Peninsula Visitors Guide, Summer 2014, Page 037 (transcription)

Our landscapes, are many and varied theyare also replete with history.
From the originalinhabitants to early European settlement, grandhotels and even a French emperor, there are many places of interest to visit.
Sorrento was the site of the first settlement in Victoria.
Early settlers cleared the land establishing family holdings someof which survive today.
Pt.
Nepean and the Quarantine Station were the colony s first line of defence against invasion and disease and the site holds many buildings andsites of historical significance.
Standing at the endof the point looking down at the narrow channelbetween the Heads you can see why mariners ofold described their passage through the treacherouscurrents and reefs as threading the needle .
Visit the poignant pioneer cemetery and wander thetrails through moonah trees to hidden coves withviews across to Queenscliff.
Within the State Park are Seawinds Gardens - a delightfulbotanical garden just south of the Arthurs Seat summit, commanding magnificent views of Port Phillip Bay theMornington Bellarine Peninsulas.
A popular attraction in all seasons, Seawinds Gardens offers electric BBQ s picnic facilities, sculptures by William Ricketts, spectacular views a range of walking tracks that lead to areas of the Park.
Arthurs Seat has been a favourite destination for Melbournians since the 1920 s when visitors made the journey across the Bay by paddle steamer andmade their way to the summit to the Garden ofthe Moon and of course the view.
Arthurs Seat was named after a mountain near Edinburgh, Scotland by Lt John Murray during the first exploration of Port Phillip Bay in 1802.
Captain Matthew Flinders later climbed themountain and glowingly recorded the view fromthe summit in his journal.
Timbers from Arthur s Seat fed the fires of Melbourne, the lime kilns at Rye helped Melbourne build and later the Peninsula orchards fed Melbournes Markets leaving behind a legacyof historic coolstores and the timber piers which stretch out into the Bay are much as they werewhen used for trade.
Sorrento and Mornington were favoured destinations and frequent ports of call for thepaddle steamers that plied the Bay in the 19th andearly 20th centuries.
Visit Mornington and you will find the Briars, an historichomestead which harbours a world renowned collection of Napoleonic artefacts, while atSchnapper Point there is a memorial to Matthew Flinders, who first landed in the area in 1802, at the earliest stage ofEuropean Settlement.
To one side of the point is Fossil Beach, so named for the fossilsdating back 25 million yearswhich were found there as youcan see, our history goes backquite a long way on the Peninsula A great source of information on local history is the Nepean Historical Sociatey Museum pictured below cnr Beach and Melbourne Roads, Sorrento Ph 5984 0255 Open Weekends and public school holiday 1.30-4.30 pm www.visitor.com.au 37 A LiTTLE HiSTORy Portsea Sorrento Sorrento justifiably claims to be the cradle of Victorian settlement.
In 1803 30 years before the founding of Melbourne Victoria's first European settlement was established here.
Although shortlived because of the lack of freshwater, the fledgling camp of soldiers and convicts at Sullivan Bay was the scene of the first magistrate'scourt, first public hospital, first postal service, firstgovernment printing press, first water supply and firstwedding, christening and funeral service.
The first settlement site overlooking Sullivan Bay includes thegraves of the early settlers.
in 1835, when the Tasmanian founders of Victoria brought their flocks across Bass Strait in search ofnew pastures they were greeted by a wild whiteman William Buckley - convict escapee from the original Sullivan Bay Settlement who hadlived throughout the intervening decades with hisAboriginal friends and family in the western areaof Port Phillip.
Folklore surrounding William Buckley has become legend on the Mornington and Bellarine Peninsulasbut Sorrento's more illustrious rise to fame as a seaside escape for Melbourne's rich and famous sincethe 1870s has been captured in the town's NepeanHistorical Museum and Heritage Gallery.
George Coppin, the 'Father of Sorrento', led a colourfullife including stints as an actor, parliamentarian and entrepreneur, but it was his recognition and subsequent promotion of the special atmosphere ofSorrento that shot it to prominence as Victoria's most fashionable seaside resort during the late 19th century.
By the 1890s numerous guest houses, hotels andpublic buildings had been built from the high qualitylimestone of the district.
Coppin's legacy remains in the elegant buildingsthat grace the main street and headlands of the bayforeshore and it is argued that Sorrento itself is a living museum to its early limestone architecture.
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