Friday, 3 July 2009

Cannons Creek, Warneet and Blind Bight - Part 1

Cannons Creek is a small town on Rutherford Inlet, Western Port Bay. On the other side of Rutherford Inlet is Warneet and further around Chinaman Island, off Gentle Annie Channel, is Blind Bight.
Part of Maritime chart Aus 151, Published by the Hydrographic Service, Royal Australia Navy 1994. The yellow is land, the green represents mud or low tide . Click on the picture to enlarge it and you can clearly see Chinaman Island, Quail Island, Rutherford Inlet and Gentle Annie Creek.

This area was originally covered by two Squatting runs, Balla Balla also known as Allen’s Station and the Bourbinandera Run. Balla Balla was originally 6,000 acres (2,430 hectares) and first leased by Robert Innes Allen in 1839. The Lease was transferred to C.J Haslewood in 1848, in 1850 the run was reduced to 3,840 acres (1,400 hectares) and the lease was transferred to Henry Foley, two years later to Henry Jennings, in 1854 to Dr James Smith Adams and in 1872 to Alexander McLean Hunter, who also had the lease on Quail Island. Dr Adams purchased the Tobin Yallock run in 1858. Tobin Yallock was of 10,000 acres (4,050 hectares) took in the area around the modern town of Lang Lang. Quail Island, of 2000 acres (810 hectares), was proclaimed a wildlife sanctuary in 1928 and is now a site of Geological and Geomorphological significance. It has State significance as it is the least disturbed mangrove and salt marsh area on the mainland shore of Western Port Bay. The Balla Balla homestead is thought to date mainly from the 1870s and is thus linked to Alexander Hunter, however the earlier part was probably built by Dr Adams and dates from 1856.

These two photographs of the Balla Balla homestead are thought to date from the 1940s or 1950s. The view above shows the side of the house which fronts Western Port Bay and Quail Island. The lower portion is built of English bonded hand-moulded brickwork. The palms are Canary palms. The view below show the stuccoed two story wing. The house is built in Colonial Georgian style.

Balla Balla had various owners after Hunter sold the property in 1885 and when it was sold by the Jackson family in 2002 (they had owned Balla Balla since 1938) the homestead was on 300 acres (120 hectares). The Bourbinandera Run was also known as Rutherfords, after the leasee, Thomas Rutherford who took up the lease in 1842. He also gave his name to Rutherford Inlet. It was transferred to Richard Corbett in 1847 and became known as Kilmore. Rutherford Inlet, like Sawtell Inlet at Tooradin, contributed to the area’s reputation as a Sportsman’s Paradise, due to their good fishing. This fact is reflected in the original name of Fisheries Road which leads to Cannons Creek – which was Fisherman’s Road.

 In our next blog post we will look at the more recent history of the area.

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