THE EAST COAST OF PORT PHILLIP BAY. CHAPTER 1, SEAFORD TO ARTHURS SEAT & TRANSPORT.
I have broken THE ORIENTAL COAST OF PORT PHILLIP BAY into parts so that all of the pioneers mentioned can be included in the surnames list, which has a capacity far too small to include them all in one journal. Transport is discussed as far as Sorrento, whose white roads left an indelible impression on early holiday-makers.
Although the Wong-Shings had a market garden near Chinaman's Creek, this had nothing to do with my choice of this journal's title. Oriental means "east" (with occidental being its opposite.) For some reason I can't remember, I did a Mt Martha search and found an article about a tour down the east coast (in 1886,I think). When I read about the prisoners of war and was reminded about George Bishop's involvement in the Shirley Collins case, I decided to write a journal about this coast and "oriental" tickled my fancy.
I intend to write this journal entirely from memory. The sources for every statement I make are in my previous journals or other works and usually come from trove.
HALF-WAY HOUSE, LONG BEACH RUN, PARISH OF FRANKSTON, CANNANUKE, OLIVERS HILL, CANADIANS.
The parish of Frankston is mainly separated from the parish of Lyndhurst to the north by Seaford Rd but on Long Island the boundary is the walkway beside the north boundary of the Riviera Hotel Car park. This hotel has previously been the Halfway House or the Carrum Hotel and is land granted to James McMahon, probably as the pre-emptive right of his Long Beach run. James also received a larger grant of about 160 acres at the east corner of Skye and McMahons Rds.
Olivers Hill was originally known as Old Man Davey's Hill. This was named after William Davey, who used the hill as a lookout to spot fish but was also granted land on the hill north of Sweetwater Creek. His son, James leased the Cannanuke Run from the crown and was granted the pre-emptive right bounded by Old Mornington Rd (west of Dory's Gully) and the beach as far south as Boundary Rd, the boundary between the parishes of Frankston and Moorooduc near the oriental coast. Old Man Davey's Hill was renamed Oliver's Hill because another Frankston pioneer of that name also used its heights to spot fish.
James built a basic homestead but later built Frankston's first mansion, overlooking Daveys Bay, which he called "Marysville". His son, James Jnr. became a pioneer near Red Hill and Bittern North, his grants becoming Forest Lodge, Seven Oaks, Kentucky and Rosslyn as well as 28A Wannaeue, split into three by Bullocky Bob White and his sons, with its north west corner across Main Creek Rd from Whites Rd.
Plenty of websites explain the origin of the name of Canadian Bay; it was named after three Canadians. Luckily in 1926 the Mt Eliza Progress Association published a history of the early days in the area, written by Mr Mann, who gave the Canadians' names as Jones,J.Hodgins and McCurley. They supplied firewood bound for Melbourne onto the Liverpool which anchored half a mile offshore. (I have previously stated a mile but spotted the error while searching my notes for other information!) All threehad settled in the district
The first was obviously Alfred Jones of Almond Bush Stud of Somerville. His biography in Victoria and its Metropolis tells how he moved from England to Canada aged about 12 and spent about two years loading the wood at Frankston (place names being pretty vague in 1888) before farming at Baxter's Flat,increased competition having lowered prices for firewood. J. Hodgins settled at the intersection of Hodgins and Henderson Rds, at Hastings. I have found no references to McCurley and he may have been Edward McGurk who was granted land between Jones and Hodgins. Boundary Rd is now Canadian Bay Rd.
NYORA, WELLS, RANELAGH.
J.T.Smith,the subject of my journal, JOHN THOMAS SMITH AND HIS ELECTORS, came to Victoria from Sydney in Melbourne's early days to teach at George Langhorne's mission on Melbourne's Botanical gardens site. Muzza of McCrae has in his collection of historic houses etc. a photo of Smith's Melbourne house that he states is the oldest surviving house in Melbourne. Smith soon turned to business and was seven times Mayor of Melbourne and a longtime parliamentarian,representing West Bourke (i.e. County of Bourke.) He was one of the early grantees in the parish of Moorooduc and built a beachside house that he called Nyora. His land on the south side of Boundary (Canadian Bay) road in the heart of Mt Eliza became the Ranelagh Estate.
