With memories of our The Great Victorian Road still overwhelming us, we are now at our Airbnb on the Mornington/Mount Martha boundaries. The trusty car has been returned and, although, it was a comfortable effortless car to drive, it is nice for Jon not to have to concentrate on the narrow winding roads and deciphering my attempt at navigation. Still no GPS for us!
The plan is to chillax and just enjoy being on the Peninsula and the Bay for a week. Our hosts are Mal and Kate and they are a lovely couple who have made us feel very at home. They are supposedly retired but their feet don’t seem to touch the ground. Kate enjoys painting and each room has at least one of her pieces displayed. Mal spends a lot of his time in the garden which is a beautiful shady haven. He also makes bird boxes and prepares seed blocks for the variety of feathered visitors in his trusty shed. Oh, I mustn’t forget to mention the head of the family, “Babette”. She is a very strong willed cat who has obviously picked up a few airs and graces from watching Downton Abbey with Kate. I even received a kind invitation to join Kate and her friend Carol for a coffee at Flock which is a lovely little coffee shop on a little parade of shops in this quiet residential area. Ladies out for coffee – get me!
You will be glad to hear that it hasn’t all been sitting about, we walked for 50 minutes north to Mornington Pier. We stopped along the way at various beaches dotted along the Bay and read the way-markers detailing the navigation and charting of this area by Captain Flinders with the crew of HMS Investigator in 1802. At the end of the walk along the Bay, we arrived at the park in Mornington where there was a fresh produce market. All the stalls were full of local produce and there were lot of people getting the bargains as they packed up. A much needed coffee was had at the pier where we watched some divers jumping from the pier wall into the harbour to explore.
While in Mornington we also visited the Memorial Garden which remembers those who have served from Mornington at various conflicts. The entrance to the park had two pine trees grown from the seeds of trees from Gallipoli. Amongst the memorials is one to Prisoners of War and a bench dedicated to Sir Ernest “Weary” Dunlop. He was a surgeon in WWII who was taken prisoner in 1942 and endured three years hard labour working on the building of the Burma-Thailand Railway. Disease was high and morale was low but he was said to be a “lighthouse of sanity in a universe of madness and suffering”. He survived the war, forgave his captors and dedicated a lot of his time and efforts supporting returning POWs. No explanation though as it why he has the nickname “Weary”.
The Football Tragedy
There was just one more memorial we wanted to see. This one was on the Esplanade. From a distance it looked like another war memorial but when you look closer it is a memorial for a football tragedy. In 1892 the local team traveled by boat to play another team, Mordialloc, 15 miles around the Bay. The boat was the 28 foot “Process” and was captained by an experienced and well respected local man. They arrived, played their game and departed at 6pm to sail home. Four players decided to take the train back to Mornington instead. The Process should have arrived between 8 and 9pm but by 9.30pm it had not arrived. After one of the parents travelled by pony and trap to Mordialloc, it was confirmed that they boat had departed at 6pm with no known problems. On his return at 3am they woke Reverend Caldwell, father of three of the young men on the boat. The next day many boats searched for the Process and the fifteen passengers and crew. The overturned boat was found with one passenger drowned underneath. Three other bodies were eventually recovered. The cause is not known, although another boat in the vicinity that night said that there had been a sudden squall which may have caught the captain unawares.
One of our other little outings this week was to Mount Martha and Balcombe Reserve. Again, lovely little beaches along the way and a stop at Mr Curtis for a yummy lunch. Oooo and some lovely beach huts.
Sunsets on the Bay
As many nights as possible, we have headed to the beach for the sunset. There have been some stunning ones across this vast Bay where the view seems endless. Invariably the beach is deserted, apart from the occasional jogger. A few nights ago we knew it was a good one because a guy arrived with his tripod and top notch camera. Shame he didn’t have his top notch watch because he was 5 minutes too late! Anyway, pictures don’t ever do the real thing justice although we had a good try……..
It has been a very relaxing week which has helped to recharge our batteries before heading further south to Tasmania. First though, we are spending two nights with our good friends Shelagh and Brian and saying goodbye to them. We have had two dummy runs at this when we had headed off on our jaunts around Victoria but this will be the big one until who knows when. Am I prepared? We shall see.
14.11 – 18.11.2015