THE EAST COAST OF PORT PHILLIP BAY, CHAPTER 7, SORRENTO AND PORTSEA.
MR COPPIN AND SORRENTO.
TO THE EDITOR.
Sir.-In your issue of the 18th May Mr Coppin is called the discoverer of Sorrento. This is a mistake. When
the Hon. James Grant was Minister of Lands and Survey, Mr Charles Gavan Duffy and` Mr Blair, lime merchant,
each applied fpr the site of Sorrento, no doubt on account of the limestone in the ground, but by some oversight, it could not be discovered who had made the first application, and a long dispute arose, appearing in the press at the time. But as both applicants had much land I wrote to Mr Grant, and suggested the site should be cut up into small lots and put up at ?4 an acre, so as to give other people a chance to get land.
This was done, and a Government township surveyed, and a jetty built. Mr Kerferd and Mr Anderson, Commissioner of Trade and Customs were the first to build houses, and then I believe followed the Sorrento hotel. Who built next I do not know, but old Sorrento residents may be able to supply the information. Some considerable
time afterwards Mr George Coppin got a company to promote journeys to the Back Beach, but at that time the
cost of steamboat fares was ?1, and I wrote to Mr Coppin suggesting that his company should run a steamer at
reduced fares, after trying to get the fares reduced without result. Mr Coppin's company, after a time, bought and ran the Golden Crown, and reduced the fares to 3s 6d. This made the place go ahead quickly, and great credit is due to Mr Coppin and his Coy. Mr Duffy suggested the name Sorrento as he had been travelling in Italy, and named it after a town there. Long before Sorrento was founded I tried to start a town for summer resort threemiles east of Sorrento, but no lots were sold at that time. After Sorrento started I sold many lots. Canterbury never became a township, being eclipsed by Sorrento. Some place Mr Duffy, and some Mr Coppin as the founder of Sorrento, but no one has placed Mr Grant or myself in that position.
(Crispo should have stuck to his own experience because he concluded by giving the wrong origin of Dromana's name, supplied by an Italian. Drom is a Celtic word for hill and Dromana is of Irish origin.)
S. S. CRISPO.
Rye. (P.3, Mornington Standard, 1-6-1899.)
Duffy and Blair had been fighting court battles over land before Crispo suggested the village of Sorrento be created.
The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957) Friday 15 January 1869 p 6 Article
... dummies, preferred against Mr. C. G. Duffy And Mr.W.A.Blair., Yesterday the decision of the ... Blair against the Hon. Mr. Duffy, and tho other a counter-charge brought by Mr. Duffy Against Mr. Blair. The charge in each case is one that is commonly called dummy ism. It has been referred to ... 3570 words
Crown Lands Office, Melbourne,
December 21, 1869
A SALE of CROWN LANDS by public auction will be held at 2 o'clock on Friday, 11th January,1S70, at the auction rooms of Mostr?. Gemmell,Tuckott, and Co, Colllns-ntreet west, Melbourne,
The following lots will bo offered :
Sorrento, oounty of Mornington, parish of Nepean, on Port fhillip Bay, at Point Sorrento. Upset price,
?1 per acre. Allotments ? to 6, Sec. 1 ; 1 to 8, Sec.
2. Dr. 8p. to la. ICp.
County of Mornington, parish of Ncpoan, adjoining the last-named lot?, on Port Phillip lUy. Upset price,
?3 per acre. Allotments 1 to 12, 9.1 to 16A, 13 to 30, la 8r. 17p. to 0a. 2r. IE 4-10p.
, Piano and Information can be obtained at tho Crown Land Office, Molbourno.
(P.7, Argus, 10-1-1870.)
Extract from: It's a Small World - Vicnet
IT'S A SMALL WORLD
Since I began entering the details of our pioneering ancestors into the records from 1977 onwards, there have been many amazing co-incidences and stories that have emerged, but none more so than the tale which can now be told.
Two men - James Sandle Ford, baptised on 12th of May, 1811, at Havant, Hampshire, England, and Samuel Morey, baptised on 2nd of May, 1811, also of Havant, Hampshire, were among a large group of men who were convicted at the Winchester Assizes on 30th of December, 1830, on a charge of machine breaking. Both men were sentenced to seven years transportation per the ship "Eliza II" (3rd voyage), which arrived at Hobart, Van Diemen's Land on the 26th May, 1831.
