<< Previous - Next >>


Journal by itellya

Georgiana McCrae had been told by 1851 by Charles Latrobe that a township was planned for the coastal strip on the west of Arthurs Seat. Fear that the homestead area of the Arthur's Seat would be swallowed by this township was a factor in Andrew McCrae deciding to relinquish the Run, which was taken up by the Burrells.
The very fact that a township was planned is an indication that the timber on Arthurs Seat was already being exploited. It would be a miracle if there were any details in The Argus about the early timber-getters so the assertion that many of them were Irish will have to be accepted for now. Drom is the Gaelic word for hill or ridge (Droim (ridge, hillock) Drum-, Drim-, Drom- Drumcree, Drumanoo, Drumcondra).
The connection between our Dromana and the one in Ireland was illustrated by Cr Pittock's recent visit to the latter. See the following:
Off to Dromana House in Ireland, to be sure | MPNEWS

For decades after Dromana was officially named, the location of properties in a huge area near Arthurs Seat was specified as (Rosebud,Main Creek etc) NEAR DROMANA. In 1855, Alexander Cains and R.AMOS (not Airley) bought Menstrie Mains on the north west corner of Boneo and Browns Rd and G.Warren obtained the grant for c/a 18 bounded by today's beach road, Adams Avenue, Eastbourne Rd and Jetty Rd. Dromana had obviously not been named, Arthurs Seat being used to indicate location.
At Arthur's Seat, eastern shores of Port Phillip Bay.
13 143a 2r l6p, per 3, A Cairns and R Airey, 20 s. (per acre)
28 152a 2r 16p, G. W. Warren, 21s (per acre.)

It was at about this time that a gold-mining area was officially named Sandhurst, provoking much opposition (for which I have no time to find examples), the miners preferring the commonly used name of Bendigo. The following explanation involving two pioneering families on the peninsula. The name GRICE was associated with Sunnyside etc. near Mornington and William MYERS,a descendant of a squatter near Bendigo bought the Journeaux estate in Balnarring; hence the name of Myers Rd between Junction Rd and the Bittern railway station.)

The origin of the name "Bendigo" has, time after time, led to much controversy. Now, the origin of the name is thus accounted for. A few old residents are yet in existence who will remember that Messrs.Heap and Grice occupied as a station run the country now forming the Sandhurst district. On this question, says the INDEPENDENT, we have been shown an extract from a letter received by Dr. Pounds from Mr. Grice which should put the matter at rest for ever. Mr. Grice writes:—"Tell your friends who want to know the origin of Bendigo, that it was named by Tom Myers, Heap and Grice's overseer, in 1841. Tom himself was a bit of a dab with his fists, and a great admirer of the boxer Bendigo: hence the name." From "Tom Myers" those well-known localities Myers' Flat and Myers' Creek take their names.
(P.17, Australian Town and Country Journal, 21-9-1878.)

Perhaps this opposition led to the realisation by the government that Aussies no longer wanted the names they had bestowed on areas changed to honour big nobs. Not much later, Dromana had an official name!
At Arthur's Seat, on the eastern shore of Port Phillip Bay, county of Mornington, parish of Kangerong. (Grantees listed.)
P.6, Argus, 19-8-1856.)

There is no reason to doubt Charles Gavan Duffy's claim to have christened the Sorrento area. You can bet your bottom dollar that if there was another explanation for the origin of the name, PUNCH would have delivered the KNOCKOUT PUNCH. There were many papers which lampooned Duffy and if Punch or these other papers had any evidence to counter his claim, they would have rejoiced in doing so. Another grantee before the village of Sorrento existed, indeed the reason for its birth, William Allison Blair, would have taken any opportunity to bring his foe down a peg or two if Duffy's claim was not true.

