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Rosebud, VIC

Holiday town on the Mornington Peninsula

Rosebud is situated on the Mornington Peninsula, facing northwards across Port Phillip to Melbourne which lies 50 km away. The local beach is calm, sheltered and characterised by brightly coloured beach boxes. This is a holiday destination with a substantial shopping area and a narrow beach which is ideal for daytripping families.


Rosebud is located 88 km south of Melbourne via the M1 and M11.


Origin of Name

Originally known as Banksia Point, Rosebud was named after a schooner which ran aground on a nearby sand bank in Port Phillip Bay in 1855. The wreck could be seen off shore for many years after the event.


Things to See and Do

McCrae Lighthouse
At the eastern edge of Rosebud is McCrae which has a popular beach. The lighthouse (1883) is located immediately opposite the McCrae shops. It marks the turning point for shipping in the main channel between Port Phillip Heads and Melbourne. The Lighthouses of Australia website (see https://lighthouses.org.au/vic/eastern-mccrae-lighthouse) notes that the steel tower is the tallest on mainland Victoria. "One of the unique features of this light is that is has not only dioptric, but also catadioptric and holophotal lens systems. When in operation the light gave with the South Channel Pile Light a “lights-in-line” channel-centre guidance to inward-bound ships coming up Port Phillip Bay towards Melbourne. Note that the lighthouse keepers buildings have since been demolished. It ... was turned off by the Port of Melbourne Authority 1994."
Beside the lighthouse there is a detailed information board which explains: "The original McCrae Lighthouse was a timber structure built in 1854 and following years of service was dismantled in sections and transported by bullock wagon to the top of the nearby Arthurs Seat to be used as a lookout. The present day lighthouse, built in England in 1874 by Chance Brothers & Co of Birmingham, was transported to Australia by sea and erected on this site in 1883. The structure, which is listed on Victoria's Historic Buildings Register, is one of two such types remaining in Australia and at 33.5 metres is the tallest lighthouse in Port Phillip Bay. The lighthouse comprises a central circular column, housing a 120 step spiral staircase which ascends to the lantern housing. The central column is 1.5 metres in diameter and is constructed of riveted steel plate. The small brick portico at the base of the lighthouse has been added in more recent times. The lantern housing located 30.8 metres above sea level is constructed of steel and timber and is protected by a glass surround and a lead dome roof. A narrow steel balcony surrounds the lantern housing." 

McCrae Homestead
Located at 11 Beverley Road, McCrae, the McCrae Homestead, is a small timber cottage (stringybark and messmate) with shingled roof, rough-hewn posts and drop-slab walls built in 1844 for the solicitor Andrew McCrae and his wife Georgiana. The first homestead on the Mornington Peninsula, it was based upon plans drawn up by artist and diarist Georgina McCrae whose surviving sketches and diary entries enabled a proper restoration of the home. There are original furnishings, a reconstructed period kitchen and a museum. It is open daily from 11.00 am - 4.00 pm, tel: (03) 9656 9889. It is closed in July and August.
It was sold to the National Trust in 1970 and their website (https://www.nationaltrust.org.au/places/mccrae-homestead) notes: "The Homestead is one of Victoria’s oldest, original existing houses, and was built on a large lease in the Port Phillip colony, Arthur’s Seat Run, comprising 33 square miles or 20,500 acres (8,296ha). The building was designed by Georgiana McCrae who was the illegitimate daughter of the 5th Duke of Gordon, a talented artist and dedicated diarist. The McCrae family were one of the first six pioneer families to establish properties on the Mornington Peninsula ... The Visitor’s Centre, located on the property, features galleries which showcase the McCrae’s art and memorabilia and the photography, artefacts and objects from the Burrell-Twycross family who lived at McCrae Homestead from 1851 to 1926."
Interestingly, the McCrae family made their fortune in the Jamaican sugar industry (based on slave labour imported from Africa) but Andrew's father formed a friendship with William Wilberforce, the central political figure in the British campaign to abolish the Atlantic Slave Trade (legislated in 1807) and to emancipate all slaves in the British dominions (legislated in 1833). As a result Andrew's father was disinherited and Andrew was one of five children to migrate to Melbourne. 


