Bellarine Historical Society Inc

...preserving the history of the Bellarine Peninsula

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Ships and Passengers

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The Bellarine Peninsula is encompassed by water - to the north is Port Phillip Bay, to the east is The Rip and the entrance to the Bay, to the south is Bass Strait, and to the west is the Barwon River and Lake Connewarre - not surprisingly ships of varying types and sizes played a key and on-going role in the history of the Peninsula.

  • In 1802, Matthew Flinders landed at Indented Head before crossing to the You Yangs.
  • In 1835 John Batman landed at Indented Head before moving his camp closer to St Leonards.
  • Point Henry became the focal point for shipping in the late 1840s and the early 1850s due to a sandbar across the entrance to Corio Bay.  When news of the American gold rushes reached Geelong the miners were looking for transport out to the Californian gold fields, but within a year or so the ships were all carrying miners in to join the rush for gold at Ballarat. On one day during 1854 there were 18 ships anchored off the point.
  • The northern towns of the Peninsula were all involved in Bay shipping both for trade and tourism.  The Bay Steamers were a popular means of transport for tourists from Melbourne.
  • A thriving fishing industry operated in Port Phillip Bay as well as Bass Strait fishing fleets which were based at Queenscliff and further west at Barwon Heads and Ocean Grove.
  • There were many shipwrecks around the Peninsula in Port Phillip Bay, at the Rip / Heads, and all along the coast to Barwon Heads.  The area is generally referred to as the "Ships' Graveyard".

Point Henry Arrivals Register

As an aid to family historians the Bellarine Peninsula Historical Society, in 1995, began a register of Point Henry arrivals, covering those who came through the port whether they went to Geelong, Melbourne, Bellarine Peninsula, or the thousands who went straight to the Victorian goldfields. The register is now incorporated in our A-Z Family History Files. If you had ancestors who came via Point Henry download a copy of the Point Henry Arrivals Form.

We would also welcome any passenger lists, crew lists or photographs of Point Henry ships.

Last Updated on Monday, 11 May 2009 06:10  

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