<< Previous - Next >>

THE EAST COAST OF PORT PHILLIP BAY, CHAPTER 5, RYE.

Journal by itellya

We continue our journey to The Heads.

CHAPTER 5.
NO RYE TOWNSHIP IN 1850 BUT WHO WAS IN THE AREA? TYRONE, NO SORRENTO BUT ITS FIRST LIMESTONE COTTAGE.
COURAGEOUS HARDY WOMEN AND JENNIFER NIXON'S BOOK.

Not expecting much,I set out to find mention of limeburners on the peninsula a decade each side of 1850.

NOTICE.-The undersigned has CEASED to be in any way CONNECTED with tho BUSINESS now carried on by George Lancaster, in tho name of GEORGE WHITE, a limeburner, at Point Nepean, and will not be responsible for any debts that may be contracted by him on any account whatever from this date.Dated this 21th day of November, A.D. 1858.
his
GEORGE X WHITE,
mark
Witness, Walter Barter.
(P.8, Argus, 25-11-1858.)

I didn't have much luck finding articles about peninsula limeburners on trove but the above entry prompted me to check my journal about George White's family to see if I had provided detail re the 1859 petition there, which I had. (It can be found at the end of the TOOTGAROOK entry.) I did find an article about Owen Cain being robbed near Tullarook circa 1858.

My commentary concerning the petition lists the limeburners operating near Rye in the 1850's and the WHITE journal from which it came gives the locations of the White Brothers' kilns. As most of the kilns were not on the coast their locations will not be mentioned here but these can be checked in the maps in LIME LAND LEISURE.

RYE
In the 1850's Rye would have been a few huts on or near the foreshore. Their inhabitants probably combined limeburning and fishing to eke out a living. The township was proclaimed in 1861 and several histories claimed that the township was officially known as Tootgarook. I believed this until a search for the township of Tootgarook on trove produced not one result. So I searched for the township of Rye.

TOWN LOTS.
RYE. . .
County of Mornington, Parish of Nepean, situate on the south shore of Port Philip (sic)Bay, eight miles east of the Quarantine ground.
Upset price, £8 per acre.
Lot 1.-2r., £5 6s. the lot. Alex. K. Cowan. Lot 2.-2r., £4 Ids. Gd. the lot. Jno. Campbell. Lot 8 -2r., £6 the lot. J. Campbell. Lot 4.-2r., £5 10s. tho lot. Thos. T. Anderson. Lot 6.-2r., £4.5s. the lot. Joseph Eagin,
Lots 6 to 10.-No offer. Lot 11.-2r., £7 7s. 0d. tho lot. Alice Grace Cook. Lot 12-2r., £5 10s. the lot. A. G. Cook. Lot 13.-2r., £9 6s. the lot. Mary Ann Stenniker. Lot 14-2r" £4 the lot. M. A. Stenniker. Lot 15.-2r., £5 10s. the lot. M. A. Stenniker. Lot 16.-2r., £9 tho lot. William Grace.
SUBURBAN LOTS.
County of Mornington, parish of Kangerong, adjoining the township of Dromana, on Port Phillip Bay.
Upset price, £8 per acre.
Lot 17.-2a 3r. 26p., £3 per acre. John Campbell. (P.7,Argus, 28-4-1864.)

Alex K.Cowan's grant was crown allotment 5 of section 1, with frontages of 20 metres to the Esplanade and Nelson St between points 100 metres east of Napier St and 80 metres west of Lyons St.

John Campbell's adjoining grants were c/a 7 and 6 of section 1, on the western side of Cowan's between points 300 metres east of Napier St and 100 metres west of Lyons St. This would have been the site of the original RYE HOTEL which gave the township its name. John Campbell and William Cottier, both former Dromana residents, built this hotel.Campbell was supposed to have built the first Rye jetty in 1860. He was probably involved in the lime trade. Both Cottier and Campbell signed the petition of 9-1-1861 requesting that Robert Quinlan's school be chosen (rather than Nicholson's) to become the Dromana Common School, so they were obviously still residing at Dromana. (If they weren't, Nicholson would have pointed this out!)

