for the peninsula as a whole. Somerville developed rapidly after its station was built and special trains carried huge crowds from far afield for its famed Fruitgrowers' Show. The original Langwarrin Township died when bypassed by the railway but was revived by Nathaniel Pearce after whom the township was renamed. Mornington station helped those living as far away as Rosebud West, fishermen, rabbit trappers and passengers, with the help of such as Lou Anderson, Harry Cains and Jimmy Williams who transported cargo and people in their traps, Rosebud passengers waiting at the Meeting Tree. Keith McGregor replaced his trap with a Ford T Model Ford van and soon buses were started by such as Dyson and Whitaker.
Unfortunately the decision to build the Red Hill railway came after the foundation of the Country Roads Board and a combination of better roads, the aforementioned buses (direct to Melbourne) picking up Red Hill folk at Moat's Corner, and painfully slow trains caused peninsula people to become motor-minded (as a future Acting Prime Minister put it.)
Baxter was known as Mornington Junction, for there the Stony Point and Mornington lines branched off. A direct route to Mornington was abandoned, as a compromise, in the 1880's and a direct electric railway about 70 years later due to opposition from Frankston and Mt Eliza.
Housing Estates, better access roads and infrastructure such as stockyards, cranes and coolstores followed the building of a station. Being at the end of a line, Red Hill Station required a turntable.
THE FRANKSTON RAILWAY,
The new line of railway from Caulfield to Frankston will be formally opened on Monday by the Minister of Railways. The first section as far as Mordialloc was opened for traffic on the 19th December last, but the
whole of the line has now been completed. The length of the line is 20 miles. etc.
(P.13, Argus, 29-7-1882.)
A public meeting of tho Schnapper Point Railway League was held in the Mornington Athenaeum on Saturday evening, to take into consideration the prospect of the extension of the line of railway from Frankston to Mornington, and also as to the route........
The subject of the railway route was then discussed, and the plan of it, produced by the secretary, was examined. It showed that the route last adopted by the Government, round Mount Eliza and by Baxter's flat, is
considerably longer than by the route known as Wilkinson's survey and over the Mount, the additional distance being between two and three miles.
Mr ALLCHIN then addressed the meeting, and concluded by moving that in the interest of tho whole district the route known as Wilkinson's Survey be adopted. (P.10, Argus, 10-7-1883.)
Eventually, Mr Allchin, and others who preferred the direct route, saw the sense of the line going through Mornington Junction so that the residents on the Westernport side, and Mornington, could both get a railway service.
THE MORNINGTON LINE
A public meeting, convened and presided over by Mr J Thompson, JP, the shire president, to consider the omission from the Government Railway Bill of the lines from Frankston to Hastings and Mornington,
was held in the shire hall today. (P.3, Argus, 20-10-1884.)
The following is a letter written in 1885 but it concerns agitation that had been underway in 1876. John Keys was a grantee of much land in the parish of Lyndhurst between Mordialloc Creek and the National Water Sports Centre. He probably also owned land in neighbouring parishes such as Mordialloc (for which an online map is not available.) Why would he be working on behalf of Mornington residents? I think there are three reasons. The parish of Lyndhurst contained the Carrum Swamp which was good for dairying but due to frequent flooding, few settlers, such as Frankston's Mark Young, stayed long or erected dwellings there. Keys may have planned to get a line as far as his area so his milk could be sent to Melbourne.It is significant that his endeavours finished in 1879. Much of Lyndhurst was in large holdings, owned by such as the Keys and McMahens, with some owners probably absentees,leasing to poor subsistent farmers. The population was low and did not contain many men of influence. As the land west of the present highway near Mornington,in the parish of Moorooduc, was alienated in smaller allotments, the pier attracted business, and prominent academics and businessmen were drawn by the clifftop views, Mornington's population was numerous,prosperous and influential. Keys probably thought that their support would speed construction of the line to Mordialloc, which was probably the portion of the line approved in 1879. The crossing over Carrum Creek required the building of "Patterson's Folly" so-named because people believed the bridge named after the politician would not survive. This was probably the main reason the line did not reach Frankston until 1882. The Carrum Creek is now called the Patterson River.
To the Editor of the S. B.& M. Journal.
SIR.- In your issue of the 31st ultimo there appeared a letter from Mr. H. F.Norton,(from Phillip Island-itellya) in answer to your Mornington correspondent, re the apathy shown by the Mornington representatives re railway communication to Mornington. Having acted for six years as secretary to the Mornington Railway League, and having during that time and since been brought in close contact with Messrs. Balfour,Dobson and Buchanan, M.L.C.'s, and Mr.Gibb, M.L.A., I can fully endorse all that has been said by Mr. Norton as to the valuable services rendered by each of these gentlemen at all times and on all occasions. In my opinion the cause of the non-inclusion of the line to Mornington in the Bill recently laid before the Assembly is not to be laid at the door of Mr.Gibb but was owing to the want of unity on the part of the residents of the Point, who could not agree amongst themselves as to the route. I have no hesitation in saying had they abandoned the insane idea of route along the coast the line would have been included in the Bill from Baxter's Flat. There is another part of Mr. Norton's letter which I wish to refer to, and for which I beg to thank him for directing the attention of the people in the Mornington district to their indebtedness to me for the services rendered and cash paid by me on account of the League. It is possible that the inhabitants of the Mornington district may not be aware of the amount of their indebtedness to me, and to dispel their ignorance on this subject I will now,through the columns of your valuable paper, do what the members of the League ought to have done long ago-place before them the amount of their debt to me with the hope that they will at once take steps to liquidate it.
On the 6th October, 1876, I was appointed Secretary and Treasurer to the League, which was in active operation up to December,1879, when we succeeded in getting the first instalment of the line scheduled to
Frankston. At that time the League was indebted to me in the sum of £1017s.4d. Since then I have received from Mr.Jones*, of Somerville, £14 10s., leaving a balance due to me of £136 11s. 4d. Considering that the bulk of this is cash out of my pocket, and that I am not personally benefitted to the extent of one shilling in the construction of the line, I think it is high time that I was recouped by those who have benefitted by its construction to a considerable extent, and I feel sure that their sense of honor will at once cause them, now that it is brought under their notice, to pay off their liability. I will forego £50 of the amount due to me if the balance is paid within say three or four months.-Yours faithfully,JOHN KEYS. Dandenong, 2nd January, 1885.
We do not perceive what reason there can be on the part of Mr. Keys to forego 50 pounds. It seems to us rather that he ought to be paid £50 for the energetic and efficient manner in which he conducted the business. We are glad the subject has been brought up, as we do not suppose that Mr. Keys would have done otherwise than put up with the loss.--E.] (P.3, South Bourke and Mornington Journal,7-1-1885.)
*Alf Jones, of Almond Bush Stud in Somerville,went to Canada with his parents while almost into his teens, and after coming to Victoria, with Hodgins (Hastings pioneer) and McCurley, two other Canadians, cut timber and carted it along Boundary Rd to its end where it was rowed to the Liverpool, anchored a mile offshore, which transported it to Melbourne. The boundary between the Moorooduc and Frankston parishes is now called Canadian Bay Rd. (Victoria and Its Metropolis, 1888 and Mt Eliza History by Mr Mann, 1926.)
In reference to the Mornington line of railway, communications have been received that corroborate the rumours alluded to in my last letter. viz., that tenders for the construction of the Mornington branch would not be included in the tenders shortly to be called for the Hastings and Crib Point line as promised to the two last deputations by Mr. Speight. This has given great umbrage and dissatisfaction to the whole district and it is not improbable that a large and influential deputation of the Railway League, Parliamentary representatives and the Shire Council will be organised and wait upon the Railway Commissioners with a view to the promises so made being adhered to.
The Mornington League at once took action and since writing the foregoing, interviews have taken place with
Mr. Speight and the Commissioner by Messrs. C. J. Jenner, J. Balfour, L. L.Smith and R. Watson (the chairman of
the Mornington Railway League), in each of which Mr. Speight has explained that in consequence of the Department not being ready to call tenders for the Crib Point line and Mornington branch together, the calling for or letting the latter would be simply delayed until the former was completed to the junction, but then the Mornington line would be ready and let and completed simultaneously with the Hastings line in November next year, and in time for the summer season. This was considered by a section of the residents to be satisfactory and a deputation unnecessary, but a public meeting was held in the Mechanics' Institute on Saturday evening last to consider the advisability or otherwise of further action.
(P.3, South Bourke and Mornington Journal, 3-8-1887.)
PROPOSED RAILWAY TO DROMANA,
SORRENTO, AND POINT NEPEAN.
A deputation waited upon Mr Gillies, Minister of Railways yesterday, to urge the desirability of constructing a branch line from the Frankston and Hastings railway to Dromana, Sorrento, and Point Nepean. Sir W J Clarke,
M L C , Dr Dobson, M L C ,and Mr Coppin, M L A supported the application. It was pointed out that the line would give communication all the year round to a district at present isolated during the winter months and it would bring about an improvement in the fish supply of Melbourne. The lime industry at Sorrento would also be benefited. In the event of a federal quarantine station being established, a smaller area of land would suffice for the quarantine station at the Heads which might be transferred to Mud Island, and the present quarantine ground could be cut up into villa allotments and sold by public auction, as it would make a charming seaside resort.
Mr Gillies said he knew something about the district and was well aware that a railway would be of great advantage. The first step however, in the way of railway construction was to make an examination of the
country, and he would have that done. (P.4, Argus, 26-4-1888.)
A party of Government surveyors have arrived at Mornington and camped at Balcombe Creek, for the purpose of making a trial survey of railway line from Mornington to Dromana and Sorrento.
(The Caulfield and Elsternwick Leader (North Brighton, Vic. : 1888 - 1902) Saturday 26 May 1888 p 6 Article)
George Coppin, a Richmond resident, had a personal stake because Sorrento was the resort he had created and Sir William Clarke (Big Clarke's son)had inherited all of Jamieson's Special Survey apart from John Vans Agnew Bruce's 1000 or so acres north of Tassells Creek (Martha Cove Waterway.)
