RHYMES OF OLD TIMES (2), MORNINGTON PENINSULA, VIC., AUST. :: FamilyTreeCircles.com Genealogy
<< Previous - Next >>


Journal by itellya


Before Coppin's town e'er saw a funnel
Men fished the Sorrento Channel:
At Portsea Jack Inglis, before the Watsons, led the way;
When they came he left for Queenscliff across the bay.

Henry and John came in '60, Alex in '62.
Sons of a Banff fisherman, who left the diggings for a trade they knew
And set up at Pt. Franklin to start their piscatorial labour;
Dennis McGrath's cottage housed their only neighbour.

Near The Sisters Scott, Holley, Watts and Stonner the Dane
Caught boatloads of fish time and time again,
With the help of a lookout and signals for detail:
Not getting them to markets fresh the reason they'd fail.

John Watson who'd used a lookout in the first place
Moved in 1873 to the group's West Sister base.
Hutchins came in the 80's, Erlandsen at decade's end.
For near a century Watsons plied the trade they kenned.

Ferrier, Freeman, Bucher by fishing earned a quid
At Rosebud: on the bowls club site Chinese sold their squid.
Lacco whose sons built boats, Jamieson the whaler, Fred the Greek
And Peatey, near whose block runs a drain once called Peatey's Creek.

At Dromana- Pidota,Vine, John McLear, Harry Copp;
Jonah Griffith fished and grew his maize crop.
Jimmy Williams and Harry Cairns transported the catch
To Mornington railhead, timetables to match.

At Flinders there were first fishermen Oriental;
Their dumping at Westernport perhaps instrumental.
Did they think the diggings too far away
And stay in the area to catch squid and cray?

Then Chidgey, Sidella and Mannix from Queenscliff came
And Johansen, Lucas and Kennon, whose Cove keeps his name.


Peter Pidota had a craft to fish
But he?d carry anything you?d wish.
Like wood from up near Dromana?s peak,
Loading near the mouth of Sheepwash Creek.

Walter Gibson carried mail to the Schanck
Jimmy Williams? and Harry Cairns? cargo stank,
But their passengers told them, ?Thanks,
?Better than the pony owned by Shanks!?

Jimmy sold to Keith McGregor who ran a Ford T van
To Melbourne, which they wanted to ban;
That?s when Spencer Jackson came to the fore.
Later Keith sold to Bill Adams, his Brother-in-law.

You can?t carry horses, at least not very far
So the Pattersons drove Purves? horses to Kirk?s Bazaar.
Blacks Camp Davey drove a cart for Benjie Shaw, draper,
Before Shaw turned to the guest house caper.

William Cottier liked to pull beers
But also pulled timber for building piers.
Wingy Wilson the bullocky and John Dyson?s cart;
Big businesses grew from humble start.

The Jennings delivered milk from house to house;
They worked early so the milk was cool and grouse.
Sorrento carriers fed their equine staff
With the Patterson and Cairns? oaten chaff.

At low tide, see the propped- up forty ton craft
Being loaded from dray or raft
With lime (till Lilydale?s quarry killed the trade)
Then ti tree, for baker?s oven made.

Blair?s lime trolley from Kiln to pier
Carrying groceries and Gracefield beer.
The actor?s steam tram ran up Sorrento?s hill;
Harry Watts drove it with a will!

To limit the poem to less than 20 pages, only a small selection of those who provided carriage of goods and people are mentioned here. There is enough material to write several more poems on the same topic. For example:
McLear?s bullock team at Dromana, another carter, Len Dunk, who did Jimmy Williams? fish run at a later time, the men who carted lime and then ti tree to the bay at Rye, the cabbies who carried tourists from Sorrento pier to the Amphitheatre- before, during and after the time of the steam tram and the long-awaited rail service to Red Hill.

Peter Pidota operated in the Dromana area.

Jimmy Williams and his brother Ned lived at Eastbourne (17 William Cres).
They were both bachelors. Jim started his run from West Rosebud.

Harry (Carrier or Rabbity) Cairns had a property at Melway 253 C 10 where Cape Schanck Rd met Boneo Rd. Born in 1861, he was the son of James Cairns who settled at Boneo in about 1854. He apparently lived over the road from his cousin, Hill Harry (son of Robert Cairns born 1867) whose farm was at the corner of Patterson Rd. Rabbity probably made his first pick-up at Cape Schanck, which most likely included crayfish. As his nickname implies, part of his cargo consisted of rabbits, as did Jimmy Williams?.

Going by Shanks?s Pony was an old saying that meant walking.

William Cottier ran the RYE HOTEL at Dromana before the Arthurs Seat and Dromana Hotels were built. It was between Spencer St and the bend in the highway. When Rudduck bought Karadoc in the sale of township land, Cottier, with John Campbell built a hotel of the same name EAST of Napier St in Rye.

Blacks Camp Davey Cairns lived near 259 E4 and Cairns Bay (260 G 12) is named after him.

Wilsons had butchers shops everywhere and the busline still carries the Dyson name.
The opening of the Lilydale quarry affected the demand for Peninsula lime but ti tree was an ideal fuel for bakers? ovens.

No evidence that the beer had a trolley trip but it is possible.

George Coppin was a famous actor from the gold rush days and his acquaintance with the top flight of society enabled him to sell the idea of an exclusive summer retreat to them.

LIME. XXXXXX August 2010
I wonder if the Fawkner lad, in eighteen zero three,
On sunny day, while digging under spreading she-oak tree,
Observed the white sedimentary rock, while father did his time,
Because John, 36 years on, was advertising lime.