It is known that James Sandle Ford received a Free Pardon on the 3rd February, 1836 and that he left Launceston, VDL for Melbourne, Port Phillip, on 9th December, 1836, per the vessel "Enterprise".
Meanwhile, Samuel Morey was married at Hobart, VDL on 2nd May, 1836 to Catherine Travers. It is not yet known how or when they crossed to Melbourne.
James Sandle Ford was married on 8th February, 1841 at St. Francis' Roman Catholic Church, Melbourne, to Hannah Sullivan and Samuel Morey and his wife, Catherine, were the witnesses.
James Sandle Ford died on 18th July, 1890 at Portsea, Victoria; his wife Hannah having died there on 15th December, 1878.
Dennis and Honora Sullivan arrived at The Heads in about 1843(from memory) and their daughter, Hannah, married James Sandle Ford. They had probably met in Melbourne where some Sullivans had astounded everyone with their giant cucumber and an Honora Sullivan had committed an offence against the Masters and Servants Act,leaving the employer with whom she had undertaken a contract to serve another who had offered her more money. (BEARBRASS and EARLY MELBOURNE.) It is extremely likely that cucumber-growers were the elderly Dennis Sullivan and his children. If so their horticultural skills were extremely handy for James Sandle Ford who supplied vegetables and other produce to the Quarantine Station, which displaced the Sullivan family. Patrick Sullivan moved the family to the Rye area, married William Grace's daughter and later built the Gracefield Hotel on the site of the present Rye Hotel. When Patrick died,the management of the lime kiln (on The Dunes golf course site) was left in the hands of Antonio "Albas*" while his son James concentrated on firewood for bakers' ovens in Melbourne and the Gracefield Hotel. Later Mrs Weir (a Sullivan girl) ran the hotel for many years.
*It was stated in Lime Land Leisure that the kiln manager might have actually been Tony Salvas; such misinformation was the reason I wrote my first FAMILY TREE CIRCLES journal, about Antonio Albress!
The Farnsworth Track - Visit Mornington Peninsula
The first European explorers described the Nepean Peninsula as park-like, with Drooping Sheoak (Allocasuarina verticilla) and Moonah (Melaleuca lanceolata) interspersed with grassy clearings. When Lieutenant John Murray aboard the ?Lady Nelson? entered Port Phillip Bay in 1802 he described the topography of the southern shore as ?. . . bold and high land with stout trees of various kinds ... The trees are at a good distance apart and no brush intercepts you?. This timber was rapidly cleared when European settlers came; larger grazing areas were required, fence posts and firewood were needed, and the Sheoak was used to burn limestone to make lime for
the Melbourne building industry.
Arriving in 1840, James Sandle Ford was the district?s first successful settler. Convicted of ?machine breaking? in the agricultural unrest in southern England in 1830, he had been transported to Van Diemen?s Land, then pardoned before finding his way to the Peninsula.
He named the area Portsea after his home town in England and his energy and enterprise were soon evident, as he shipped lime to Melbourne and supplied produce to the nearby Quarantine Station established in 1852.
The Farnsworth family
The local Farnsworth family originated from John Farnsworth, who built some notable Sorrento and Portsea houses; the Sorrento Hotel and the Nepean Hotel, Portsea. John married James Ford?s daughter, Anne. Their son John Nepean Farnsworth farmed the area between Campbell?s Road and Portsea Golf Course (north of the walking track) and operated a horse-drawn transport business. Twentieth-century developments were introduced by John Nepean?s two sons John James and Harry, who developed an extensive transport business.
John James Farnsworth (1902 -1984) had a long and active association with the district. After the Second
World War he established a red bus service linking Sorrento and Portsea via Mt Levy. He is mainly remembered for the Sorrento- Portsea-Queenscliff ferry service that he initiated in 1953 with the ?Judith Ann?; he worked actively on the ferries until 1979. His desire to encourage more people to share the beauty of the ocean beach led to a long involvement with the former Ocean Park Committee.
MORE PORTSEA MEMORIES...
