Friday, 10 July 2009

Cannons Creek, Warneet and Blind Bight - Part 2

In our last blog post we talked about the two squatting runs, Kilmore and Balla Balla. These two runs were eventually broken into smaller farms and one of these farms was developed as the township of Blind Bight. The development was approved in 1968 and the first 80 blocks were sold in 1974. Two years later there were 13 residents and in 1981 just over 60, and by 1987 around 320. A Progress Association was formed in 1976, Foreshore Committee in 1982, a general store opened in 1986. Warneet and Cannons Creek had a similar start to each other in that they began as fishing camps with a few holiday shacks and it wasn’t until the late 1960s – early 1970s that most of the permanent residents moved in.

In the previous blog post we showed a part of Maritime Chart Aus 151, which covered much of the same area as this October 1986 aerial photograph. In the centre left of the photograph is Rutherford Inlet, to the left is part of Quail Island. The island in the centre is Chinaman Island, immediatley above it is the township of Warneet. At the top of the photograph, towards the right, is Cannons Creek township.

Now is a good time talk about about the place names used in the area. In 1920 the Cranbourne Shire Rate books list the address of an early resident of the area, Nicola Nicolella as Pearcedale, though the year before it had listed the previous owner of the land as living in Tooradin. This fluidity of names went on for a few years as the first Warneet land sales in 1930 were listed as Cannons Creek or Watson’s sub-division and Warneet didn’t appear in the Rate books until 1933, and the area was locally known as Crouch’s Beach after Les Crouch. The name Cannons Creek most likely comes from the Cannon family. William Cannon is first listed in the Shire of Cranbourne Rate Books in 1871, owning one acre in the Parish of Sherwood. In 1874 he is listed as owning 12 acres and Thomas Cannon owning 20 acres with a house. They are both fishermen and both disappear from the Rate Books after 1883. Quail Island is named after the birds on the island and Chinaman Island is named because Chinese fishermen were said to live on the Island.

Early land owners of Cannons Creek included Sir Aaron Danks, a merchant who is listed in the Rate Books from 1920 until he died in 1928. His land was sub-divided in early 1930s. Sir Aaron was the son of John Danks, who founded the hardware firm John Danks & Son in 1859. This Company now owns Home Timber and Hardware. Sir Aaron, was a devout Methodist and donated £6000 in 1919 to the Methodist Church to buy the property in Richmond which housed the original Epworth Hospital. As we mentioned before, the fisherman, Nicola Nicolella also purchased land in the area in 1920 (and was listed as a landowner until 1944) and Lancelot Watson owned land from 1925 and it was some of his land which was sub-divided for the first Warneet land sales in 1930. The Watson name features thrice more in the history of Cannons Creek. Bert Watson is said to be the first permanent resident on Cannons Creek and he built a house in Hardy Avenue in 1940. Bonnie Watson left land to the people of Cannons Creek and this is now called the Bonnie Watson Bushland Reserve. I haven’t worked out how these Watsons are connected, so if you know, then I would be interested in hearing. Watsons Inlet, further around Western Port Bay, is named after James H. Watson who visited Quail Island in 1866.

The view up Rutherford Inlet from Oliver's  jetty, built in 1955.
Image: Heather Arnold

Oliver's Jetty, Cannons Creek
Image: Heather Arnold

It was in the late 1940s and early 1950s that weekend and holiday shacks were built in Cannon’s Creek. A small community developed and in 1955 the small private jetty was built, by Gus D’Oliveira (also known as Oliver) and others, which is still being used by the Community today and maintained by his son Bill Oliver, a Cannons Creek identity. The jetty is pictured above.

Update February 2020 - Oliver's Jetty was demolished in October 2011.  As it was a private jetty, Bill Oliver was given the option of repairing, maintaining and insuring the jetty or demolishing it and he choose to demolish it. [Information from Don Jewell, February 2020 and also see Cannon's Creek Foreshore Coastal Management plan, here] It seems a shame that whatever Government Department was in charge of jetties that they couldn't find a way to keep it for the sake of history.

In 1925 Les Crouch established a bush camp and a boat shed at Warneet, the Crouch family later purchased land at the 1930 Warneet land sales. The Crouch family built their first house on what is now the corner of Rutherford Parade and Balaka Street. Les and Lillian Crouch's daughter, Peggy Banks was a resident of Warneet until her death in 2008 and Bank Street is named after her and her husband, Lionel Banks. Les Crouch was a prominent member of the Warneet community, helped build the first jetty and slip way in the 1930s and was the first President of the Warneet Progress Association which was formed in 1945, and the inaugural Commodore of the Warneet Motor Yacht Club when it began in 1952 with thirty four Foundation members.

If you want more information on Cannons Creek, Warneet or Blind Blight,
then borrow the book Tooradin : 125 years of coastal history - Blind Bight, Cannons Creek, Dalmore, Sherwood, Tooradin North and Warneet. Published by the Tooradin celebrates together 125 years Education Committee in 2000. It is an interesting book that covers the history of Tooradin Primary School No. 1503, including a list of students who attended Tooradin, Tooradin North and Dalmore schools. It also covers early families in the area and the general history of Tooradin and the six other towns listed in the title. This book is an updated version of Tooradin: a history of a Sportsman's Paradise and the first 100 years of State School No. 1503 by David Mickle, published 1975.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

As a kid my father bought a partially built house which he completed around 1958.
I knew the Crouch’s and as a weekender my growing up was amazing.
Bill Tamo was the commodore of the Yacht Club at the time so we sailed anything that floated fishing was pretty good my dad owned an old Queenscliff couta boat and as kids we seconded to pump out a lot of boats every weekend.
Plenty of old cars meant we drove as the local cop was in Cranbourne
So much more to talk about but an amazing time in my life