A request preferred by Mr. L. L. Smith,M.L.A., on behalf of the residents of Flinders and other places interested in the Crib Point line, for a noonday train in addition to the present morning and evening service to and from Hastings, has been favourably entertained by the Railway Commissioners,but Messrs. D. Munro and Co., the contractors for the construction of the line, intimate that their present traffic arrangements are
only temporary,and that they will be compelled to stop running their passenger trains directly the ballasting commences. They cannot therefore undertake to make any satisfactory arrangement for the conveyance of mail between Mornington Junction and Hastings. Under these circumstances the postal authorities state that the proposed additional mail to Hastings cannot be carried until the railway line is taken over by the Government. The line has been ballasted for about a mile beyond Somerville, and the metal rails laid a mile beyond Hastings. It is considered extremely doubtful whether the line will be completed through to Crib Point
by Easter.(P.7, Argus, 14-2-1889.)
THE HASTINGS AND CRIB POINT RAILWAY.
The time for completing the railway from Frankston to Hastings and Crib Point, according to contract expired on
November 1, 1888, and to all appearances it will be months still, at the present rate at which work is progressing, before this portion of the line can be taken over by the Government from the contractors.The material for ballasting has still to be quarried and then crushed. The line is completed and in the hands of the Government as far as the junction where the two branches, one to Hastings and the other to Mornington, diverge. The part from the junction to Hastings is still in the hands of the contractors, who are allowed to run trains on their own account, and it is with the management of this portion of the line that fault is
There is only one passenger train daily to and from Melbourne ; there is a fish train in the morning, the down
train coming in at 9.40 a.m., and the up train returning in 10 minutes afterwards. The charge from Hastings to the junction is altogether out of proportion to the usual rate of railway fares, being 3s. for about nine miles. There is no distinction between first and second-class passengers, and no return tickets are issued.
The railway arrangements affect those of the post-office to a great degree. There is only one delivery, and one despatch daily. The Postmaster-General has agreed to a second, but this can not come into force until the Government have taken over this portion of the line. The post office is closed here for the receipt of letters, etc. at 9 a.m. and the down mail is not delivered for more than an hour after that, so that if one wants to
answer a letter the day he receives it he must use the telegraph ; otherwise, if the reply be posted after 9 in the morning, it will not be delivered until the afternoon of the following day in Melbourne. Great dissatisfac- tion is expressed by the residents at the existing state of the postal and railway arrangements, and with much cause. That such should be the case within 40 miles of Melbourne, and with railway communication the
whole distance, is not in keeping with modern ideas, commercial or otherwise.
(P.3, South Bourke and Mornington Standard, 1-5-1889.)
The above articles raise an important function of the railways, the carrying of mail and newspapers.
It didn't take long before the first fatal accident occurred at Mornington Junction (Baxter.)
The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957) Monday 13 May 1889 p 10 Article
... THE RAILWAY ACCIDENT AT MORNINGTON. THE INQUEST ON THE GUARD. Mr. Gaudier held an inquest at the Alfred Hospital on Saturday on the body of John Sims Ward, a guard in the employ of the Railway department, who was killed at the Mornington Junction station on Wednesday night by the collision between etc.
There are a large number of visitors here, and a crowd of workmen, tradesmen engaged in the various buildings in progress, and laborers working on the railway line and stations, to be prepared for the opening day, which, given fine weather, will be a busy one for Mornington. I am told that the demand for tickets for both banquet and ball is going good, and that both will be a success. Arrangements are being made to give the more notable visitors a generous and courteous reception, but I am sorry to say there will be some two or three gentlemen who have worked and greatly assisted in obtaining railway communication for Mornington, who will not be able to be present. I allude more particularly to His Honor Judge Webb, R. Watson, Esq.,chairman of the Mornington Railway League, and one whom the whole colony mourn, viz., the recently deceased Sir J.Lorimer. The two former gentlemen are away in Europe, one in search of health,and the other on important business in connection with the progress of the district, and both gentlemen, although absent, will, on their return, hail with pleasure the opening of the line, and the late improvements to the township and neighborhood. (P.2, South Bourke and Mornington Journal, 11-9-1889.)
N.B. Robert Watson was advised to move to the seaside for the sake of his health and bought James Hearn's grants which extended along the Mt Martha coast from Balcombe Creek to Hearn Rd and east to the Tubbarubba diggings. During the boom of the latter 1880's he subdivided the coastal area but sales were affected by the 1890's depression, with much of the area becoming two Fairbairn farms. Watson Rd is on the grounds he retained around his homestead. (Shire of Mornington Heritage Study.)
OPENING OF THE RAILWAY TO MORNINGTON.
From our own Correspondent.
The long looked for opening of the above railway took place on the 10th inst., the day being generally kept as a holiday. The township presented quite a gay appearance, being decorated with flags for the occasion; and there was a large concourse of spectators present at the terminus to witness the arrival of the train containing the invited guests from Melbourne. The party was met by the President and Councillors of the Shire, and the former read over an address of welcome to the visitors, after which Dr.Pearson and several other gentlemen were driven round the township, meeting afterwards at the Mechanics' Institute, where a banquet had been prepared for the occasion, to which about eighty gentlemen sat down, The Shire President(Councillor Down- ward) presided, having on his right the Hons. Dr. Pearson, Dr. Dobson and other gentlemen;and on his left Dr. L L.Smith with the Presidents and ex-Presidents of the adjoining Shires, Messrs.Martin, Poole and Cain. .......
The Hon. Dr. Dobson (who was suffering from a severe cold) briefly responded on behalf of the Legislative Council. He said that the people of Mornington had at last obtained their long looked for railway line; but they had another battle to fight,and that was to bring their beautiful township within the suburban radius-to obtain the running of one or more Sunday trains. He had long known Schnapper Point, and at a meeting held at the Royal hotel-then Mr. Rennison's-twenty-five years ago he had advocated a railway line to that place, and as their representative in the Legislative Council, in conjunction with the Mornington Railway League, he had done all in his power to connect that place with one of the greatest commercial cities of the world. He was delight- ed at the success with which their efforts had been crowned, and it afforded him a vast amount of pleasure in being present at the opening of the Mornington railway.(Cheers.).....
Councillor Irvine proposed "Success to the Mornington railway," and said that when the line was thrown out by the Assembly the first man to move for its being reinstated was the late Sir James Lorimer-(dissent)-whose recent loss the country deplored. The Rev. J. Caldwell, who responded to the toast, said that he was an Irishman-(cheers)-and a fifteen years resident of Mornington. (Lond cheers.) He had taken a personal interest in the Mornington railway; also in other improvements to the place.
(P.3, South Bourke and Mornington Journal, 18-9-1889.)
Dr Pearson made the first speech,responding to a toast to the ministry, incredibly praising the opposition for its constructive criticism, but then raved on about the books used to teach children to read and hardly mentioned the railway. You will note that I abandoned correcting the text of his speech. The Irish Rev. James Caldwell, a Presbyterian minister, was upset that the "secular" facet of the 1872 Education Act precluded the use of the Bible to teach reading and also opposed Dr Dobson's desire that Sunday trains come to Mornington. Mornington residents shared Caldwell's grief soon after when his wife died and his sons drowned after a football game at Mordialloc. His speech specifies the contribution that Sir James Lorimer had made. James Caldwell wrote a letter in 1885 (P.3, South Bourke and Mornington Journal, 7-1-1885) denying that parliamentarians had been inactive regarding Mornington's railway and praising Hon. J.Balfour.
An accident happened on Friday evening last to Mr L. Anderson's fish waggon,running between Rosebud and the
Mornington Railway Station. Whilst travelling over Mount Martha some part of the harness gave way, and one of the horses being a young one took fright, and the pair became unmanageable. They were brought to a standstill by the waggon colliding with the bank on the roadside.The vehicle was overturned, and the baskets of fish were scattered in the road.Just at this time the evening coach to Dromana came up, and, with the help of the coach driver, Mr Anderson was able to set the waggon again in its proper position, and go on his way fortunately with little damage done.(P.3, Mornington Standard,19-10-1889.)
RAILWAY TIME TABLE.
MELBOURNE TO FRANKSTON AND MORNINGTON.
Melbourne, dep.-7.10 a.m.-*9.10-12.20p.m.-*1.20-2.15-*4.45-*6.35-9.35 *11.25.
Frankston, arr.-8.27 a.m.-10.30-1.40p.m.- 2.40-3.35 -6.5-7.55-10.55 -12.45.
Frankston, dep.-10.35 a.m.-2.45 p.m.6.10-8.2-12.50.
Langwarrin; dep.-10.45 a.m.-2.55 p.m.-6.20-8.12-1.0.
Mornington Junction, dep.--10.50 am.-3.0 p.m.-6.25-8.17-1.5. '
Moorooduc, dep.--11.2 a.m.-3-.12 p.m.-6.37-8.29-1.17 .
Mornington, arr.--11-.15 a.m.-3.25 p.m.-6.50--8.42-1.30.
*Those marked with an asterisk run through to Mornington.
(P.4, Mornington Standard, 30-11-1889.)
From N. Rudduck, Dromana, asking for repairs of 3-chain road leading to proposed Wesleyan parsonage, on Railway estate, Dromana.-The secretary had effected temporary repairs.
(P.3, Mornington Standard, 11-1-1890.)
SATURDAY, JANUARY 3.
At Two O'clock. On the Ground.
RAILWAY ESTATE.RAILWAY ESTATE, RAILWAY ESTATE, DROMANA. DROMANA. DROMANA.
43 ALLOTMENTS 48
Charming Situation. Beautiful Sea Views. Picturesque Mountain Scenery.
HARRY A. DERHAM has been instructed to SELL by PUBLIC AUCTION, on the ground, on 3rd January, the balance of allotments in this desirable estate on remarkably easy terms, viz. :
£5 DEPOSIT EACH ALLOTMENT, Balance in bills at 3, 6,9, 12,15, and l8 months, interest 6 per cent. Title Certificate.
(P.2, Argus, 24-12-1890.)
N.B. RAILWAY ESTATE, THREE CHAIN ROAD, WESLEYAN PARSONAGE.
The railway estate was the subdivision of Crown allotment 13, Section 1 Kangerong. This consisted of 36 acres 3 roods 29 perches and was bounded by Palmerston Avenue, Jetty Rd and Boundary Rd. Mrs Mary Ann Dyson, Mrs Sarah Ann Griffiths and Mrs Frances Pidoto were three people assessed in 1919 on blocks in the Railway estate which were specified in each case as being "part c/a 13, Sect.1, Kangerong."