THE VILLAGE OF THE FORTIES
By B.H. McKERNAN
My grandfather, James Sandle Ford, with his wife and several young children settled at Portsea in the forties and named it after Portsea, a suburb of Portsmouth. At that time is was open well grassed country without tea-tree. After getting a home together my grandfather began to rear cattle and horses. The cattle he sold as meat to the shiploads of early settlers who landed in the adjacent quarantine station where they had to stay till granted a clean bill of health before proceeding up the bay to Sandridge. After weary months on board ship they
must have enjoyed fresh meat and eggs and butter from the dairy of my grandfather. The horses were driven in large mobs to Melbourne to be sold.
My father Alfred Ford was born in Portsea in 1850 and he lived most of his life there till his death in 1928. He often told us of his first visit to Melbourne at the age of 11 years, when he rode on horseback with some of his father's stockmen who were taking a mob of horses to be sold. When they reached the city they had great trouble in getting the horses safely across the ford at the Yarra where Princes Bridge now stands. My father spent some of his time fishing at this ford.
From the cottage in which he lived my grandfather built the present Nepean Hotel which has been added to and increased. It remained in his family for many years being kept by himself, a son and a son in-law for some years. It changed hands about 30 years ago. It again came into the family being bought by a son-in law John Cain whose daughters still own and conduct it. John Farnsworth who afterward married a daughter of James Ford and died there last year and whose son became a coach proprietor was the contractor and builder who erected the Nepean Hotel and houses owned at present by Mrs O'Hara (previously owned by Mr Ross Cox) and Mr Le Souef (originally built for Dr Robertson of St Kilda father of Dr W.Robertson of the Department of Agriculture) My grandfather reserved the beautiful block of land in front of the Nepean Hotel for a park and also built at his
own expense the first portion of the Portsea pier which extended to where the steps now are but was then deep enough to permit vessels such as the Golden Crown to load and unload their cargoes. He also built sea baths several piles of which are still standing and bathing boxes.
My father received his first education in a building which stood where some of the bungalows at Marshalls Hotel
now stand. The late Walter Knight, father of Charles Jack and Archie was also a scholar there. My father was
sent to school at Dromana later to finish his education. Later a school conducted by the late Mr and Mrs Hiskins was erected between Portsea and Sorrento where children of both places were taught. About 40 years ago a school was erected in the grounds of the quarantine station but it was not very satisfactory. When the quarantine station was closed during an epidemic the teacher stayed in quarantine and taught the children of the station hands. The few children who went from Portsea had to sit on a form outside the fence and receive their instruction,as well as the cane,from the mistress on the other side. The present State school built at Portsea about 17 years ago is really its first school.
The Lime Kilns...
Until all the limestone was taken from the ground lime burning was for many years the main industry. At one time my father had about 20 Chinese quarrying for him. The stone was burnt in kilns and sent to town in lime craft. As a child I remember going for our daily mail to the Nepean Hotel whither it was brought by coach from Dromana. It had been brought by another coach from Mornington where it had arrived by train. As there was not a post office the post mistress had a room at the Nepean Hotel. There was then not even the small wooden store which was afterward built by Mr Roberts and later bought by Mr W H Goss who enlarged it and had the post office transferred to where it now is.
My father told us that 60 years or more ago Portsea was the holiday rendezvous of men of letters learning and law from the city. Some of their descendants even to the fourth generation are still regular visitors. Before the death of the late Dr Fitchett there were four generations of his family there on holidays together.
More than 40 years ago Portsea became a garrison town. Barracks and fort were built and guns now long obsolete and dismantled were its pride and joy. For many years a company of permanent soldiers consisting of about 80 men and officers was stationed there. They were called the Victorian Permanent Artillery. Many had served in British regiments and it was a great delight to us children to see them march to the pier headed by the band which was sometimes stationed at Portsea. They wore navy uniforms well tailored with white helmets and white gloves. Once a month they boarded the little Mars or Vulcan to attend a full dress parade at Queenscliff. For many years now the barracks and fort have been deserted and left in charge of one gunner.