Some men who dug and burnt this rock on hills above the rip,
Such as Ford, Watts and Dillon, had decided to jump ship.
The most westerly when displaced, in 1852, for quarantine,
Were Dennis Sullivan and the first Cannon the heads had seen.

The men who lived at the corner, now braced by timbers high,
Dug lime for Campbell, Youle,and Walker's lime kiln standing nigh.
Then they used their napping tools to break the pieces down.
This isolated back-beach settlement was known as Canvas Town.

The big kiln on the fire station site was owned by merchant Blair
Who, to beat competitors, bought land up everywhere;
His bags of lime put onto trolleys that ran directly to the pier,
Half a block east of the Gracefield pub run by Sullivan, later Mrs Weir.

As the gold rush saw Melbourne's mortar demand becoming even keener
Ti tree began to replace dwindling stands of she- oak/Casuarina.
Women milked the cows , grew veg.,did all the chores around,
While the men dug and burnt the white rock from the ground.

With the roads so bad, Stenniken, Blair and Cain sailed lime up the bay
And returned with goods that would take ages to come by dray;
For Rye's school fence timber, there were agonising waits;
But then they could get luxuries like willow- patterned plates.

Men toiled to chop, dig and fire, jobs never made for ease:
Natives, Chinese, Maoris, Greeks and Portugese.
Sullivan and Page at the end of Weeroona Road;
Albress loaded lime and wood:Webster himself did load!

At last the need for lime declined.
The depression forced them other jobs to find.
Cairns boys born and bred to lime at Boneo,
As farmers, farther south, near Pattersons, did go.

For others, bakers saved the day;
Ti tree was felled and carted to the bay;
Cut in sections two foot six in length
To heat the ovens with fiery strength.

When Dr Blair and the Sorrento-bound came to their cool retreat,
Coppin's tram hauled tourists on rails up the hilly street
From Pier to amphitheatre surf. Later many roads were white
But lime was slippery and sharp on hooves: it really wasn't right.

Land held by owners who were absent,
Smothered by ti-tree growing rampant,
With rabbit burrows everywhere;
Restored by Jim Brown's visionary flair.


John Pascoe Fawkner's mother should have been declared Australia's first saint!
Hannah Pascoe had been born into a fairly well-off family, as we shall see later, and little suspected, when she married the silversmith, possibly an apprentice at the time, that a blunder he was to make would estrange her from them. When he was sentenced to transportation, Hannah made the hard decision to farewell her loved ones, and with 12 year old John, join Collins on the voyage to the settlement he was to establish briefly at Sullivan Bay.
In Van Dieman's Land, this Peninsula pioneer lovingly produced a literate son who cared for others, although by the time he was full-grown at 5 foot 2 he was starting to develop the spite which slightly tarnished his accomplishments. To manage this when the boy was surrounded by the dregs of London's slums was indeed a miracle. Melbourne may have been centred on Fisherman's Bend instead of Queen St if it had not been for Hannah's loyalty to husband John. She returned to England to collect an inheritance but came back to her husband; the money probably set young John up in his Launceston newspaper and hotel businesses.(John Batman, who favoured the Fisherman's Bend site had boasted of his land in Fawkner's pub.)
Hannah's son adopted her maiden name as his second name upon her death as a mark of respect for this wonderful woman. I was delighted to have Hannah Pascoe Drive (Melway 16, C/3) so-named to acknowledge her contribution. John Pascoe Fawkner's main contribution, in my opinion, was to be fifty years ahead of the government in providing freehold land for his beloved yoeman farmers. He formed co-operatives to obtain Crown grants at Coburg, Hadfield,Airport West, and at Tullamarine near Mansfields Rd and on Airport land near Melrose Drive.For a small contribution a small plot of land, often 7 acres, was available to anyone near neighbours like Taylor, Robertson and Clarke who had thousands of acres.

Many of the Scandinavian, Greek, Portugese etc pioneers of the area may have jumped ship. Certainly enough pioneers of British stock did so. There may have been crewmen who knew that most of their ship mates would desert and head for the diggings. Perhaps knowing of the lime industry and certain employment, from previous trips, they decided to save days of starvation and a walk back from Melbourne. The Chinese were probably diggers who had landed at Westernport (to avoid restrictions) and had returned to the peninsula because of racial tensions on the goldfields. The Wong family of the east side of Chinamans Creek on Cairns' land may have come in this fashion.
Sullivan was able to move to another family kiln but Cannon seems to have left.
Canvas Town was near the corner of Tasman Drive and Canterbury Jetty Rd. I believe that Youle should properly be Yuille and that a spelling mistake on a document has been perpetuated.
The trolley went through the general store site on the way; there was a branch line so goods for the store could be unloaded without blocking the passage of lime.
Mrs Weir was born a Sullivan.
Ti tree had constituted a minor part of the open parkland that explorers saw; she-oak and Banksia were the common species. The lack of Ti tree was due to burning by the aborigines; a burn at least every five years is needed to stop it getting out of hand. Absentee owners failed to control it.
There were more ship owners of course. It was W.A.Blair and Co that made them wait.
A pioneer in ?lime land leisure? said that everyone had these plates.
At the end of Maori Street was the Maori Farm.
Jim Brown came from the mallee and cleared the ti tree jungle to produce rich pastures.

by itellya Profile | Research | Contact | Subscribe | Block this user
on 2012-02-24 11:40:14

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:


Register or Sign in to comment on this journal.