Other Attractions in the Area

Boneo Discovery Park
Located 9 km south of Rosebud at 695 Limestone Road, Fingal, the Boneo Discovery Park (once known as the Boneo Maze) is open from 10.00 am - 5.00 pm daily. Spread across more than 10 hectares, the Discovery Park has three main attractions in beautiful wetlands where, on boardwalks and in bird hides, visitors can inspect frogs, reptiles and water birds. There is a permanent Sand Sculpture exhibition; a games garden with mazes and giant games; and a professionally designed 18 hole mini golf course. Check out https://www.boneodiscoverypark.com.au for more details..

Cape Schanck Lighthouse and Museum
Located on the southern tip of the Mornington Peninsula - 18 km south of Rosebud, at 420 Cape Schanck Road, the Cape Schanck Lighthouse was built from limestone in 1859 and named after Lieutenant John Schanck of the Royal Navy. It is 21 metres tall, 100 metres above sea level and the light has a range of 25 nautical miles. Internally it has a stone staircase rather than the usual wrought iron. The present lighting apparatus was installed in 1915 and upgraded in 1917 and 1940. The building was renovated in the 1970s and 1980s. It is now on land administered by Parks Victoria who offer accommodation in the lighthouse cottage and have installed a boardwalk to the rock platform. Guided tours depart operate from 10.00 am - 4.00 pm daily. Visitors can walk up the stone staircase and enjoy the view from the balcony. For more information check out http://capeschancklightstation.com.au/tours-of-the-cape-schanck-lighthouse, tel: (03) 5988 6184. Nearby, located in the old Assistant Light Keeper's house, is the Cape Schanck Lighthouse Museum which has interesting displays of the early lighthouse technology used in Australia. 

Cape Schanck and Mornington Peninsula National Park
There are a number of excellent walk through the bush and along the coastline which start at, or near, Cape Schanck Lighthouse. Check out the Parks Victoria site at https://www.parks.vic.gov.au/places-to-see/parks/mornington-peninsula-national-park/things-to-do/walking.

Fingal Beach Walking Track
The Fingal Beach Walking Track (3 km return) leads through areas of dense tea-tree growth, past lookouts with outstanding views of the basalt cliffs then steeply down to Fingal Beach. 

Two Bays Walking Track
The Two Bays Walking Track is a 26.5 km bush corridor that connects Port Phillip Bay at Dromana, just north of Rosebud, and Cape Schanck. The trail which starts at LaTrobe Parade in Dromana ends at Anthonys Nose. If you are fit it can be done in a day but most people prefer to either spend two days or to do it in manageable sections. The trail passes through eucalypt forest, stands of 200-year-old grasstrees, tea-tree thickets, fern gullies and open grasslands. Occasionally Eastern Grey Kangaroos, Black Wallabies, Echidnas, Koalas, Blue Tongue Lizards, Snake species, Eastern and Crimson Rosellas, Kookaburras, Grey Fantails and Superb Fairy-Wrens can be spotted.
The trail starts at Cape Schanck, heads east along the coastline and passes Bushrangers Bay and the Bushrangers Bay Parking area. It then crosses Boneo Road, travels alongside Main Creek and crosses a number of smaller creeks. It then enters Greens Bush off Limestone Road and passes out of the Mornington Peninsula National Park as it enters Hyslops Road and heads towards Browns Road. A steep section heads up Gardens Road to Duels Road and then to Yambil Avenue to Goolgowie Street and Waterfall Gully Road past the Kings Fall Track and towards Seawinds Garden where you can stroll through the gardens and admire the panoramic view of Port Phillip and Bellarine Peninsula. It then heads down the hill on the Two Bays Walking Track before connecting to the Bunurong Track which crosses the Mornington Peninsula freeway and heads towards Latrobe Parade at Dromana.
For excellent, detailed directions check out https://www.trailhiking.com.au/two-bays-walking-track which also has a useful map.

The Bushrangers Bay Walking Track
Located 9 km west of Flinders at 1350 Boneo Road is a carpark and a walking track (6 km one way) which leads to the secluded beach at Bushrangers Bay. It is part of the Two Bays Walking Track. There is an excellent, and detailed, explanation at https://www.visitmorningtonpeninsula.org/PlacesToGo/Walks/AllWalks/tabid/399/View/5b580916f1e5a54f4cec9698/Bushrangers-Bay-Walking-Track/Default.aspx which describes the walk as "Named after two escaped convicts, the bay comprises of a sandy beach surrounded by basalt cliffs. This serene location is contrasted by the dark and brooding headlands and wild waves that often crash onto jagged rocks guarding the entrance to the bay." 
Walkers can continue on for 2.6 km to Cape Schanck.