Sorrento's Papa.
MR.PUNCH.—DEAR SIR.—You are sometimes hard upon me, but I know you will do me justice.I am the paternal parent of Sorrento, and I christened it into the bargain.Coppin is an innovation, quite a recent importation. I invented Sorrento, and made a pretty penny by it; and didn't Kerferd, Anderson, Casey, and a lot more go into the spec. and profit by it?
Yours, C.G.D. (P.7, Melbourne Punch, 25-1-1877.)
Geelong Advertiser (Vic. : 1859 - 1924) Thursday 31 December 1874 p 3 Article
Some years ago Mr (now Sir Charles) Duffy paid a visit to Dr Callan, his brother-in-law, medical officer of the sanitary station, and was much struck with the beauty of this locality. He conceived it would become a favourite watering place for Melbourne residents, and selected a large area of land which he christened Sorrento, probably being struck with its natural features, much resembling Italian scenery.

Unfortunately, most of Duffy's grants near Sorrento do not bear the date on which each was issued. Some that do were purchased after the village was declared but crown allotment 60, Nepean, of 28 acres, on the north east corner of Hughes and Melbourne Rds (occupied today by Hester, Kay and Rowland Sts and most of Derrick St) was granted on 23-10-1868, proof that Duffy was there prior to the village.

In looking for the first mention of the village of Sorrento, I discovered a perfect example of the constant lampooning of Charle Gavan Duffy.
The Village of Sorrento.—Mr. Charles Gavan Duffy, has his eye on the sweet little village of Sorrento, which for the information of the ignorant we may state is not a thousand miles by water from Queenscliffe nor is it a hundred by land from the sanitary station, at Point Nepean. Mr. Duffy is solicitous about the Somersetshire passengers.Unfortunate ladies and gentleman, they have been vaccinated and fumigated and what not; and-now they are cut off from all communication with the civilised world. Would it not be well,.asks Mr. Duffy, to connect them by telegraph. The electric flash can't possibly infect Melbourne, and then there's Sorrento.
—shrewd Mr, Duffy! (P.3, Bendigo Advertiser, 5-6-1871.)

Strangely the subdivision sale of Williamson's Paddock in Toorak confirms the Italian origin of Sorrento's name.
Note.-The most splendid views are really to be obtained from this property. Away to the westward, over the bay and Williamstown, the You Yangs and the Anakies rise like the outline of the Forshireth, near Suez, sweeping a course N.B. and S., round to the Heads again, and carrying with them the heights of Mounts Martha, Eliza, Dromana, and Arthur's Seat, and passing the now " new Italiano" of Victoria, known as tho pretty village of Sorrento. (P.2, Argus, 29-1-1872.)
And this is the first instance I have found of the official use of Sorrento as a place name in Victoria. Any earlier reference to village of Sorrento concerns the place in Italy.

A SALE of CROWN LANDS, by public auction, will be held at 2 o'clock of Friday, 7th January, 1870, at the Government auctioneers rooms, Melbourne. The following lots will be offered :
Sorrento, county of Mornington, parish of Nepean, on Port Phillip Bay, at Sorrento Point. Upset price,£8 per acre. Allotments 1, 2,3 and 4, 5 and 0,7 and .8, 0 and 10,11, sec, 1 ; 1 and 2, 8, 4,5 and 0, 7 and 8,
0,10,11 and 12, seo. 2, 2r. 10 0 10p. to la. 26p.
County of Mornington, parish of Nepean, on Port Phillip Bay, adjoining the village of Sorrento. Upset prices £2 10s to £3 per acre. Allotments 1 to 16 la. Sr/ Jfp. to Sa 3r. 27p. (P.7, Argus, 20-12-1869.)

Sidney Smith Crispo should not have listened to the Italian. This was on the end of his letter about the creation of the village of Sorrento. I spent a week trying to find any connection between DROMANA and Italy or Crispi/Crispo.
Dromana was named after a town in Italy, where Signor Crispi has a large house, I used to think it an aboriginal name till an Italian put me right.
(P.3, Mornington Standard, 1-6-1899.)

Viewed: 1257 times
Likes: 0
by itellya Profile | Research | Contact | Subscribe | Block this user
on 2015-10-04 07:39:23

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.