Historical Notes

Red Hill 2009 Show Display

A display of photographs was prepared by the society for the Red Hill Show held in March 2008. This event celebrated 150 years of shows on the peninsula and 80 years of the Red Hill Show. Another outstanding display was created in 2009 and is on display in the Historical Museum, Old Shire Offices, 359A Point Nepean Road, Dromana.

Book Launch - A Dreamtime of Dromana

On 8 April 2006 the Society launched the book - 'A Dreamtime of Dromana- A history of Dromana through the eyes of a pioneering family.' Written by local historian Colin McLear, the book has 227 pages, over 100 photographs of early Dromana and contains a detailed index.

Howard Ratcliff Lawson: Builder and Entrepreneur

This fascinating display which was set up in the Museum in 2006, marked the 60th Anniversary of Lawson's death at Dromana in 1946. Lawson had the foresight to see the tourist potential in Arthurs Seat and built an extravagant complex of buildings on the summit including swimming pool, ballroom and viewing area with a camera obscura. Nearby he built several houses but his untimely death put an end to the project. Lawson also was a prolific builder of flats in the South Yarra and Dandenong Road areas.

The display is preserved and will be repeated in the future.

The Hobson Brothers

Edmund Charles Hobson and Edward William Hobson were born early in the 1800's and brought up with their grandparents in Hobart. Edmund studied natural history and medicine and was one of the founders of the Melbourne hospital whilst Edward became an explorer and grazier, and was one of the first settlers between Melbourne and Sorrento. He was also the owner of the ill-fated vessel Rosebud which was wrecked in Port Phillip Bay.

These were the subject of a recent display.

Watson Eaton - Physician to the Pioneers

In November 2002 a small display was set up in the Museum commemorating the 125th anniversary of the death of Watson Eaton in 1877.

Watson Eaton arrived in Australia on board the barque Nimrod from New York on March 1855. He was reported to have travelled out with Abraham and Rebecca Griffith who also came from Philadelphia. Watson Eaton and the Griffith family were neighbours on Jamieson's Survey and were also in partnership together.

Watson Eaton was a bachelor who had completed several years of medical training but had not qualified. Whilst farming on Jamieson's Survey he put his medical training to good use as the community lacked a doctor. Eaton always kept a horse saddled in his stable ready for an emergency. Whether he rode to Flinders or Dromana he charged a flat rate of 1 (one pound) per visit.

On 21 October 1877 while on his way to a patient he fell from his horse and sustained a badly broken leg which he attempted to set himself. Unfortunately the leg became infected and this led to his death three weeks later on 14 November 1877.

A road between Red Hill and Dromana is known as Eaton's Cutting.

Jetty Store Plaque

A plaque was unveiled on the wall of the National Bank building in Dromana on Wednesday 24 July 2002. It shows the original 'Jetty Store' built on the site.

Matthew Flinders Bi-Centenary

A museum display '1802 and All That' produced to support the launch of the Valda Cole book The Summer Survey: Log of the Lady Nelson 1801 - 1802 under command of John Murray, can still be viewed in the Museum. All copies of the book held by the Museum have now been sold.

A small booklet commemorating the ascent of Arthurs Seat by Matthew Flinders and others on 27 April 1802 is available to purchase.

In February 2002 a ceremony was conducted to commemorate the entry of the Lady Nelson under the command of Lieut. John Murray into Port Phillip Bay on 14 February 1802. This was the first ship to enter the bay. This entry was accomplished after a launch under command of William Bowen with five men had ventured into the bay on 31 January 1802 to find a suitable access passage. They returned on 4 February 1802 and reported to Murray that a 'good channel' had been found. A plaque was unveiled on the monument next to the museum to commemorate these events.

Murray named Arthurs Seat after a similar hill near his native city Edinburgh.

On 30 March 1802 the Géographe, under the command of Nicolas Baudin, sailed past from Cape Schanck heading south-west, but missed the entrance to Port Phillip Bay. The next week, French officers and men from the Naturaliste, under command of Hamelin, thoroughly explored the coast from Wilsons Promontory up to and including Western Port Bay.

The historic meeting of Baudin and Flinders took place at Encounter Bay on 8 April 1802.

The Investigator under the command of Captain Matthew Flinders entered Port Phillip Bay on 26 April 1802.

Centenary of Federation

Henry Bournes Higgins who lived at 'Heronswood', Dromana, was one of the founders of the Australian Constitution. He was member for North Melbourne in the first Parliament of the Commonwealth, and Attorney General in the first Labor Ministry formed by John Watson in 1904. He died at Heronswood on 13 January 1929 and is buried in the Dromana Cemetery. As a contribution to the celebration of the Centenary of Federation, the Society prepared a small photographic display on the life and times of Henry Bournes Higgins.

Jamieson's Special Survey

The Jamieson Special Survey of 1841 covered an area of 5120 acres (8 square miles) in the Dromana area and was bounded approximately by Ellerina Road to the North, Point Nepean Road to the South, Safety Beach to the West and a N-S line West of Tubbarubba Road on the eastern boundary.

A display relating to the Jamieson Special Survey of 1841 was presented in the Museum during the period July - December 2000. The display included photographs of some of the early settlers in the survey, and recent photographs taken near the survey boundaries. A copy of the survey map produced at the time was also included.

125 Years of Education

On December 19th, 1950, eight small schools - Red Hill, Red Hill South, Flinders, Shoreham, Main Ridge, Balnarring, Merricks and Merricks North, closed to form Red Hill Consolidated School. An era which commenced in the 1870's ended, and a new era began. The 125 years of education was celebrated at the Consolidated School on 1-2 April, 2000.