Bellarine Historical Society Inc

...preserving the history of the Bellarine Peninsula

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Point Henry: Timeline

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Some events in the history of Point Henry :-

Pre-European Settlement Area inhabited by Bengalat balug (Clan) of the Wathaurong Tribe
1802 First European explorers.
January : Lieutenant John Murray
April : Captain Matthew Flinders (Flinders sees Point Henry from the You Yangs)
1803 - 1835 William Buckley the first European living in the area
1835 Batman lands at Indented Head
1836 Jun
The brig Henry mapped the coastline on it's 3rd visit to Point Henry.  This was the source of the name 'Point Henry'
1836 Sep Lieutenant H. R. Henry of HMS Rattlesnake was surveying the bay and claimed to have named Point Henry after himself.  The name of the brig which was in the area 3 months earlier is considered the more credible source.
1837 Early map shows site 'reserved for customs officers' at the tip of Point Henry.
1841 Aug 1st Geelong Harbour (including Point Henry) was proclaimed a FREE Warehousing Port.  This meant that ships could land here without first having to travel to Melbourne.  This opened the doors for a massive boost in passenger and cargo arrivals.
1841 - 49 Point Henry becomes the landing place for squatters and new settlers to the western districts and Indented Head (the Bellarine Peninsula).  In 1841 168 overseas ships landed at Point Henry.
c.1842 The Immigration Depot & Barracks were erected c.1842 in Ryrie Street, Geelong [diagonally opposite the Geelong Hospital & Benevolent Asylum].  Stone buildings were later erected on the site in 1849-50.
1840s Ships were leaving Point Henry destined for England laden with 1,000 - 3,000 bales of wool from the Western Districts.
1848 Church services were initially held every alternate Sunday at Point Henry - presumably in private homes.  In January 1849 subscriptions opened for building a church and school and on 1 January 1850 a combined church / school opened in Hays Road.  This was St John's Church of England.  It was followed by a Free Presbyterian Church, a wooden Wesleyan Church, and a wooden Catholic Church (St Francis Xavier's).  A Catholic Church was later opened in 1873 at Curlewis to replace this one.
1849 Californian Tea Gardens established.
1849 An auction notice for sale of Clifton at Point Henry appeared in the Geelong Advertiser.  This was not Clifton Springs but the area near the eastern edge of Point Henry.  James Austin was behind the sale, development and advertising, 'commenting' on marine villas, bay frontages, sea bathing, township, market gardens, railway line and new jetty - all things which COULD happen but never did!
1850 Church of England school operating.
1850s Ships unloaded diggers for the goldfields.  The early 1850s saw 300-500 overseas ships arriving at Point Henry.
1854 Feb 12 There were 36 ships off Point Henry, anchored or at wharves - 18 of these were confirmed at Point Henry..  At least 13 were from London, 2 from Liverpool and 3 from Singapore.  Tens of thousands of passengers landed at Point Henry before ships could navigate the channel into Geelong.
1861 South Channel cut through the sandbar
1868 Local directories showed 37 families living at Point Henry and Clifden (Clifton Road).
1870 Victoria Tea Gardens operating.  The Gardens included hundreds of shade trees, laid out flower beds, a pavilion for public use, a refreshment room and bed-chambers for lodgers.  A cellar was stocked with fine wines, a tank held 10,000 gallons of water, and a new pier was constructed.  There was also a camera obscura, lawn areas, a rotunda for dancing and a spacious luncheon room 'where such delacies as strawberries and cream, and tea and shrimps a la Greenwich were served!

By 1870s northern section of Point Henry heavily subdivided with multiple properties.  The word 'township' appeared on maps of Point Henry.

Bay steamers visited Point Henry 4 times daily but on Sundays there were 7 steamers to and from Point Henry.

1876 Local directories showed 175 residents at Point Henry and Clifden (Clifton Road).
1876 - 1902 Various forms of the 'Bellarine Hotel' were licensed from 1876 to 1902.  The 'Grand Palace' Hotel - architecturally designed was constructed in 1890.
1877 School closes - replaced by new Moolap school
1881 Hopetoun Channel commenced.
1889 New pier constructed - 1,865 feet long
1890 Dairy, poultry farm and butter factory established - owned and operated by William Howard Smith & Co to provision his fleet of ships operated from North Queensland to Northern Western Australia.  The farm, often referred to as the Point Henry Model Farm, included 340 acres owned by the company and 60 acres leased from the government. 
1893 Hopetoun Channel completed & opened

Point Henry was a place of leisure activities: lighters from Geelong, picnics, 'lover's lane', sailing and motor bike racing. Southern and eastern sections of Point Henry were devoted to farming.

Numerous sheltered seats were dotted around the point - these were moved to Portarlington and appear in many early postcards of the Portarlington foreshore.

1939-40 Point Henry Signal Station erected.

Geelong Historical Society erected the plaque at Point Henry, opposite the Signal Station.  The plaque reads:

Below this headland named Point Henry in 1836, but know to the Aborigines as Maloppio, many pioneer squatters landed their stock.  Here Geelong began and here for more than twenty years, the masts of ocean going vessels soared above incoming settlers.

1961 Sir Henry Bolte turned the first sod on the new Alcoa site.  The old two storey Bellarine Hotel was demolished.
1963 Alcoa Australia began operating
2014 Alcoa Australia ceased operations.  See some of Alcoa's history in Australia and at Point Henry.


Last Updated on Thursday, 25 February 2016 00:17  

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