Saturday, October 17, 2009

The Mornington Peninsula

Bathing Boxes line the beaches throughout Port Phillip Bay - a Melbourne Icon.

Well, we are back from our weekend on the Mornington Peninsula visiting our good friends Barry and Gloria. And what a weekend it has been!!!! They have a lovely beach style home in Blairgowrie.

We decided to take Sue's Citroen Xantia for a run, it is still a low km car even thought it is now 9 years old. It probably never goes further than 10 km from home during the week. I don't get much of a chance to drive the Cit so I was looking forward to the drive along the winding road that hugs the cliffs of the bay road from Mornington to Dromana. It is truly a lovely car to drive and the views overlooking the bay are magnificent.

Sue's Xantia parked beside one of the decorated bathing boxes along the beaches of Port Phillip Bay.

On the way we just happen to discover a Triumph Sports Car "show and shine" day on a grassy park near the beach in Rosebud. Having owned a few Triumphs in the past, a stop was in order to admire some beautiful examples of this marque.

Racing Triumphs have so much character.

Although a little late we finally arrived at Blairgowrie and were greeted by our friends. After a well earned coffee we decided to become tourists and see the sights of the southern tip of the Mornington Peninsula.

The Peninsula is such an Historic part of Victoria and Melbourne's rich past. Sorrento was the first ill-fated Victorian settlement in 1803 before Van Dieman's Land or Tasmania was to become one of Britain's penal colonies after Sydney.

The father of Melbourne was John Pascoe Fawkner and he arrived on this first landing in Port Phillip Bay as an 11 year old boy with his convict father. He would later return to settle Melbourne (originally named Bear Brass).

Convicts were brought to help clear the land and build a settlement at Sorrento. Of several convicts that tried to escape, William Buckley was the only one to not be captured. He survived by living with the natives for 30 years until Melbourne was later settled in the 1830s.

Four graves on the original 1803 site have been preserved and the small part of the surrounding land includes a walking path with plaques describing the history of the settlement.

One of the four remaining graves from 1803.

Our friends live close by Sorrento at Blairgowrie and their home is only walking distance to the back beach which faces towards Bass Strait and Tasmania. The surf rolls in on the back beach and is in direct contrast to the mostly calm Port Phillip Bay no more that 2 kms away on the opposite side.
In 1967, our then Prime Minister, Harold Holt went skin diving at Cheviot Beach, off the tip of the Peninsula. He disappeared without a trace.

Above: London Bridge on the back beach.

Below: The back beach overlooking Bass Strait.

The local antique shop in Sorrento.

There are so many events on in Victoria this Month. Last weekend was the Melbourne Marathon with over 20,000 entrants and this weekend the Motorcycle Grand Prix was held at Phillip Island.

The Jayco Herald Sun Cycling Tour finished today in the suburb of Carlton after taking in seven days of competition around Victoria. Not the Tour de France by any means but the weather conditions during the week were gruelling. This week we recorded our highest rainfall in years and our Reservoirs are starting to fill again. The Tour was won by Bradley Wiggins, 3rd place getter in the Tour de France. Young Chris Sutton, son of Gary Sutton, ex-World Champion and past Sun Tour winner was second. (I had the good fortune to have ridden on the same program as their fathers many years back)

Another event on Sunday was the "Round the Bay" cycling charity ride of 200 kms. I decided to ride home from Blairgowrie (approx 80 km) and joined the approx 7,000 plus riders enjoying the sunny spring day.

Amazingly, I just happen to meet another old friend (read old fart) I hadn't seen for years and we rode together, reminiscing about our past cycling careers (all exaggerated of course).

Even seagulls enjoy the odd bicycle ride.

Our short weekend on the Peninsula can't allow for describing the many features of this playground of Melbournians. It features water sports, cafes, vineyards and a rich history that needs at least a week to absorb - below are a few links that will give a better insight to the Peninsula that my short blog can't offer. See you next Monday.


  1. How wonderful to have the ocean, wineries and great restaurants close by. Do you think a shark got the 1967 prime minister?

  2. The conspiracy theory is that he was abducted by the Chinese in a submarine as well as other far fetched stories.
    But the real answer was that the rip took him out into the ocean, never to be seen again.

  3. Swell! I've always wanted to visit Australia. My father, who was a flight engineer with Sabena, was there in the late forties on several occassions and told my mum and me many terrific stories about your great country. Who knows ... maybe one day, when I'm retired and have all the time in the world ... Martine

  4. Martine,
    I have a theory about waiting too long for things in life.
    1. Life is not a rehersal
    2. You're dead too long.
    Nike has the right motto. Just do it.
    Plus, you now have someone you know in OZ now.


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