Thomas Y.Anderson's grant, c/a 8 of section 1, was west of Campbell's, between points 40 metres east of Napier St and 140 metres west of Lyons St.
Joseph Eagin purchased c/a 5 of section 2 which had a frontage of one chain (20 metres) to both Nelson and Collingwood Sts and was between points 100 metres east of Napier St and 80 metres west of Lyons St.
Alice Grace Cook's grants were c/a 1 and 2 of section 3, fronting the west side of Napier St with 40 metre frontages to the Esplanade and Nelson St.

M.A.Stenniken was probably Mary Anne Stenniken (nee Sherlock),the wife of Ben Stenniken. The above mis-spelling of the surname was not an isolated incident. It is written properly on the Rye Township map but as Stenniker and Stenigain on the parish of Nepean map! As her grants were consecutive lots, I presume they were c/a 5, 4, 3 of section 3 with frontages to the Esplanade and Nelson St of 60 metres between points 100 metres east of Dundas St and 40 metres east of Napier St.

William Grace (who established the 250 acre "Gracefield" near Dromana in 1857) was granted c/a 6 of section 3 which had frontages of 20 metres to the Esplanade and Nelson St between points 80 metres east of Dundas St and 100 metres west of Napier St. His daughter married Patrick Sullivan who built the Gracefield Hotel on this site. The hotel was demolished about 50 years later by Mrs Hunt who built the PRESENT RYE HOTEL in its place. (See the foundation stone!)

Rye first developed because of lime and one of its old families can trace its time in the area to the late 1830's. It is known that Robert Rowley was lime burning ,with Henry Cadby Wells, by 1841 but his mother, a widow who remarried to Richard Kenyon, had already been there for about two years. James Little Brown,the man who transformed the ti-tee and rabbit infested wasteland south of Rye into beautiful pasture from about 1909, stayed with Robert Rowley for a couple of weeks when he arrived. No doubt Robert shared many stories of the old days with James, but not many would be as interesting and funny as this one.

"NO GOOD DAMPER INN."
TO THE EDITOR OF THE ARGUS.
Sir,In the interesting article, "The Gippsland Mystery," on Saturday, by Ernest McCaughan, it is stated that a
party of five whites and ten blacks were sent out under the leaderhip of De Villiers, an ex-police officer who kept the extraordinary named No Good Damper Inn. Apropos of this, a story was related to me by the late Robert Rowley, then of Rye (a very old colonist who had known Buckley, the wild white man). The story, which may be of interest, is that about the year 1840 lime was being burnt about Sorrento and Rye. A layer of sheoak logs was laid on the ground, then a layer of limestone. Another layer of logs, then again stone, and so on, until there was a considerable stack. Fire was next applied. By this rough and ready, though wasteful, system, lime used in the building of early Melbourne was then burned. The lime was then "slacked", afterwards sieved through a fine sieve, and forwarded to Melbourne by ketch. One of these old windjammers had the misfortune to go aground
near the site of Frankston. The lime was taken off undamaged, stacked, and carefully covered a little way from the shore.

A number of blacks were in the vicinity. They had had some little experience of the white fellow's flour. When they found the lime, sieved and done up in small bags under a tarpaulin, they were sure they had got the genuine article in plenty. So they mustered in force, took away all they possibly could, and, fearing pursuit, did not stop running till they put about 12 miles between them and the stack of lime. The blacks then mixed their flour with water upon their 'possum rugs and put the dough in the ashes to bake, the result being
spoiled rugs and bad damper. In the words of Mr. Rowley, "they called that place Dandenong," which means "no good damper. Yours, &c., J. L. BROWN
Sandringham, Sept. 8. (P.4, Argus, 9-9-1924.)

Though the following report from the Rye Correspondent comes well after 1850, it does relate to that era. The pier was required for the lime trade (which co-existed with fishing) and the void caused by the downturn in demand for lime was filled by the firewood industry.