The Coastal Walk
There is a superb 30 km coastal walk along the southern side of Mornington Peninsula from Cape Schanck to the Point Nepean National Park. The route is clearly marked by orange markers and blue signs to indicate departure points for circuit tracks to interesting sites. The total walk takes around eight hours but there are about 30 access points to the coast, mostly from roads which run off Point Nepean Road, consequently it is possible to explore shorter sections. The journey takes in dramatic cliffs, unusual rock formations, tidal rock pools, sand dunes, panoramic views, dense coastal scrub and rugged beaches including Blairgowrie, Rye, St Andrews and Gunnamatta. There is a very detailed guide to the entire walk (which is divided into suitably modest sections) at https://www.visitmorningtonpeninsula.org/PlacesToGo/Walks/AllWalks/tabid/399/View/5b109e2ba142139e1593d118/The-Coastal-Walk/Default.aspx. 

Greens Bush
Greens Bush is the largest section of remnant bushland on the Peninsula. It is an island of native forest and wildlife amidst a sea of farmland. There are many birds including honeyeaters, parrots, the wedge-tailed eagle, kites and wrens as well as kangaroos, the swamp wallabies, koalas and nocturnal mammals such as ringtail possums, sugar gliders and bats.
There are two good walks in the area:
Baldrys Short Circuit Walk, 1.6 km (one hour) which starts at Baldry Crossing and passes through eucalypt forest.
Baldrys Long Circuit Walk, 3.6 km (90 minutes) passes through several cool, moist fern gullies as well as Peppermint and Manna Gum woodlands. 
There is a useful, downloadable Parks Victoria note at https://parkweb.vic.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0007/544597/park-note-MPNP-Greens-Bush.pdf.

Rye and its Beaches
Located 8 km south along Port Phillip, Rye has a shallow sandy and safe beach which is good for sailboarding and windsurfing. There are a number of golf courses in the area. Beyond The Dunes Golf Links and St Andrews Beach Golf Course are Rye Back Beach, St Andrews Beach and Gunnamatta Beach. 



* Prior to the arrival of Europeans the area was home to the Boonwurung Aborigines.

* In 1803 Lieutenant James Murray undertook a 25-day exploration of Port Phillip Bay in the Lady Nelson achieved an unusual historic first. At Point King, about 22 km west of where Dromana now stands, they raised the newly-created Union Jack.

* Murray was quickly followed by Matthew Flinders who mistook Port Phillip Bay for Westernport and only discovered his mistake after climbing Arthurs Seat which had been named by Murray after a rocky outcrop near Edinburgh. 

* Two French ships were also exploring the southern waters at this time and, largely to forestall French claims to any part of the continent, the first European settlement on Port Phillip Bay was established by the British in 1803. 

* White settlement of the peninsula was not resumed until the 1830s after the establishment of Melbourne. 

* Pastoralists began bringing livestock into the area late in the decade and fishermen soon followed. 

* Rosebud is named after a schooner which ran aground on a sandbank here in 1855. The settlement developed after fishermen gathered to scavenge planks and damask. 

* A school was established in 1884.

* The Rosebud jetty was built in 1888. It was too shallow for Port Phillip steamers and visitors from Melbourne had to disembark at Dromana and take a coach to Rosebud.

* Land in the area was subdivided in 1908.

* A Presbyterian church was built in 1923.

* Motor vehicles encouraged holiday makers in the 1920s.

* By 1949 the town had foreshore camping for 5,000 holiday makers.

* By the 1950s the town began to become an outer suburb of Melbourne. 

* A Model Free Kindergarten and Baby Health Centre was opened in 1953.

* A High School was opened in 1954.

* In 1964 the Flinders Shire workshop was moved to Rosebud.

* In 1966 a third jetty was built.

* By 1976 Rosebud houses the Flinders shore offices and civic centre.

* In 1979 Rosebud Village Shopping Centre was opened.

* By 2011 the census population of Rosebud was 12,501.


Visitor Information

Mornington Peninsula Visitor Information Centre, 359B Point Nepean Road, Dromana, tel: (03) 5950 1579, open 10.00 am - 4.00 pm seven days.


Useful Websites

There is a useful website. Check out https://www.visitmelbourne.com/Regions/Mornington-Peninsula/Destinations/Rosebud. 

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