Palmerston Avenue is labelled "Main Road" on the Kangerong parish map that can be accessed online by entering "Kangerong, County of Mornington. This was the three chain road mentioned by Nelson Rudduck.
A stalwart of the Methodist Church in Dromana, Red Hill and Rosebud, Nelson Rudduck financed the Wesleyan parsonage,which is mentioned in the Shire of Flinders Heritage Study and hopefully is still standing. It was on Palmerston Avenue.
DISSATISFACTION IN THE COUNTRY.
Very great dissatisfaction is being expressed by the residents of Hastings, Tyabb,and Somerville at the new railway timetable which comes into operation on Monday next. By the new arrangement only two trains instead of three will be run daily, the first of which will arrive at Prince's-bridge at 2.10 p.m. instead of 9.45 a.m. as heretofore. As most of the residents of Somerville and Tyabb are market gardeners and fruitgrowers, the new arrangement will greatly inconvenience them, as it will be next to impossible for them to transact their business and return the same evening by the last train leaving Prince's-bridge at 6.10 p.m. Residents express themselves as satisfied with two trains a day provided they were more conveniently arranged. During the last three months the business at these stations has increased 50 per cent, and there is every prospect of it still further increasing, as settlers are arriving every week. Last month the receipts at the Somerville station alone reached £142 14s. 8d., and upwards of 900 passengers were booked. (P.8, Argus, 7-5-1892.)
See Bittern Station at end.
A BIG FRUIT SUPPLY.
The returns of the produce raised in this district during the last season show an increase on last year, owing no doubt to the heavy crop of apricots. In the month of January no less than 5,561 cases of fruit were forwarded by rail. For the six months the returns are - Somerville Station 23,728 cases of fruit, 5,824 bags and 347 crates of vegetables, and 1,8941 tons of firewood. Tyabb Station - 5,713 cases of fruit, 2,526 bags and 49 crates of vegetables, and 547 tons of firewood. Moorooduc - 79 cases of fruit, 384 tons of firewood. etc.
(P.6, Argus, 4-9-1896.)
Railway to Red Hill.
At the urgent request of a number of fruitgrowers in the neighborhood of Red Hill, the members of the old com-
mittee of the Mornington Peninsula Central Railway League met in the Red Hill schoolhouse on Wednesday evening last week to consider what steps could be taken to obtain a railway into the district. It was urged that on ac-
count of the great increase in the fruit growing industry of late, particularly in that of strawberries, for which the district is especially suitable, and which require speedy transit to market owing to their perishable nature, that a railway is urgently needed. This season several of the growers have planted from twenty to thirty thousand plants, so that at the present time there are between 400,0000 and 500,000 plants in the district, and the number is increasing. Others are preparing land with the intention of planting as soon
as they can procure the plants. The output of other fruits is also steadily increasing, as the young trees come
into bearing, and other produce, such as hay, grain or vegetables could be equally well grown if there were a way of getting it to market. Hundreds of acres of land, now devoted to depasturing a few head of cattle could be intensely and profitably cultivated. At present everything has to be carted to Mornington, Bittern or Melbourne over roads that are almost impassable, and sometimes never good, entailing such labor and loss of time that many only grow what they need for their own use, and so the place remains almost at a
If the line surveyed and passed some 8 or 9 years ago were constructed it would put life into the district and develop a great industry that would need no bonus to encourage it. There need be no fear that the line would not pay, as the whole peninsula could be turned into a great market garden, out of which a constant stream
of produce would flow, and until then the timber would be a valuable aid to the traffic. A public meeting has been called for Saturday next at 7.30 p.m. to see what steps can be taken to further the project, when there should be a large attendance. (P.2,Mornington Standard, 22-6-1899.)
Railway to Red Hill.
On Saturday evening last a public meeting of the residents of Red Hill and surrounding district was held in a
large barn belonging to Mr. H P.Davey, of Forest Lodge, which he had very kindly lent for the occasion. The
meeting was convened for the purpose of considering the best means of getting a railway into the district, and notwithstanding the very unfavorable state of the weather there were about fifty present, nearly all of whom are fruitgrowers.
Mr F. Harrison was voted to the chair. A letter was read from Mr Downward,M.L.A., regretting his inability to attend the meeting; also from Cr Baldry regretting that the present state of his health prevented him from being present, and generously offering to help if needed financially. The chairman in his opening address spoke of the great need of a railway in the district, and that the amount of fruit grown, especially strawberries,
justified the growers in asking for a line. He had never seen finer fruit than that grown about Red Hill, and if the strawberries, which cannot be surpassed, could only be placed on the Sydney market they would fetch prices that would pay handsome. He thought that if the residents stated their case and the Government looked into the matter they would soon see the justice of the claim for a railway.
Mr Mcllroy spoke of the great improvements made in the district during the last nine years. At that time
when they were agitating for a continuation of the line from Baxter's Plat to Merricks, within a radius of 3 miles of Merricks there was 232 acres of orchard and 700 of other cultivation. Now, he believed, the orchards were about twice that area, and now there were about 400,000 plants in the district, and land being prepared to increase the quantity. He also spoke of the necessity of a railway to open up the district. The Shire of Flinders and Kangerong contains an area of 184 square miles, with a population of 2540, many of whom are young people just thinking of making homes for themselves, and a railway would be the means of keeping them in the district, and dividing the holdings, instead of compelling them to leave, as some of them have already done, because there are no means of getting produce to a market, and therefore no profit in producing anything.
He trusted they would all let their voices be heard and help the cause to the best of their ability.
After some others had spoken in the same strain it was unanimously resolved,"that this meeting is of opinion that we should apply for a railway." It was also resolved that on account of lapse of time the old league should be considered defunct, and that a new league should be formed, to be called the Mornington Peninsula Central Railway League. It was also resolved that Mr A. E. Bennett be elected secretary, Mr R. Sheehan treasurer, and Mr F. Harrison be chairman of the league. It was also resolved that Messrs J and J. Bayne, A. Head, J.Wiseman, H. P. Davey, J.C.Griffith, N. Prossor, W. H. Blakely, G. (Meakin?), J. Shand, W. J. and J. McIlroy be elected a committee to carry out the wishes of the league. The meeting closed with a vote of thanks to Mr Davey for the use of the room, and also to the chairman. (P.3, Mornington Standard, 29-6-1899.)
Accredited representatives of the Mornington Peninsula Central Railway League, accompanied by Mr. Knox, M.L.C., and Mr.Downward, M.L.A., approached the Minister of Railways yesterday, and asked that the proposal to construct a railway from Baxter's Flat to Merricks should be referred to the Railways Standing Committee for consideration and report, it was about 14 miles in length, would not be expensive to construct, would open up a good district where almost anything could be grown, and would prove a profitable line. The original railway should never have been diverted to Mornington, but should have been extended through the centre of the peninsula.
Mr. H.R.Williams replied that he could hold out no hope at present of granting their request. He had closed his list of lines for reference to the committee, and did not intend to add to it. He would,however, send an officer to the district to report on the prospects of the line. He might ask the committee next session to
consider the proposal. (P.4, Argus,27-10-1899.)
No report of a meeting appointing the "accredited representatives" has been found on trove; perhaps Sheila Skidmore obtained her information from the Peninsula Post.On P.51-2 of THE RED HILL, she stated that the deputation was to consist of W.H.Blakeley, Mr(H.P.)Davey, William McIlroy and Thomas Cleine. They were to meet at Blakeley's premises in Lonsdale St in Melbourne.
THROUGH SOUTHERN PORTION OF PENINSULA,MEETING AT RED HILL.
The ball has once more been set rolling as regards an agitation for a railway through the southern part of the
Mornington Peninsula. A meeting, which had been called by Mr W. J.McIlroy, was held in the Red Hill State school on the evening of Friday July 4th. With the exception of a few representatives from other places the attendants consisted of residents of Red Hill. Mr Head was voted to the chair and Mr W. Oswin appointed sec
retary pro. tem. After speeches urging the necessity of a strong agitation to secure the much needed railway, to which boon the district certainly has some very forcible claims, were made by Messrs Head, McIlroy and Oswin,and a letter which had been addressed to Mr McIlroy by Mr Morley, secretary of the Sorrento Progress Association, stating that the people of Sorrento would be glad to co-operate in agitating for a railway, and asking for information as to what course of action was decided upon at the meeting had been read, the following resolution was carried:--" That in consequence of the "Flinders Peninsula Railway League" having failed to effectively push the claims of this district to a railway, this meeting approves of the formation of a new league to be called the " Mornington Peninsula Railway League."
Some discussion then took place re the constitution of the league. Most of the speakers were of opinion that it
was inadvisable to elect a committee consisting of representatives from the various townships interested, as some of the members would then have to travel a considerable distance to attend the meetings. It seemed to be the general opinion that a branch of the league, with a separate working committee should be formed in each place and that delegates for a united conference or a deputation should be appointed when required. A resolution,that a central committee he appointed in Red Hill and that other districts be invited to co-operate was carried. The following office-bearers were elected President, Mr Head; vice president,Mr Hoskins;secretary. Mr W. J.Mcllroy; committee, Meesrs Bennett,T. Cleine, Holmes, W. Oswin, Shand and Wiseman. It was decided that no membership subscription be charged, but that money should be collected when required.
(P.2, Mornington Standard, 12-7-1902.)
Railway Extension through the Peninsula.
A meeting of the Mornington Peninsula Railway League was held in the Flinders Mechanics' Institute last Saturday, when representatives from Red Hill, Dromana, Boneo, Cape Schanck, Flinders, Shoreham, and Balnarring were present. Mr C. T. Cooke was voted to the chair. After reading the notice of the meeting, the secretary
(Mr Maxwell), read a letter from Mr Downward, M.L.A., apologising for not having accepted an invitation
to be present, owing to other engagements. At the outset, it was urged by Mr Sharp that statistics should be
gathered from the various districts interested, in view of the enquiry which would be made by the Railways Standing Committee. After a general discussion on several matters regarding the agitation, in which Messrs. Nowlan, Rudduck, Anderson, and other gentlemen took part, it was resolved, on the motion of Messrs. Rudduck and Anderson, " That the League respectfully request the Premier to refer the extension of the Railway through the Mornington Peninsula to the railways Standing Committee as early as possible," and on the motion of Messrs Cooke and Nowlan, Mr Downward is to be asked to present the above resolution. On the proposition of Mr Anderson, seconded by Mr Sharp, the following were appointed to collect statistics for submission to the Standing Committee :
Messrs M'Ilroy, Red Hill; M. Higgins, Shoreham; L. Wilding, Flinders; D.Cairns, Boneo; R. Anderson, Cape
Schanck ; W. Oswin; Balnarring; . W.Rudduck, Dromana; and Baldry; Main Ridge.