RYE.
We have to record the death of Mr. John Campbell, a very old resident of this township, at the age of 77 years. He was one of the first contractors for the erection of the Jetty at this place, and afterwards followed various occupations up to the time of his decease. He was buried on the 11th inst., in the Rye general
cemetery-his funeral being well attended. He has been residing with his married daughter, Mrs. Jas. Cain,
for a long period, and he expired at her house.

The wood trade is very brisk, and the demand almost difficult to supply, as the ti-tree is so much required by
bakers and others, that it keeps the local suppliers at full pressure, for there are so many craftsmen* in the
trade, and the trip being short to Melbourne. they are able to make their passages very frequently.

A petition signed by nearly all the fishermen of Sorrento, Rye, Rosebud, and Dromana, to the " Anglers' Protection Society," and which was presented some time ago with regard to the destruction of the fish in the
Bay by different parties using mesh nets, has not yet had the desired effect, viz., the stopping the use of
them; but it is confidently expected that at the next meeting of that body, they will continue to urge upon the
Government the necessity of taking action before the Bay is denuded offish by this wholesale way of destroying them, and eventually depriving a number of industrious men from gaining a livelihood by hooking.
(P.2, Mornington Standard,18-5-1907.)
* Men sailing lime/firewood craft.

Another report in the same year is about one of the above-mentioned "craftsmen*." Ben Stenniken had land grants on both sides of Rye, on the west corner of Truemans Rd and south of Rye Township near the start of Melbourne Rd. He supplied the limestone for Rye's original church/hall/school on the site of the historic Anglican Church. When this was rebuilt as the church, some of Ben's limestone was re-used, supplemented by other limestone supplied by James Trueman, his neighbour at Wannaeue. Ben's lime was also used for the construction of the Dromana Anglican Church.
*Ben probably employed a skipper. I think I've read that John Cain was also a lime craft owner.

Ben's daughter, Maria, married Godfrey Burdett Wilson whose second given name (and his mother's maiden name)is recalled by a street on the Wannaeue grant. Ben's wife was the sister of Sam Sherlock who carried mail on horseback between Rye and Cheltenham in early days. The Stennikens eventually moved to Port Melbourne but Mary Ann (nee Sherlock) owned property at Dromana, which is probably how a Stenniken lad married (Lily?*) Clemenger of Parkmore at Rosebud whom he married. Mary Jane Stenniken received the grant of crown allotment 14, Fingal (Melway 253 J11), which would explain family connections with the Kennedys, (Pattersons?*) and Harry Prince.
* I just had to check. M.Wilson was Maria who married Godfrey Burdett Wilson. The Kennedy, Patterson and Stenniken graves are on the south side of the main path at Rye Cemetery about 30 metres from the gate.
PATTERSON. In loving memory of my dear sister, Rachel, who passed away at Dromana,May 27, 1923.Ever remembered.
Loved In life, treasured in death. A beautiful memory is all we have left.
(Inserted by her loving sister, M. Wilson,Dromana.)
PATTERSON (nee Stenniken).-In loving memory of my dear wife, Rachel, and our dear mother,who passed away at Dromana on the 27th May,1923. (P.1, Argus, 27-5-1925.)

STENNIKEN (nee Lily Clemenger). -On the 5th September, at Nurse Sandford's private hospital, Canterbury road, Albert Park, to Mr.and Mrs. J. Stenniken-a daughter. (P.17, Argus,15-9-1923.)


RYE.
We are happy to state that the favorite ketch " Gertrude" belonging to Mr. B. Stenniken and which sank in
the lagoon at Port Melbourne during the late gales, has been successfully floated, and it is sincerely hoped by the residents here that she will shortly be again carrying her cargoes of wood and lime, etc., to Melbourne as she has been doing for a great number of years.(P.2, Mornington Standard, 14-9-1907.)

by itellya Profile | Research | Contact | Subscribe | Block this user
on 2013-09-09 05:24:25

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.

Do you know someone who can help? Share this:

Comments

Register or Sign in to comment on this journal.