Bellarine Historical Society Inc

...preserving the history of the Bellarine Peninsula

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St Leonards: Timeline

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Some events in the history of St Leonards :-

Pre-European SettlementArea inhabited by Bengalat balug (Clan) of the Wathaurong Tribe
1802First European explorers.
January : Lieutenant John Murray
April : Captain Matthew Flinders
1803 - 1835William Buckley the first European living in the area
1835 +Area investigated and surveyed by Wedge and Gellibrand
1836 +Area occupied by squatters
1855St Leonards owed its early development to Captain George Ward Cole, pioneer Melbourne merchant, who exploited the natural resources of the area to provide firewood for Melbourne. He may have been alerted to the commercial possibilities of the area by F. W. Langdon, his former partner, who came to live in the vicinity. Whatever the reason, Cole bought 779 acres along the Eastern foreshore extending from today's Indented Head to below the town of St Leonards. He is said to have established the firewood trade in 1855 and to have built the first houses in the area
1860St Leonards produced bricks from the five large brick kilns established by Anderson. These were situated on today's golf course. A hundred strong Chinese community established itself along the banks of the creek
pre 1862 The first pier was built from unsawn logs brought from Mt. Martha and an old ship was sunk at the end for further protection. The pier was certainly in existence in 1862
1863 The first attempt to start a school was made by the Church of England which had opened before 1863 but it closed in 1865
1864 First land sales in the town
1864 The hotel, in the hands of Robert Smiley (and later his widow) served many functions, including the meeting place for the Paywit Hounds
1865 As a result of Robert Smiley's efforts, another school opened in October 1865, in temporary accommodation on private property. George Stephenson was the head teacher, but the school was struck off the Board of Education rolls two years later because the local committee could not raise enough money to erect a building - it continued as a private school
1866 Robert Smiley bought foxhounds
1872 Another land sale in the town
Oct 1874 State School No. 866 opened on a half acre donated by G. W. Cole
1882 Harvey Park was named after Edward Harvey who was a Shire Councilor from 1882 to 1897
1891 The towns permanent population in 1891 was 50 people, with no Church and no public hall. The hotel became the meeting place for the inhabitants
1904 The original hotel was burned down but was quickly replaced by another in 1905
1905 The Church of England held its first service in the State School, so St Thomas' was born, but it was 1914 before a building was erected. This was the old church from East Bellarine
1911The first Progress Association in St Leonards was formed
1914The church was rebuilt on land on which the Holden Brothers used to graze their circus animals. George Holden was a Sunday School superintendent and vestryman
1915The new church was dedicated as St Paul's on January 27. Part of the Ozone, which was scuttled at Indented Heads by Capt. Forbes, can be seen in St Leonards Parade. The house was once owned by the Fletcher Sisters.
The old St Leonards Hotel was split in two and was moved to Blanche Street near the golf course
1926St Leonards Progress Association celebrated the opening of its Recreation Hall with a dinner
1941Holden's old Coffee Palace fell into disrepair and was condemned
1943St Leonards Fire Brigade was formed

Last Updated on Monday, 11 May 2009 06:14  

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