(P.2, Mornington Standard, 48-10-1904.)
PROPOSED FLINDERS LINE.
The report of tho Railway Standing Committee on the proposed line to Flinders was laid on the table of the Legislative Assembly yesterday by the chairman (Mr Graham). The report stated that the committee was of opinion, in view of the large annual loss estimated, that it was not expedient to construct a railway, either to Flinders or Red Hill. The estimates of the cost of the various routes suggested were: - Mornington via Red Hill and Kangerong to Flinders £130 000, Moorooduc via Red Hill and Kangerong to Flinders £117,000, Somerville via Red Hill and Kangerong to Flinders, £117 000, Bittern via Red Hill and Kangerong to Flinders £110 000, and Bittern via coast of Westernport to Flinders, £97,500.
(P.8, Argus, 12-12-1906.) N.B. The article also contains further details regarding losses on each route, loading of rates and the Commonwealth's opinion that the railway was not of enough military benefit to justify any contribution.
A mob of sheep, totalling 1550 in thirteen trucks, was forwarded from Bittern railway station this week to
Werribee. They were a portion of the starving sheep, belonging to the Metropolitan Board of Works farm, which had to be sent away in February for grass. This lot had been grazing on C.T. Cooke's Cape Schanck station, at Flinders, and looked well, the change evidently agreeing with them.
(P.2, Mornington Standard,30-5-1908.)
A Flinders meeting saw agreement for the areas to combine
In "open route" agitation for a railway line.
Discussion turned to "loading" (extra rates to support the cost),
But disputes about routes soon saw co-operation lost.
(Pasted from CHRONOLOGY IN VERSE (1900-1920), ARTHURS SEAT,VIC., AUST.)
HASTINGS. Hon. P. McBride, Minister of Railways, travelled from Flinders to Dromana and back to Shoreham via Red Hill, accompanied by his wife and Mr Sidney Smith, on Friday. He is now, no doubt, well posted as to the great advantages of running a railway line from Moorooduc or Mornington Junction to Flinders. The country is good for both timber, fruit, and small products; as a defence line and for pleasure resort traffic; it should pay from the start.
(p.2, Mornington Standard, 15-6-1912.)
RAILWAY MATTERS:-Residents in the southern part of the peninsula are once more bestirring themselves over the
matter of railway communication with the metropolis. The Flinders Improvement Society set the ball rolling this time, and other centres are taking the matter up. On Friday night a meeting of the residents of Red Hill was held in the school, Cr Haig being in the chair. The matter was fully discussed, Messrs. M'Ilroy, Head, Sheehan and Haig speaking in favor of the construction of the railway. At the end of the discussion Messrs M'Ilroy, Holmes, and Prossor were appointed to represent Red Hill on a deputation to the Minister on 28th August. Those present agreed to defray all the expenses of the delegation. Among those present were Messrs Shaw, Farrel, and Christie of Dromana, at which town a meeting to further the same object is to be held on Friday next.
(P.2, Mornington Standard, 24-8-1912.)
RAILWAY RECOMMENDED. BITTERN TO RED HILL.
The construction of a broad-gauge railway from Bittern to Red Hill, via Merricks Creek, a length of 9 3/4 miles, with an intermediate station about three-quarters of a mile north of the crossing over Merricks Creek on the Bittern-Flinders road, was recommended by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Railways in a report tabled in the Legislative Assembly yesterday. Several routes of railways to serve the Mornington Peninsula were brought under the notice of the committee.
(P.7, Argus, 17-7-1914.) N.B. The article describes all routes and costs.
SHIRE OF FLINDERS.
(Letter from C.R.B.) re carriage of road making material on railways at reduced rates for materials proposed to be used on contracts carried out under the provisions of the Country Roads Act, such materials to be consigned in the name of council; contractor to be supplied with an order from the council to the station master,so that the delivery may be made.Received.
Report of Standing Committee on railways extension, re extension of line through Mornington Peninsula-Bittern towards Red Hill. Received.
Peninsula Railway League, forwarding copy of resolution passed at a public meeting held at Shoreham, re extensions under the Country Roads Board, and protesting against further extension, as contemplated railway extension in the district would greatly affect future road construction.
(P.2, Mornington Standard, 1-8-1914, Flinders Shire Council.)
The above correspondence to the recently renamed shire reveals how the formation of the C.R.B.had placed an extra obstruction in the way of those working for the provision of railways. Not only would the discounted freight reduce revenue and make existing lines seem less financially viable but the Government funds were allocated to road making much more than in the past leaving less of the pie for railway construction. Ratepayers would oppose one to allow the other. Discussion regarding the above reveals that some of the C.R.B. deviations were unnecessarily expensive. No report of the meeting at Shoreham has been found on trove.
The further extension of the road to Flinders is in abeyance till route of the railway to Red Hill is determined.(P.2, Mornington Standard, 5-9-1914.)
Red Hill's happiness came at a cost to Crib Point.
Consternation was caused here when the new railway time table was disclosed, cutting out the evening train to Crib Point on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and, consequently, the early morning train to the city on the other three days. Presumably, this is to allow of-the engine running the trains on the Red Hill line. This is a serious blow to Crib Point and the Naval Depot and a big effort is to be made to keep the trains to Crib Point as at present and have the new line otherwise provided for. This end of the line is financially sound and fully justifies the trains at present provided. The traffic to and from the Naval Depot is very considerable and the retrograde step proposed will be seriously challenged, and an effort made to prevent an injustice to this expanding depot and township. If the proposal is adhered to it will cripple the fishing industry in
Westernport waters. (P.2, Frankston and Somerville Standard, 2-12-1921.)
BITTERN-RED HILL LINE. OPENED BY MR. BARNES. Orchard Land Made Accessible.
The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957) Saturday 3 December 1921 p 28 Article
... BITTERN-RED HILL LINE. OPENED BY MR BARNES. Orchard Land Made Accessible. In the presence of about 700 people, the cockspur railway line from Bittern to Red Hill was formally opened yesterday by the Minister for Railways (Mr. Barnes). The ceremony took place at the new station at Red Hill.
My apologies for not correcting the whole article. It's far too long. Sheila Skidmore wrote the following summary in THE RED HILL.
The committee that planned the ceremony included Sam Tuck who had lived at Manton's Creek for 77 years. Another member,James Wiseman,was unable to attend the ceremony and died a few days later aged over 90. The ribbon cut by Mr Barnes was held by 5 year old Mary Forest and the oldest lady in the district, Mrs Haig, a resident for 45 years who had turned 92 a few days earlier (and was probably the Shire Councillor's mother.) There are several photos of the railway in THE RED HILL.
The special train from Red Hill, containing 500 passengers and the Ministerial party was stopped on Friday by thousands of caterpillars being on the rails at Tomkins Hill, close to Red Hill station. Sand was used, and the train proceeded on its journey. The evening train had a similar experience with caterpillars on Friday night. The caterpillars have destroyed several thousands of tons of hay in the Merricks and Balnarring districts.
(P.4, Frankston and Somerville Standard, 9-12-1921.)
When the two lines were extended from Mornington Junction (Baxter) in 1889, the commissioners would not have thought that level crossings posed any danger. When James Firth's wife died in 1923, on the way home after driving from Somerville to the Mornington races, the fact that the report of the accident went feral, appearing in papers all over Australia within days, indicates that level crossing collisions were relatively rare. The very next year, another fatal accident occurred on the Stony Point line.
Northern Star (Lismore, NSW : 1876 - 1954) Saturday 10 February 1923 p 5 Article
... KILLED BY TRAIN. WOMAN'S SAD END. MELBOURNE, Friday.-Mrs. James Firth, a middle aged woman,
Woman Jumps to Death.
Evidently becoming panic-stricken at the approach of a train at a level crossing at Moorooduc on February 8, Mrs. Ellen Firth, of Somerville, jumped from the motor-car which she was driving and was struck by the engine.
The city coroner (Dr. Cole) held an inquest yesterday, and returned a finding of accidental death, adding that no blame was attachable to the crew of the train. William Grady, railway engine-driver,said that he was driving a race special from Mornington. When near the Moorooduc station he saw the front wheel of a motor-car on the line. Edward John Connor, nurseryman, said Mrs. Firth drove down the road towards the crossing, and when the car was about 30 yards from it he heard the whistle of the train. The car had just crossed the line when he saw Mrs. Firth get over the back of it. Had she remained in the car she would have escaped, as the engine only
touched the hood.(P.13, Argus, 16-2-1923. Inquest.)
What would the Railway Commissioners have thought of this, Strathmore???
SATURDAY, MAY 12, 1923
Frankston v. Mornington
Hastings v. Naval Base.
Dromana v. Somerville.
"Strathmore" . wants to hear from everybody interested in football, from Ormond to Dromana and Phillip Island. Pars about players, past and present bits about club officials, titbits respecting club doings, etc., are all welcome. Just address the envelope to "Strathmore," care "Standard" Publishing offices, Frankston, and hand
same to the railway station officials, who will send it along. No stamps are necessary for railway delivery.(P.1, Frankston and Somerville Standard, 2-5-1923.)
VISIT OF INSPECTION.
ON TUESDAY NEXT.
On Tuesday next the annual inspection by the Railways Commissioners will be made. Deputationists intending to interview the Commissioners are specially asked to elect one representative of each association or body interested to explain the whole of the requirements so that time may be saved in dealing with the requests.
The following programme has been mapped out: The special leaves Mordialloc at 9.21 a.m. and will inspect
Aspendale, arrive, 9.25.
Edithvale, depart, 10.17.
Chelsea, depart, 10.40.
Carrum,- depart, 11.3.
Seaford, depart, 11.20.
Frankston, arrive, 11.25; depart 11.50.
Langwarrin, depart, 12.4.
Baxter, arrive, 12.9; depart, 12.20.