As Smith was not a permanent resident of Mt Eliza,he leased his land to such as Frankston pioneer, Henry Cadby Wells. After Smith's death,ownership passed out of the family and the last owner before it was subdivided as the Ranelagh Estate was Henry Slaney,father of Moorooduc's prolific writer of letters to the editor, H.B.Slaney of "The Ranch" (across Three Chain Road from the east end of Craigie Rd.)
Next time you're in Mt Eliza have a look at the plaque in J.T.Smith Reserve and the Ranelagh Estate history Board near Ranelagh Dr. at Melway 105 E-F1.
HISTORIC HOUSES, WEBSITES AND RED TAPE.
There are many historic houses along the coast between Frankston and The Heads. Readers interested in finding out about them can download the SHIRE OF MORNINGTON HERITAGE STUDY re the area north of Ellerina Rd and the SHIRE OF FLINDERS HERITAGE STUDY re those to the south, particularly in Sorrento and Portsea. There are also websites that offer guided walking and driving historic tours along the coast near Mornington, another about the Ranelagh Estate at Mt Eliza and I propose to write similar self-guided heritage tour journals about Dromana and Rosebud.
Here however, I wish to mention just one historic house and how red tape can make things difficult for citizens who wish to preserve our history. My magnifying glass tells me that this house at 797 Esplanade, Mornington, which would appear to be between Main St and Tanti Ave, is called Mulberry. Ian Armstrong, who shares a surname with an early Clerk of Courts at Mornington, has spent a considerable amount restoring this house and would obviously be carrying out such a huge task in stages as finances allowed.
Peninsula carpenter, Steven Edwards, won a heritage award for restoration done on this house at the ceremony in 2011. Ian had obtained a permit to restore the roof in 2007 but obviously the carpentry was chewing up the available cash. During 2011, the roof needed repairs because leaks threatened the good work that had been done.
Rather than checking that the requirements of the lapsed permit were still valid and giving Ian all the assistance they could to expedite the urgent work, "demonstrating excellence in retention, restoration and re-use of our heritage places", bureaucrats wanted him to start the permit process all over again.
Just imagine if Ian had wanted to demolish the house so he could make bundles replacing it with the concrete and glass boxes that are popping up like mushrooms wherever there's a sea view. Let the roof leak and encourage squatters to move in,just like Dr Somers' former surgery at the Esplanade/Barkly St corner near Wilson Rd. Oh no, it's fallen to bits, the interior is ruined , has little remaining heritage value and is structurally unsound. Do you see that such bureaucratic obstruction actually favours those who wish to destroy heritage and hinders those who wish to preserve it.
Council threatened to sue if Ian carried out the urgent repairs. "I told them I'm not going to see a heritage property destroyed since the damn thing is now leaking," said Mr Armstrong. The council eventually issued an updated permit at their own cost after he refused to be "put through all their hoops again".
(P.3, Mornington News, 30-7-2013.)
Remembering that we are concerned in this journal with the Port Phillip Coast rather than the hinterland, one can get an idea of what land transport was like by watching a mum or dad wheel a pram onto the beach. When sand has been compacted and is dry,it's not too bad, but once the surface has been disturbed, especially on a hill,making progress is very difficult. The hill up Jetty Rd to McDowell St alongside Rosebud Primary School was almost impassable at times! Another spot that was always difficult for wheeled travel was the hill at White Cliff, west of Rye.
The first to make the trip by land from Melbourne to the Peninsula had to carry all they needed, requiring bullock drays. Edward Hobson at Kangerong,later Tootgarook, and Maurice Meyrick at Boniyong (Boneo) were two of these. Once they approached Carrum they had to stick to the coast to avoid the Carrum Swamp. The next obstacle was Olivers Hill so their course would have been what became Three Chain Road (Moorooduc Rd.) That would be why Frankston's Davey St heads south east. James Davey had to climb Old Man Davey's Hill (as Olivers Hill was originally known) to reach his Cannanuke Run but those travelling farther south would avoid it.
Ben Baxter established Carrup Carrup Run on what was called Baxter's Flat. The others continued on, Three Chain Road also skirting Mt Eliza. The next settler to think "Thisledome" was Captain Reid who preceded A.B.Balcombe on what the latter called The Briars. It was this former soldier who suggested a duel was the only gentlemanly way to solve the dispute between Dr Edward Barker of Cape Schanck and Maurice Meyrick of Boneo.
