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Monday, October 05, 2009

Collin's Historical Settlement , Sorrento

Collins Settlement Historic Site, Sullivan Bay, just east of Sorrento, 70 km south of Melbourne, is the place where Lieutenant Colonel David Collins, accompanied by civil officers, marines, free settlers and 229 convicts landed in October 1803.

The settlement is significant because it was the first attempt to settle Europeans permanently in what is now Victoria.

A small part of Collins Settlement Historic Site was acquired in 1982 by the State Governement, with the help of public donations. Friends of Collins Settlement Sorrento Inc. assist with managing the area, which overlooks Cameron Bight.

For centuries before Collins landed, Aborigines used the site on a seasonal basis for collecting shellfish. Shell middens on the cliff tops contain evidence of their activities.

The new colonists quickly discovered that water was scarce, and suitable timber could not be found. The treacherous entrance to the bay made the site unsuitable for whaling and with few marines, the settlement was vulnerable to attack. Collins decided to abandon the settlement and move to Van Diemens Land (Tasmania) in January 1804. Little evidence of the settlement exists.

Four graves on the eastern headland, (the Eastern Sister) and parts of barrels, leg irons, bottles and other pieces are all that remain. These can be seen in the Sorrento Museum, Melbourne Road, Sorrento.

I visited this Historic Place on Sunday October 4, 2009, exploring the Site, Cameron Bight Beach, Cameron Bight Jetty, the newly built Information Centre, the two Lookouts, and the Settlers' Graves site.

Interprative signs along the walking trail describe the history of the site.

The views from the Lookouts were marvellous, looking over Cameron Bight, Port Phillip Bay, Sullivan's Bay, with Arthur's Seat in the distance.

See the complete set of Photos of my visit!

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