Moorooduc, depart, 12.35.
Mornington, arrive, 12.43; depart,1.15.
On returning from Mornington they will arrive at Baxter at 1.30, and then inspect as under:-
Somerville, depart, 2.0.
Tyabb, depart, 2.16.
Hastings, depart, 2.34.
Bittern, arrive, 2.40; depart, 2.55.
Balnarring, depart, 3.10.
Merricks, depart, 3.32.
Red Hill, arrive, 3.44.
At 4.2 they leave Red Hill for Bittern, which they are timed to leave at 4.30, to inspect:
Crib Point, depart, 5.0.
Stony Point, arrive, 5.5.
(P.1, Frankston and Somerville Standard,13-7-1923.)
PENINSULA EXPRESS WANTED.
TO THE EDITOR OF THE ARGUS.
Sir, I can endorse all "H.B.C.'s" statements in his letter of Thursday. The peninsula is neglected as far as fast travelling trains are concerned, and we have the slowest trains in Victoria, averaging just over 10 miles an hour. A train leaves Red Hill, 51 miles from Melbourne, at 2.35 p.m., and is timed to reach Flinders street
about 7 p.m., but is usually later. A train leaves Flinders street at 8.10 a.m, timed to reach Red Hill 12 noon; often nearer 1 p.m. Another instance. I left Flinders street 5.5 p.m., reached Frankston 6 p.m. Took motor-coach,, left 6.10. Reached Moat's Corner at 6.50, drove four miles, all up hill; reached home 7.30 p.m.
My neighbour remained in the train. Reached Red Hill station at 9.15 p.m., and then had to get to his home, two miles away. We have a good motor service that leaves Moat's Corner, nearest point to Red Hill station, at 8.30 a.m., returning twice daily, two hours en route, at practically the same cost:-Railway fare, 6/8; motor, 7/6. The peninsula is well patronised by both seaside and country visitors, being close to Mornington, Mount Martha, Dromana, Rosebud, Rye, Sorrento, and Portsea, and on Westernport by Balnarring, Merricks, Shoreham, and Flinders. All we want is a decent train service. Large numbers of week-end blocks have been purchased at Red Hill, but owing to bad train service buyers are holding off from building until a better service is available, Give us a good time-table and the peninsula will go ahead, and absorb many who are at present hugging the city-
Yours &c, G.H. Red Hill, July 23. (P.9, Argus, 25-7-1923.)
I'm not a betting man, but I'm willing to risk my entire fortune that the author of the letter was George HiggEns. No the E is not a mistake; his name was so often written as Higgins. To make matters worse, The name of the judge who owned Heronswood at Dromana, and delivered the Harvester Judgement that led to the Basic Wage was rendered in the 1919 assessment as Henry B.Higgens instead of Higgins.
George was a real estate agent whose address in the 1919 assessment was given as Flagstaff Gardens, West Melbourne. He sold the Railway Station Estate at Red Hill which is discussed under RED HILL STATION near the end of this journal.There is a photo of his Red Hill real estate office in the RED HILL RAILWAY display at the Dromana Historical Society museum in the old shire office. THE DISPLAY HAS MANY OTHER PHOTOS THAT WILL BE OF GREAT INTEREST TO THE SHIRE'S HERITAGE PLANNING OFFICERS.
George became a shire councillor and the intersection of Arthurs Seat and Mornington-Flinders Rds was known as HIGGENS CORNER. The motor-coach that George took from Frankston to Moat's Corner was probably Billy Adams' seven -seat tourer, Keith McGregor,his wife (Billy's sister) and brother having driven in Keith's T model Ford van to the Stawell area to try wheat farming. The motor-coach may also have been Syd Napper, George Dyson or Fred Whitaker's (P.53 A DREAMTIME OF DROMANA.)
On the same page is a photo of Maurie Shaw's bus that later saved hinterland residents the walk to Moat's corner to board the through-bus. The Red Hill Railway display, mentioned earlier, states that PASS trains stopped running in 1929, which I take to mean PASSENGER TRAINS. In view of George's letter, it is easy to see why patronage would have fallen off and why James Fenton said that peninsula residents were motor-minded in 1947. To the shire council's displeasure,the authorities banned Maurie's bus service.
TO, RESIDENTS OF RED HILL AND MAIN RIDGE
BUS SERVICE WILL RUN BETWEEN DROMANA AND RED HILL - MAIN RIDGE - ARTHUR SEAT
Connecting with the Morning and Evening Bus returning from Frankston and the Mid-day Bus leaving Dromana
DROMANA, RED HILL, MAIN RIDGE, ARTHUR SEAT BUS SERVICE
(M.- SHAW, Proprietor)
Leaves DROMANA ................ ........... 10.35 a.m. 6.35 p.m.
Leaves ERLANDSON STORE ................... 11.10 a.m. 7.10 p.m.
Leaves MAIN RIDGE P.O. ....... ......... 11.30 a.m. 7.30 p.m.
Leaves ARTHUR SEAT ........... .... .... 12.00 Noon 7.45 p.m.
Connects with Melbourne Buses at Moat's Corner.
- FARES -
DROMANA to MAIN RIDGE ................: .................2/6
DROMANA to RED HILL SOUTH,HIGGENS' CORNER ........2/
MOAT'S CORNER to RED HILL SOUTH, HIGGENS'-CORNER -1/6
MOAT'S CORNER to MAIN RIDGE .... .... ........ :..:. ... 2/
MOAT'S CORNER to ARTHUR SEAT .... .... .......:.... .... 3/
RED HILL to DROMANA .................... ...... .... ....2/-..
MAIN RIDGE to DROMANA .... .... ....... .... .... .. . ,.1/6
ARTHUR SEAT to DROMANA ............ .... .... .... . ... 1/
(P.4, Standard, Frankston, 5-10-1944.)
N.B.See the Tyabb Progress Association's similar complaint in 1928 re slow trains.
Sheila Skidmore's THE RED HILL cites slow and late trains and not enough capacity, causing fruit to rot, as the reason for fruitgrowers switching to road transport. The provision of railways and stations led to demands for improvement of the roads leading to them and construction/provision of appropriate facilities. Stations in fruit growing areas would soon have a cool store, Moorooduc, yards and races to hold and load stock, and with Somerville, a crane to load trees from the nurseries for which both areas were famed.
RED HILL RAILWAY.
Deputation Urges Extension.
Residents of the Red Hill district introduced by Mr Downward M.L.A. waited on the Minister for Railways (Mr Old) yesterday with a request for the extension of the railway from Red Hill to Baldry's Corner* (a distance of five miles), thence to Boneo. Councillor M.B. Wettenhall said that when the line was opened to Red Hill, the then Minister for Railways (Mr Barnes)had mentioned that that point was not intended to be the terminus. The line only touched the fringe of the very best country in the Mornington Peninsula, and there were 30 000 or
40 000 acres of land on which could he grown products such as potatoes,onions and fruits sufficient to supply Melbourne. The drawback, however, was the lack of communication. He knew one man who had grown hundreds of tons of excellent onions which had rotted before they could be sent to Melbourne.
Messrs T. Darley, W.Roberts, T. Swift, R.G.Barrett, W.M.True and R.Keys,in support pointed out that Red Hill station was not used by residents farther on because of its inconvenience. Goods were carted instead from Bittern.
In reply, Mr Old said that the line either should not have been built to Red Hill or should have gone farther. The weak point of the case for extension was the fact that practically the whole of the land was within reasonable distance of the railway. Whether the service was satisfactory was a different proposition. In most
parts of Victoria land within eight miles of a railway was considered to be well served.
Councillor Wettenhall-Seven miles in our country is equal to 14 miles elsewhere,on account of its hilly nature. Mr Old agreed that local conditions had to be considered. He promised to include the proposal in the list for submission to the Cabinet which would decide on the lines to receive the attention of the Railways Standing Committee. (P.6, Argus, 25-10-1923.)
* Baldry's Corner. Without knowing the route of the railway to Baldry's Corner, it is hard to know which of the possible locations was Baldry's Corner. It could have been the north end of Baldry's Rd, which if travelling east along Shands Rd and then along Main Creek Rd to Arthurs Seat Rd, is 5 miles from Arkwells Lane, not the station. However if the route headed east along the Red Hill/Main Ridge locality boundary and then along Stony Creek Rd-Beaulieu Rd, it would be almost exactly 5 miles. If this was the right corner, the railway would have followed Browns Rd to Boneo.
If Cr Oswin's very accurately measured last-ditch suggestion (if a railway couldn't be obtained for Flinders) of making a beeline to the west boundary of Hansen's (sic),Melway 190 F9, was part of the proposed route and the line continued straight to the bridge in Shands Rd(190 A12), the distance to this spot would be about four miles and it would be about five miles to the corner of Limestone Rd (now a fire access track)and Baldry's Rd at the bottom of Melway 254 F3. If this was Baldry's Corner, the railway to Boneo would have gone along Limestone Rd.This spot was not far from John Baldry's crown allotment 8, section B, Wannaeue, south of the yellow-shaded equestrian centre.
Two other possible locations of Baldry's corner are (a) 254 G8 and(b)254 K8. John Baldry's grant and probably the original portion of "Wildwood", crown allotment 22A, section B,parish of Flinders was between corner,or bend a)and Main Creek, and (b)was the corner of Baldrys and Mornington-Flinders Rds. It is unlikely that these were the corner referred to because both are a fair bit more than 5 miles, even with a very direct route and there is not a direct route between them and Boneo.
LEVEL CROSSING COLLISION.
Claims for £6,100.
Arising out of a fatality which occurredon April 28, at the level crossing on the Frankston-Stony Point railway line, at the point at which the Somerville-Melbourne road crosses near Baxter railway station, two actions for damages have been launched against the Railways Commissioners. They were heard concurrently before Judge
Moule and a special jury in the County Court yesterday.
Alfred Ernest Field was driving his motor-lorry in the evening towards Melbourne, with John Thomas Twyford of
Somerville, orchardist, as a passenger, and the lorry was run into by a special train travelling from Somerville. Field was killed and Twyford was injured. The Perpetual Executors and Trustees Association, as administrators of the estate of Field, on behalf of and for the benefit of Elizabeth Maude Field, widow of de-
ceased, and seven children, claims £4,000 in respect of the death of Field and £600 damages for loss of the motor-lorry. A claim of £ 1,500 by Twyford is for personal injury.