In the early days people came for a change and a rest, and wore their oldest clothes. When mixed bathing began,
about 35 years ago, and the women wore bathing gowns from neck to ankle, how horrified the inhabitants were to see them bathing by the pier with their menfolk clad only in bathing trunks! In spite of all the crowds which have bathed at Portsea, there has never been a drowning accident, which speaks well for the safety of the beaches. When one sees service cars arriving and departing frequently throughout the day one thinks how means
of transport have improved during the last 30 years. During the winter months, from May till November, one relied on the S.S.Dispatch, which called once a week, to get either to or from the city. This little steamer, calling at Queenscliff and Portsea on the way, was advertised to leave Melbourne for the Gippsland Lakes
every Saturday at 2 p.m, but on the amount of cargo to be loaded often depended the time of sailing. Given a favourable wind and tide, and not too much cargo to unload at Queenscliff,
the Dispatch arrived at Portsea at any time between 7 p.m. and midnight. This weekly arrival was the social event of the week. The village turned out and often waited for hours in the cold and wind on the pier or in the shed. On her return from Lakes Entrance the Dispatch was due to call at Portsea to pick up passengers and cargo at 9 a.m. on Thursday, which she did if weather permitted. Sometimes passengers waited for a couple of days on
the pier, and the Dispatch would pass through on Saturday morning without calling and go to town to set off on her weekly trip outward bound. The intending passengers then had to wait till the following Thursday for their trip to the city.
How eagerly the residents waited for the Hygeia or Ozone to commence the season on Derby Day! They ran for six
months until the end of April. Everybody turned out on Derby Day to meet the boat at Sorrento and to welcome
friends and relations whom they had not seen for six months. Visitors during the winter months were few and rare, though several families which had seaside cottages came for the midwinter holidays.
Mr. William B. Ford, late of the Nepean Hotel, Portsea, and a member of the Flinders Shire Council, committed suicide yesterday by cutting his throat. He was missed from his room by his wife, and upon a search being
made he was found with his face downwards on the floor, quite dead. The police immediately took possession of the place, and a magisterial inquiry will be held tomorrow. Troubles of a pecuniary nature are thought
to have been the cause of the fatal act.
The journalist beat the shire by thirty years in dropping Kangerong from its name!
William had lived on Wannaeue Station, bounded by Eastbourne, Jetty/Old Cape Schanck, Hiscock and Boneo Rd and had a hero, named William Salmon, as his cook.
SHIRE of FLINDERS and KANGERONG.-Notice is hereby given, that an ELECTION to fill an ordinary vacancy in the council for the West Riding of the above shire will be held on Thursday, the 9th day of August next.And I hereby appoint Tuesday, tho 31st inst, as the day before which, and my residence, Wannaeue, as the place at which, nominations of candidates, shall be delivered. WILLIAM FORD, Returning Officer.
The following account of the history of Portsea and Sorrento by Sidney H.Wilson is excellent although the newspaper ink must have been running short, resulting in about 1% of the digitised text resembling English.
ORTSEA and SORRENTO MEMORIES OF SIXTY YEARS AGO
The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957) Saturday 12 March 1932 p 8 Article Illustrated.
The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957) Wednesday 21 February 1877 Supplement: The Argus Summary for Europe p 1 Article
... age in March. He is employed as cook on the station of Mr. Ford, at Wannaeue, between Rye and ..
Apart from lime burners and James Ford, many early settlers in the Portsea/Sorrento area were fishermen. See my journal about the Watsons and Stirlings of Portsea and Sorrento. Don't forget to visit the Nepean Museum and John Watt's nearby limestone cottage. Oh,and one more thing, while there,the tramway station above the Sorrento pier.
If I interpret the following correctly, James Murray married James Sandle Ford's sister and James Ford's father had died the day after Murray, both being buried in the same grave,presumably on the Vic.market site.
CORONER'S INQUEST.-Yesterday a Coroner's Inquest was convened at Mr. Howard's Union Inn, Elizabeth-street, upon view of the body of Mr. James Murray, landlord of the Melbourne Tavern, Elizabeth-street, who died at the
station of his brother-in-law, Mr. Ford, at Point Nepean, on the evening of Wednesday last. From the evidence it appeared that the deceased had latterly been drinking to such an excess as to bring on an attack of delirium tremens. The jury returned as their verdict, " That the said James Murray died by the visitation of God whilst in a state of delirium tremens the effect of previous intemperance." It is a somewhat extraordinary coincidence that the father-in-law of the deceased expired four and twenty-hours after his son-in-law; he was an old man named Ford, and had been bed ridden for some time. They were yesterday both consigned to one tomb.
(P.2, Melbourne Argus,16-2-1847.)
on 2013-09-10 01:42:02
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.