Although heading south west, Three Chain Rd stayed parallel with the coast until it passed through the Tuerong pre-emptive right (east of The Briars) first occupied by Aboriginal Protector Thomas. This road probably followed the dray ruts left by Hobson and Meyrick. Now trending more westerly the ruts would have been followed by those who built the telegraph line and finished up at today's Ponderosa Place, Dromana. The ruts would then have continued along what the Dromana Township map has labelled as "Main Road", Palmerston Avenue, which proceeded past the present road up Arthurs Seat to link up with today's Bayview Rd. As the routes of our highways were usually blazed by pioneers with their bullock drays, it can be said that Edward Hobson did a fine job of choosing the route of the Mornington Peninsula Freeway!
The first white settler on the peninsula didn't intend to settle here and actually migrated the other way; to Melbourne! He was John Aitken who settled west of Sunbury and whose run was named Mt Aitken by Governor Bourke, an early guest at his property. The ship carrying his sheep from Tasmania went aground near Dromana and Aitken, with the help of the friendly Boon-Wurrung, carried them all ashore. No doubt he grazed his sheep nearby, perhaps on Dalkeith (north of Martha Cove near the Mornington turn-off)before taking them on the long trek to the parish of Buttlejork. He would have had no ruts to follow! He only had to parallel the coast to The Settlement (as Melbourne was known until Gov. Bourke named it after the Prime Minister, and William's Town after the King.) From there it was a different matter. He had to make a beeline toward Mt Macedon (Mt Alexander Rd)until he reached a track, soon known as Braybrook Rd (Buckley St) which led to Solomon's Ford (west end of
Canning St, Avondale Hts.) Once over the Saltwater River (probably after resting his flock on section 8, Doutta Galla for which he later received the grant) he followed the Kororoit Creek north, continuing north to the Calder Highway which he blazed as far as Mt Aitken.
Hobson stopped short of the future site of Dromana, settling between Mt Martha and Arthurs Seat on what later became Jamieson's Special Survey. Meyrick was known to have passed along the beach track for he fell asleep waiting for the tide to go out. Anthony's Nose jutted out into the sea and travellers had two options, to climb Arthurs Seat from the bottom of Foote St in Dromana or drive along the hard-packed sand at low tide.
Squatters had no fencing and it is likely that in looking for strayed cattle, Hobson had discovered the ascent from Foote St that is now Latrobe Pde. Following the course of the freeway, he discovered Hobson's Flat and just past the north end of Boneo Rd,he discovered lime, much in demand in the rapidly expanding Melbourne. He built a lime kiln near the present Marks Ave, named after one of the co-grantees of this land. It is not known whether Jamieson used the track from Foote St when he settled at Cape Schanck or took his supplies and stock by ship but the track became known as the road to Cape Schanck.
I once decided to ride my bike along part of this road, south of Browns Rd where it heads due south and is now closed. It gave me a real appreciation of how the word "travel" derived from "travail". I ended up having to wheel (sometimes carry) my bike almost the whole way because of the loose sand and abandoned my quest as soon as I reached Limestone Rd.
I won't ask you to take my word that travel was travail.Here is an extract from:
‘I Succeeded Once’:
The Aboriginal Protectorate on the Mornington Peninsula, 1839–1840.
Marie Hansen Fels.
The author of this work (which is available online) paraphrases the diary entry made by Aboriginal Protector Thomas.
21 October 1839
Thomas left Melbourne again for Arthurs Seat, meeting 54 blacks who were on
their way to Tubberubbabel; he had another awful journey, wading through
Mordialloc Creek up to his waist, nearly drowning his bullocks in a rising tide
at a creek eight miles further on (Konigo, now Frankston); then further on he
had another drama when his milking cow’s calf swam back over another creek
(between Frankston and Mt Martha, Smythe lists the following creeks, in order
going south from Frankston, Narringulling, Ballar, Kackerabooite, Gunyung
and Caarrar) the cow followed her calf, then the four hobbled bullocks followed
the cow and her calf: everyone survived, and he got back to Tubberubbabel at
Because of Anthony's Nose, settlers west of Arthurs Seat, mainly lime burners, usually arrived by ship, many of them sailors who jumped ship. The McCraes unloaded all their possessions from a vessel when they took up the Arthurs Seat Run,as did the Burrells who replaced them in 1851. Even after Ned Williams cut a road at Anthony's Nose in 1866, leading to pioneers calling it "the rocks", early residents at Rye etc still relied on sea transport to carry their produce (lime, later firewood for bakers' ovens), and return with supplies, because the beach road presented the type of travail described in my previous paragraph.