The case for plaintiff is that the accident was caused through the negligence of the Victorian Railways Commissioners in failing to provide sufficient safeguardsat the crossing. It is alleged that the engine was travelling with the tender in trout, that no light, or not sufficient light, was shown on the front of the tender, that the driver and fireman did not keep a sufficient look out when approaching the crossing, that the train was travelling at excessive speed, that no whistle was blown, and that, owing to a cutting; through which the line ran up to the crossing, and by reason of the angle at which the line intersected the road, the crossing was highly dangerous. No beacon or bell was placed as a warning. Furthermore, a mound of earth, on the top of which was a fence, was allowed to remain near the crossing in such position that the view of an approaching train was obscured. (P.9, Argus, 5-12-1924.)
RED HILL RAILWAY EXTENSION.
The Railways Standing Committee will visit Mornington Peninsula next week in connection with the proposed railway extension from Red Hill. Evidence will be taken at Dromana at half-past 10 o'clock, and at Red Hill at a quarter to 2 o'clock on Tuesday February 24; at Flinders at half-past 11 o'clock on Wednesday, February 25; at Rosebud at a quarter to 11 o'clock; and at Sorrento at a quarter past 2 o'clock on Thursday, February 26. (P.13, Argus, 19-2-1925.)
RAILWAY TO SORRENTO.
Proposed New line.
A deputation of residents from the Moorooduc district waited upon the Minister for Railways (Mr. Eggleston) yesterday and urged that a railway line should be constructed from Morooduc to Sorrento, a distance of about 23 miles. Members of the deputation said that the Railways Standing Committee was now considering the construction of a line in a southerly direction from Red Hill, but by adopting the proposed extension to Sorrento between 12 and 15 miles of construction would be saved in providing railway facilities for the same district, and the line to Sorrento would pass through a large area of valuable agricultural land. Mr. Eggleston, in reply, said that the request was difficult to deal with as the proposed extension from Red Hill had been referred by his predecessor in office to the Railways Standing Committee.(P.9, Argus, 23-4-1925.)
It is freely rumoured here that steps are being taken by the Railway Department to reduce the status of the Tyabb Railway Station to a lower grade. Residents of the district should immediately get together and hold an
indignation meeting, as it would be most disastrous for the district to lose the services of the stationmaster.
The rather lean fruit season just passed has had its effect upon the revenue, but with several record seasons in view look how difficult it would be sending inter-State and ex-port away. It is hinted that Hastings station may also be reduced. For reasons similar to Tyabb, the revenue there has also fallen short. The public bodies here should immediately co-operate and seek the assistance of the district Shire Councilin protesting against the proposed reduction here. (P.6, Frankston and Somerville Standard, 2-9-1927.)
SHORES OF WESTERNPORT
RISING SUMMER RESORT.
Lacking direct rail services, the shores of Westernport have been little touched by seaside settlers in the
past, but motor transport is now bringing the people across the peninsula from Frankston to Balnarring,
Shoreham, and Flinders in search of unoccupied water frontages. ........
The rambling Red Hill railway and the Flinders main road come within a mile of the shore at Balnarring, but
the railway service needs much speeding-up if the public is to be induced to use it as a holiday resort service. (P.7, Frankston andSomerville Standard, 7-10-1927.)
The movement initiated by the Tyabb Progress Association towards requesting the Railway Commissioners to run the Stony Point and Red Hill first morning train direct from starting station to Frankston has earned
the support of the Westernport and Balnarring Progress Associations.They deplore the great loss of timeentailed by the existing wait at Baxter every morning. It is expected that the Progress Association at Crib Point will also support the proposal.A conference will be called shortlyto arrange for a deputation to the Railway Commissioners. (P.3, Frankston and Somerville Standard, 6-1-1928.)
Originally, carrier Harry Cairns and Jimmy the Squid Williams took fish, rabbits and passengers to the Mornington railhead but by about 1920 they had been succeeded by Keith McGregor and Len Dunk who introduced motorised transport. Ironically, one of the speakers at the opening of the Red Hill-Bittern railway was William Calder, chairman of the Country Roads Board. This was like getting the Devil to speak at the opening of a new wing in Heaven! Because of Calder's great work and faster cars, a trip by road to Melbourne was no longer "travail". Because of falling revenue, the Government restricted the Peninsula buses to taking their passengers to Frankston station. Too bad if a slight delay meant missing the train!
DROMANA, Wednesday. -An enthusiastic meeting of residents of Dromana, Portsea, Sorrento. Flinders, and elsewhere on the peninsula was held at the Mechanics'Institute, Dromana, this afternoon, it being the first annual meeting of the Mornington Peninsula Development League. The principal item on the business paper was the
Councillor D. Macfarlan, president of the Shire of Flinders, declared that they should not sit down and have their means of communication taken away. Mornington Peninsula was not served by a railway, and had a just cause. They were in a better position to express their opinions now that the 'bus legislation had been in operation for six months. He moved:
"That owing to the delay and inconvenience to passengers caused by the break in the journey a service of 'buses be permitted to run from the city to Dromana, Rosebud, Rye, Sorrento, and Portsea, and Flinders, none of which towns is served by railway, and that a monster deputation from the Peninsula wait upon the Minister(Mr Jones),to protest strongly against thehardship inflicted."
Councillor Macfarlan said that a deputation from the Flinders Council should amalgamate with the larger body.
Mr. Spencer Jackson, secretary of the Dromana Progress Association, supporting the motion, said that in his opinion a committee of five should be appointed to organise the deputation. They must remember that "persistency penetrates." The motion was agreed to unanimously.Councillor A.J. Kirton (Mornington),
Councillor D. Macfarlan (Sorrento), Councillor G. Higgins (Red Hill), Mr A. Hamilton (Shoreham), and Mr. Spencer Jackson (Dromana) were appointed a committee,with Mr. Jackson as organising secretary.
(P.15,Argus, 13-9-1928.) N.B. The Red Hill rep. was George Higgens.
Having achieved a rail service, the various communities through their progress associations and similar bodies kept up the fight for facilities to be maintained and improved. Also see 2-9-1927.
IMPROVED RAILWAY YARD.
For a considerable time the railway goods yard at Tyabb railway station have (sic) been in a very rough state. The chief railway ,engineer (Mr. Richards) visited the station a few days ago and had an interview with Cr. Alden, and as a result, it is believed considerable improvements will be effected. The entire metalled surface of the goods yards will be torn up by suitable road building machinery and properly screened and levelled. Cr. Alden is to be commended for bringing this matter before the railway authorities.
(P.8, Frankston and Somerville Standard, 22-5-1936.)
BONEO The Boneo Branch of the United Country Party decided to request the Railway Commissioners to provide better loading facilities at the Moorooduc railway station. At present there is no provision for the loading or unloading of stock to or from motor transport. The provision of a ramp for this purpose would eliminate much inconvenience and permit greater co-operation between the two systems of transport. PROPOSED COASTAL RAILWAY. The proposal for a coastal railway from Frankston to Portsea received favorable comment at the recent branch meeting. It is the obvious answer to the transport problems which beset the Peninsula at present, and which will become more acute in the post-war years. With the continued expansion of agricultural pursuits on the Peninsula, the need for a railway is be coming more and more apparent; not to mention the increasing flow of passenger traffic which, during holiday seasons, is increasing to such dimensions that it will be beyond the capacity of any motor service to handle. Such a railway is the only way to open up the Peninsula in a sure and permanent way by bringing the whole countryside within ready access of the City and the major markets.
(P.3, Standard, Frankston, 17-5-1945.)
Mr C. B. Wilson, secretary of the Mornington-Mt Martha Publicity
League, said yesterday that the request made for a direct railway between Frankston and Mornington was not a stupid proposal as claimed by certain councillors of Frankston and Hastings Shire. It was an excellent proposal and would aid development. The Frankston and Hastings Council could rest assured that its criticism of the plan would not upset Mornington's efforts. (P.6, Argus, 20-6-1946.)
Charles Bowman Wilson, after whom the C.B.Wilson Reserve in Wilsons Rd, Mornington, was named, was (according to Joan Downward)a train driver who surprised many by becoming president of the shire of Mornington, a position coveted by many prominent citizens. He was a descendant of "Bonnie William from Dundee" whose family followed Ralph Ruddell on Tuerong and an unrelated Wilson family from Mornington (according to the author of the Bonnie William website.) See the entry by Val Wilson of the Mornington Historical Society on the Mornington Cemetery website.
(To the Editor)
Sir,-Evidently "An old Resident" (Mt Eliza) does not want to see development of the Peninsula take place-otherwise he would have a different frame of mind as regards The Mornington effort to have a direct railway.
through Mt. Eliza. Evidently he is one of those who has his own motor car. He mentions about Mornington's lack of facilities, but he will be surprised to know what is contemplated in the way of improvements. If he watches the local Press he will get a big shock. I can also tell him that Mornington has facilities which towns twice its size do not possess. It's to be hoped "An Old Resident" will come along to the Parliamentary Committee hearing when it takes place. He will be welcome. He will hear a lot of reasons why South Peninsula people want fast electric train services along a direct route which will also give reasonable fares to the travelling public.Hoping he will come along.Yours, etc., Mornington. "PROGRESS." (P.2, Standard, Frankston, 22-5-1947.)
That the Mornington Peninsula people are motor-minded and that expenditure of £300,000 on a proposed electric coastal railway from Frankston to Mornington was not justified or desired, was the main basis of objection voiced by several Frankston and district speakers who gave sworn evidence before the State Public Works Committee on Wednesday, August 13, at Frankston Shire Offices.
Hon. James E. Fenton said he had been a resident of the Peninsula for over 30 years. His study of Peninsula people over the past 20 years proved conclusively that they were motor-minded people. Practically all stock and produce was moved by motor truck through the Peninsula. It was the general mode of transport. He stressed the tragedy of the Red Hill line, where he and other ratepayers using the line had to pay for the land through which the railway was constructed. The line was now practically, a closed book and a complete "wash-out," al-
though it cost £70,000 to construct. He was certainly opposed to the direct line to Mornington, as the £300,000 could be devoted to much better things.. Water supply had played a most important part in the development of the Peninsula.(P.1s, Standard, Frankston, 21-8-1947.)
Plan to electrify Mornington line.
Electrification of the Frankston-Mt Eliza-Mornington railway was recommended to the Parliamentary Public Works Committee yesterday. The Mornington Shire committee of electrification submitted evidence in which it recommended that £300,000 should be spent on the project. Electrification of the line, it was said, would enable district industries to expand and provide easy transport of commodities to market.
(P.3, Argus, 1-7-1948.)
Bayside railway line opposed.
FRANKSTON people were opposed to construction of a railway line along the coast from Frankston to Mornington, Cr. G. V. Hurst,president of Frankston and Hastings Shire, told the Public Works Committee yesterday.They believed, he said, that the Peninsula, "the playground of Victoria," would be best served by the present bus services.
The proposed coast railway through Mt. Eliza would cost thousands of pounds and would take only four minutes less than the present Mornington line through Baxter,Cr. Hurst said. Cr. Hurst attacked claims by Mornington Shire, which supports the coastline scheme, that Mornington could one day be a subsidiary port to Melbourne.
"No port can function without a great outgoing trade, and what exporter would bypass Melbourne for Mornington?" he asked. Cr. A. E. Webb (Cranbourne Shire) told the committee that his shire was also opposed to the
new line. The old Mornington line should be electrified instead,he said.
(P7, Argus, 13-10-1950.)
The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957) Friday 12 June 1953 p 14 Article
... 'White elephant' railways to close Three country branch railway lines which have been losing money heavily will be closed permanently on June 28. The condemned lines are: • Redesdale Junction ... branch of the Melbourne-Leongatha line. . Bittern-Red Hill: A 10 mile branch on the Mornington Peninsula.
STATIONS ON THE BITTERN TO RED HILL LINE.
RAILWAY STATION ESTATE
Land Sale at Red Hill.
On Saturday, September 30, Messrs Knight & Harwood will conduct an Important subdivisional sale of the
Railway Station Estate at Red Hill. The land upon which the Red Hill station is built originally formed part
of this estate. The land offered includes 61 township lots and 19 lots from 6 to 15 acres, and includes well timbered, virgin country, and. the soil varies from dark loam to rich chocolate. The opening of this estate is
the era of the development of Red Hill, as the township is being formed round and upon this estate. The acreage areas are highly suitable for orcharding, and for the culture of fruit of almost any description. The Red Hill district is on the verge of big developments, for, although an old-settled part of the Mornington Peninsula, it has hitherto remained in comparative obscurity, known chiefly to those in the fruit business as a source of small fruits, especially strawberries and apple of excellent quality. To others it is known merely as a picturesque locality, some six miles from Dromana and near the shores of Westernport Bay. The undoubted potentialities of the district for fruit-growing and small farming are now in a good way of being developed. The imposing 24,000-case cool store near the station at once indicates the lines on which development is likely to proceed. The farm produce, peas, beans, potatoes, green maize and lucerne, together with a variety of vegetables, showed the capacity of the district for general farming.
(P.4, Frankston and Somerville Standard, 22-9-1922.)
The Red Hill Station Estate would not have been on the western side of the east end of Arthurs Seat Rd because this was the Red Hill Village Settlement on crown allotment 74 Balnarring, alienated in the 1890's.
In the south east corner of the settlement,part of the 14 acre crown allotment 74K had been acquired,74K1 of 1 acre being purchased by the Victorian Railway Commissioners on 11-7-1922, about two acres had been transferred to the C.R.B. (the Shoreham Rd deviation near No.160)and another 1.2 acres east of the deviation, 74 K2, was also bought by the railways and is now the site of The Long Table.
Station Rd, south of Mechanics Rd was part of the original government road but when the station was built,it became a dead end and in 1921, the Country Roads Board built two deviations, one going south of Marma and Almora Avenues and the other around the station (Red Hill Centrepoint site.)
On the 1907 map of the parish of Balnarring available online, the area bounded by Arthurs Seat Rd, Mechanics' Rd and Station Rd is labelled Military purposes, gazetted 1889. On my Balnarring map (October 1954), from which the information about deviations etc. above came, this same area is labelled Township of Red Hill, gazetted 1922. This was strange because another Red Hill Township was declared in the 1860's and its post office remained there at 710 White Hill Rd until fairly recently in terms of Red Hill's history. The Methodist Church opened near the post office in 1884. The church bought two blocks near the station in 1922 (presumably the Uniting Church site west of Perry Lane)and relocated their chapel in 1932. (P.31-2 THE RED HILL, Sheila Skidmore.)
I believe the Railway Station Estate was north of the station and east of Station Rd on crown allotment 77, Balnarring,including the two avenues west of Red Hill Rd, Beauford Rd and Thomas Rd. It may have been subdivided by Arthur A. Thomas who subdivided the Hindhope Estate at Rosebud at about the same time.
RED HILL STATION ENTRANCE.
Referring to a statement that the Mornington Fruitgrowers' Association had complained of the condition of the entrance to Red Hill station, the Railway Commissioners have intimated that,between the roadway outside the railway boundary and the approach to the station, a culvert is being provided to overcome accumulations of storm water.(P.13, Argus, 6-7-1923.)
The Balnarring railway station was at Melway 193 E5, just within the parish of Bittern. It was on the south side of Frankston-Flinders Rd(which the railway followed from the Bittern station)between a point opposite the Mt Barron St corner and Sandy Point Rd.Civic Court indicates the path of the railway into the parish of Balnarring. This area is still linked to Red Hill- by the RED HILL BAKERY across Balnarring Rd!
An accident, which may yet be attended with fatal results, occurred at the Bittern railway station on Saturday night, just as the last train from Stoney Point was arriving at the station. A Melbourne lady named Mrs. Shand and her two children--one baby in arms were thrown out of a trap at Bittern station. Mrs. Shand was rendered unconscious, as was also the baby, the other child escaping with comparatively little damage. The train had justarrived, and no medical assistance being at hand the sufferers were placed in a carriage with the necessary attendance,and a doctor telegraphed for at the nearest available station. Mrs. Shand was much better before the train left Bittern station, but it was not expected that the baby could survive the injuries it received, for from appearance concussion of the brain was probable,irrespective of the shaking it had received. Mrs Shand is a resident of Hawksburn. ((P.2, Mornington Standard, 1-3-1894.)
The reporter obviously had little local knowledge, judging by his spelling of Stony Creek and his failure to establish why the Melbourne woman had been in the area. She was obviously the daughter in law of Alexander Shand and had been giving her children a holiday with their grandparents at the west end of Shands Rd. They would have travelled to the Bittern Station (Melway 164 F7) via Shands, Shoreham and Frankston-Flinders Rds.[i/]
RAILWAY SAFE BLOWN OPEN.
Money and Tobacco Stolen.
HASTINGS, Thursday. - A window of the office at the Bittern railway station
was forced, the safe blown open, and £7/17/10 in cash stolen, in addition to tobacco and cigarettes valued at £12. Constable Egan and Detectives Saker and West are making inquiries. (P.10, Argus, 7-12-1928.)
The Merricks railway station ground was at Melway 192 E-F9. Merricks Rd originally ran straight to Frankston-Flinders Rd but was diverted along the northern boundary of the station site from which a small piece has been used for a left turn slip-lane into Merricks Rd.
Paper to be Used.
Much interest is being taken in the erection of a factory or mill at Merricks, on the Bittern-Red Hill railway, near Westernport Bay, for the manufacture of kraft paper, which is to be used for bagging cement. Hitherto the practice has been to use jute bags almost exclusively for this purpose, but in other parts of the world notably Germany, tough paper, made up in five layers, has been found to serve the purpose.
One objection that has been raised to jute bags is that the fine cement powder penetrates them and causes trouble in handling. Jute is also criticised on the score of expense. It is contended that the kraft paper bags will be much cheaper, and that after being once used they can be thrown away or destroyed without any
appreciable loss. The parties interested in the project are also said to be interested
in the manufacture of cement. A beginning has already been made with the construction of the works.
(P.9, Argus, 11-1-1927.)
SOMERVILLE RAILWAY STATION.
As I have researched fairly extensively for my THE MYSTERIOUS HENRY GOMM and THE FEMALE DROVER: A HISTORY OF MOOROODUC, I will provide a few snippets about the Somerville Station. Leila Shaw's THE WAY WE WERE contains two pieces of information that I recall off-hand. Firstly that the station was not built near Lower Somerville Rd which was the centre of population at the time. Secondly that one of the station masters had a family of about 13 children and the book has a photograph of the large family.
Graf Rd at Somerville provides a link with these two snippets, the Premier of Victoria and his father in law (Red Hill's first recorded settler), the Mechanics' Institute, the famous Fruitgrowers' Show, the Somerville Hotel, another station master and the Australian Test Team.
After I started my campaign to make Dromana and Rosebud's history more accessible in August 2010, I spent the rest of that year transcribing rate records and making notes from every relevant local history. Mentally tired and eyes strained, I borrowed Leila's book to read just for enjoyment. I'd only read to page 6 when my curiosity led to a marathon research project. Henry Gomm was assessed on the Jetty's cafe site near the Rosebud jetty in 1900 and 1910 but Leila had him as a Somerville pioneer. As I discovered, the two were completely unrelated but Somerville Henry's 1888 biography in VICTORIA AND ITSMETROPOLIS contained a wrong claim (as it turned out) which was probably a lie. This would have been to back up a family legend he'd created that he came out on the same ship as Tommy Bent.
Henry Gomm of Rosebud was the son of a convict of the same name. He died at Cheltenham Benevolent Home in 1915, his brother William, who owned the Rosebud Fishing Village block, married a Flinders woman and, well past middle age, deserted her for a20 year old whom he married after his wife's death. William died at about the same time as Henry, still at Hastings, and it appeared that some members of the Somerville Fruitgrowers' Association offered condolences to the Somerville Gomms. Another brother, Thomas, died at Dromana in 1896 not long after giving evidence in the inquiry into Alf Downward's disputed election to State Parliament.
Tommy Bent didn't sail out in 1839; that was when he was born in Penrith, N.S.W. Somerville Henry didn't sail to Australia in 1839; he came with his father, George, in 1843 at the age of 4. However by the 1850's both Gomm families were living in the parish of Moorabbin and were to remain near-neighbours for over half a century. (See the story about their earlier days on Graham Whitehead's CITY OF KINGSTON HERITAGE WEBSITE.) Not long after,the Bent family moved into the Moorabbin parish and as Henry,son of George, was the same age as Tommy Bent, it was not surprising that they became great friends. As well as market gardening, Tommy Bent launched into subdividing land and Bentleigh is named after him.