As parishes and townships were surveyed, Government roads were drawn on the maps to provide access to the crown allotments. They were not made nor were they named except in the townships. As late as the 1920's when the Stenniken grant (north of Ronald St at Tootgarook) was advertised for sale, Truemans Rd was called the Government road between Rosebud and Rye. Hiscock Rd was drawn from Old Cape Schanck to Truemans Rd and it's still shown as a dotted line west of Boneo Rd. I defy you to ride a bike along it as I tried to do. That's the sort of road that settlers faced when they arrived. Burrell Rd, the western boundary of Dromana Township, was living proof that it was easier to draw a road on a map than to make it, maintain it or even use it! To determine its location, extend the north-south section of Latrobe Pde south to the beach road. You'd have to be Superman to ride up it and a death-defying idiot to ride down the cliff.
Nobody likes paying taxes and the mainly subsistence* farmers had little money to spare, but eventually they agreed to form road boards because the roads were so bad. They kept up the tradition of early Elizabeth St in Melbourne, actually a creek course where travellers had to dodge trees and whole bullock teams perished in bogs. See my SHIRE OF FLINDERS journal re the Kangerong and Flinders Road Boards and the councillors.
(*Because the roads were so bad, and the peninsula's population so low, selling produce was out of the question so most farms had an orchard, vegetable plot, milking cows, chooks and maybe some pigs, and people ate well. The provision of piers and railways led to the establishment of guest houses which provided a summer market. Coppin's Sorrento provided a great market for the vegetables grown by Alf Head of Red Hill.
THE WHITE ROAD.
Dame Nellie Melba was a young girl when she noticed animals grazing on the Sorrento Cemetery. She was so moved that the final resting place of the pioneers was being desecrated that she organised a concert to raise funds to fence the cemetery. (See my journal about Dame Nellie's first concert.) It was ironic that Dame Nellie's father was responsible for the beginning of the end of the peninsula lime industry in the 1870's when he opened his lime quarry near Lilydale* (which must have acquired that name circa 1900; I only found this article by entering VICTORIA LIME AND CEMENT COMPANY.) (*Reason stated in LIME LAND LEISURE.)
The Lime-Burning Industry in Victoria: An Occupance ... - Ashadocs.org
by J HARRINGTON - ‎Cited by 2 - ‎Related articles
Cement Company, which included among its members David. Mitchell, who founded the Lilydale lime quarries in 1878 and the Victorian Portland Cement ...
Luckily lime burning was easily replaced by supplying ti-tree to fire the ovens of Melbourne's bakers,this new industry led by the Sullivans and Stennikens. John Cain turned his attention to farming,owning or leasing 2240 acres in the parishes of Wannaeue and Nepean by 1881. The kiln on the Rye C.F.A.site supplied the last lime,used in the construction of James Little Brown's house in May Avenue.
Due to spillage, there was plenty of lime around the old kilns and this lime was used to make some of the shire's roads,especially near Sorrento. The late Ray Cairns said that roads made with lime were beautifully smooth but once they started to break up, deterioration was rapid. Others stated that they damaged horses' hooves and were slippery when wet. The glare from the white surface could also be a problem.
Flinders Shire Council. SATURDAY, APRIL 25th.
Mornington Standard (Frankston, Vic. : 1911 - 1920) Saturday 2 May 1914 Edition: MORNING p 3 Article
... Dromana road- Monier Pipe Coy., £270. 200 yards limestone Sorrento road-G. White, £60. 200 yards limestone Canterbury Rye road -J. Watts, £61 13s 4d. 50 yards Rock's metal, Boneo road-L. lazledine £14 17s ... decided to call for limestone. The Tram Coy., Sorrento, to be notified to place the road in tho rough ... 1337 words
An anecdote from a regular summer resident described the Nepean Highway (Sorrento Road) as "the white road".
on 2013-09-08 22:23:07
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.