John Huntley and his wife were pioneers of the Dromana district, having arrived in 1851 according to the pioneer Pathway. Bill Huntley told me while we were on our road tour, 91 year old Bill at the wheel, that John had been granted the 208 acres on the west side of Red Hill Rd between Station St and the conservation reserve on the south corner of McIlroys Rd. This land was granted to John Holmes (no relation of the present Red Hill family) and his partner Lawrence Waddeson,who was killed in an accident. Therefore, John Huntley seems to have held a depasturing licence until the government alienated the Mt McMahon Agricultural District.
Tommy Bent lived at Brighton, where the Huntleys were pioneers, John Huntley senior was basically a Brighton resident, and (relevant to a journal about railways)was almost killed at a level crossing there, having returned full time after the alienation of his Red hill lease. Tommy Bent married Miss Huntley who unfortunately did not live long but his relationship to Bill is shown by the huge portrait of Sir Thomas in full regalia that graces his Safety Beach lounge room. John Huntley Jnr bought the southern half of his father's former lease and established "Hillside Orchard". When John died, his widow, Mary (nee Hope) married Cr John Shand, known to his friends as Peter and while Mary's sisters in law farmed Hillside Orchard, John and Mary Shand farmed Kent Orchard (south corner of the west end of Kentucky Rd) and then Kentucky and Rosslyn, (whose homesteads are now 214 and 212 Dromana-Bittern Rd.)
As stated earlier, Tommy Bent and Henry Gomm were longtime friends. Henry had bought "Glenhoya" and after making all ready for his family from 1861, living almost entirely on kangaroo meat, he settled his family there in about 1867. The railway had reached Frankston by 1882 and surveying would have started for any extension soon afterwards. The minister for railways was..........Tommy Bent! Now, it could be that the minister of Railways had suggested that the route they survey should head to the point where the boundaries of the parishes of Frankston, Moorooduc and Tyabb met at the Jones Rd/ Eramosa Rd corner, an easily defined point. But I suspect that the man in charge was, as a biography about him was called:bent by name; bent by nature. There is plenty of evidence of this in the Maribyrnong, Melbourne Airport and North Essendon areas,the Huntley name also associated with the third land speculation which attracted much suspicion.
I consulted Melway to see if there was an obvious deviation from a sensible route such as the Mt Alexander and Murray River Railway crossing the Calder Highway at Diggers Rest to travel past Rupertswood and Clarkfield in 1858 for the benefit of Big Clarke. The Langwarrin Estate had been carved up and Langwarrin Township established by the 1880's. If the line had gone straight down Golf Links Rd, feeding directly into Lower Somerville Rd,it would have gone close to Langwarrin township and passed directly through Somerville's centre of population. However it headed almost due east to today's Langwarrin Flora and Fauna Park, probably the pre-emptive right of the Langwarrin Estate, whose owner might have been another of Tommy Bent's friends. Naturally the township that sprang up near the station became known as Langwarrin Township. Because of the 1890's depression and the distancefrom the railway, the original township became a ghost town, but in about 1896, Nathaniel Pearce brought it back to life and it was renamed in his honour.
The Gomm family believes that the route through Somerville was a favour from Tommy Bent for Henry Gomm. Glenhoya was at the south west corner of Jones and Eramosa Rds, a stone's throw from the station. There could be some truth in the family legend that it was a favour from Tommy Bent that caused the station to be built right next to Henry Gomm's property. It worked to Somerville's benefit because Henry donated the site for the Mechanics'Institute and offered the Fruitgrowers' Reserve to which special trains brought patrons and exhibitors from all over the state for the famed Somerville Fruitgrowers' Show. It was rare for the Show to be opened by the Premier of Victoria but Tommy did it circa 1907;perhaps a third favour granted to Henry.
The second favour was asked for when Henry's daughter fell in love with the young station master. Henry was a wealthy man and didn't plan to have a railway employee as a son in law.He couldn't get young Graf out of his daughter's heart so the next best thing was to get him out of her life. He was tranferred to Ascot Vale Station but it didn't work and Miss Gomm fled to the city; the lovers were wed at a quiet ceremony. The girl's mother, Margaret (nee Monk) would have been seething but neither she not Henry attended.
Henry would have nothing to do with his disobedient daughter but every time her brothers visited the Vic market or the Newmarket Saleyards they'd take food to help the young couple cope. After Henry's death, his son, William Herbert (Paddy)persuaded the Gomm family to welcome the Grafs back into the fold and in their first year of residence, the Somerville cricket team won the premiership with the help of a Graf. When Frankston real estate agent, George Austin, was subdividing land west of Glenhoya, a fast bowler made the Australian test team. His name was Shaun and the closest he came to playing a test was 12th man. However the Somerville Cricket Club was proud of him and suggested that the tree-studded track being turned into a road should be named Graf Rd. The Gomms nearly lost the Somerville Hotel because Henry's grandson Billy Gomm and a Graf cousin were sprung S.P.bookmaking in the pub and were banned from entering the premises.Billy's brother, George, had to give up his rare metal mining to save the hotel's licence. (Sources: The Way We Were; Murray Gomm; genealogical
websites, The Butcher The Baker The; and trove, such as the following:
Mornington and Dromana Standard (Vic. : 1908 - 1911) Saturday 14 August 1909 p 2 Article
... Wedding. GRAF-GOMM. A wedding of local importance was celebrated quietly at St. Mary's Star of the Sea, West Melbourne, on Wednesday last, the contracting parties being Mr David J. Graf, of Ascot Vale and Miss Beatrice Ethel Gomm, youngest daughter of Mr and Mrs H. Gomm, "Glenhoya" ..
THE STATIONMASTER WITH THE BIG FAMILY.
I'm operating under considerable difficulty at the moment because I can't open any of my word files. I knew you wouldn't all be rushing off to borrow Leila's book so I tried to open BETTER DAYS which was a souvenir to celebrate the opening of Rosebud's new netball courts in 2012 and was about the players in the 1936 semi final between Rosebud and Somerville. This was on a USB stick but still wouldn't open. It is available from both football clubs.
If I remember the story, Mrs Currie died and coping with the large family led to Mr Currie's suicide.Do you think I could find any of my sources on trove? I don't know how I managed to find them for BETTER DAYS, whose title reflected the dismal form of both clubs at the time the book was started. Paddy Gomm took Peter Currie into his home and he grew up with Billy and George Gomm, two legends of the Somerville Football Club. By finding the report of the 1936 match and looking at the list of Somerville players, I was 95% sure that the orphan's name was Currie but I found little on trove.
In desperation, I googled "Currie, Somerville" and found this:
Panoramio - Photo of old station master house somerville
Dec 6, 2008 - MY GRANDFATHER WAS STATIONMASTER THEIR IN THE 30S MY MOTHER IS ALISON THOMAS NEE CURRIE WHO WERE A BIG FAMILY ...
The website has a photo of the old station masters's house in which the Currie family. It was apparently an Op Shop when it was burnt down in 2009. I have pasted some of the comments posted about the photo.
Sun Hill CID, on November 16, 2009, said:
The old Station masters house burnt down in early September, which is a shame.
tidders, on November 22, 2009, said:
Yes it is a shame. It could have served a purpose rather than let go and become derilect. Apparently September 2009 when it went up in flames.
benje, on January 9, 2010, said:
MY GRANDFATHER WAS STATIONMASTER THEIR IN THE 30S MY MOTHER IS ALISON THOMAS NEE CURRIE WHO WERE A BIG FAMILY BORN AT THE STATION 8 SETS OF TWINS "THE CURRIE TWINS ME MUM NOW LIVES IN WALES UK 82 YRS OLD AND GOING STRONG ANYONE OUT THEIR REMEMBERS THIS FAMILY?WORKED IN OZ FOR TWO YRS WEN WAS YOUNGER REMEMBER IT JUST LIKE THIS PHOTO?
tidders, on January 12, 2010, said:
benje. I am glad you have commented on the photo of Station Masters House. I did know through reading that the Currie family lived here with a big family. I also have seen a photo taken way back of some of the family at the old house. Do you know much of the Yaringa/ Bembridge area from way back.
benje, on February 1, 2010, said:
im sorry but being a taff (welsh)do not i lived in altona whilst staying in oz but my aunt lived on the sommerville hastings rd her name is peggy martyr was married to horrie martyr she had 5 children joe eldest (deceasd)arleen alice helen and phillip i also have family down at bittern the myers family stumpy gully rd bill dad (deceased)winsome mums sister their children brian julie carmel and john ullask my mum aboutyaringa if she can remember any body?does anyone remember alison her twin was hombre (nickname)he died in a cycling accident in his fifties another brother still living at bairnsdale is sam currie twin to winsome!
Nathodsercha, on February 21, 2010, said:
I was across the road when the old station master's house went on fire. I started running over to it where i saw heaps of smoke but at this point it was near the start of the fire, got my phone out and videod it after i ran across the train line to see it. When i got closs to it i was probably only 5 meters from the back fence were it was very smoky especially when the fire men came about 5-6 mins later. I had to run out the way when it suddenly came at my face and others.
benje, on April 17, 2010, said:
WHAT A FAMILY THIS MUST HAVE BEEN 13 CHILDREN 4 SETS OF TWINS THE CURRIES I LIVE THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WORLD WALES BUT MY MOTHER ALISON IS 83YRS OLD STILL GOING STRONG BECAUSE SHE IS A DIAMOND GEEZEER SHE CAME OVER TO WALES FOR A 12 MTH HOLIDAY IN 1954 TO SHOW HER TWO CHILDREN OFF TO HER MOM IN LAW AFTER A SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE ADVENTS HAPPENED SHE NEVER RETURNED TO HER HOMELAND WHEN SHE WAS AKID SHE HAD A LAMB FOR A PET AT THE STATION GLAD TO BE A FAMILY MEMBER AND PROUD TO HAVE AUSTRALIAN BLOOD IN MY VEINS|||
TO BE CONTINUED.
on 2013-07-31 11:27:43
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.