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Fascinating Historical Facts - Mornington Peninsula
In the early 1850's a small settlement of about 200 residence had grown in the cove at the foot of 'Old Man Davey's Hill' (now known as Oliver's Hill), and the mouth of Sweetwater Creek. These were mainly fishermen who lived in tents or humpies on the foreshore. As a result, the original pier was built at the base of Oliver's Hill.
The fish were transported to Melbourne either by boat from the pier or by horse and cart by using the road (and beach) down through Mordiallic.
In 1857 a short pier was built on the site of the present pier further to the north. In 1863, after a petition presented by local residence to the Public Works Department the pier was extended into deeper water.
In 1867, The Frankston Fish Company was established for the sole purpose of supplying fish to the Melbourne Fish Markets. Auction sales were held every morning at the Melbourne Markets. Horse drawn wagons left Frankston in the middle of the night, reaching the Melbourne Markets in time for the morning auction sales.
The Frankston Brick Company used the pier during the 1880's for shipping bricks to Melbourne and receiving firewood for their brick kilns on the foreshore.
Around this time a permanent lamp was built at the end of the pier and a “Lamp Lighter” was employed to keep the light burning at night during fine and foul weather.
According to local residents one of the most famous visitors to use the pier was Lord Brassey, later becoming the Governor of Victoria from 1895 – 1900, when he tied his yacht “Sunbeam” up to the pier during his around the world journey in 1876-77.
In the early 1920's at the entrance to Frankston pier there was the "Fairy Garden" with a number of small pavilions along the beachfront. These were designed by the famous architect Walter Burley Griffin.
By now the Frankston pier had deteriorated to the point where sections of it were collapsing.
The local council asked the Public Works Department to carry out urgent repairs. Debate regarding the condition of the pier continued into the early 1950's. Despite local concerns that the pier required major work, the Public Works Department insisted that it could be maintained with only minor work. A year later the pier suffered major damage with a section of it coming adrift. The Public Works Ministry finally did work on repairing the pier and in May 1952 the local paper congratulated the Ministry on its "fine job" in reconstruction.
In 1966 the Port Jackson and Manly Steamship Company was given a three month trial for hydrofoil excursions from the pier.
In the early 1980s a concrete pad on the shore near the pier entrance was built for the use of a hovercraft.
Today, sadly all the past activities and buildings along the waterfront have long disappeared. Now there is a beautiful park with facilities for everyone to enjoy. Take a walk along the boardwalk or browse the Friday night markets in the summer months, it's an ideal place to relax and enjoy life. The pier is a great place to drop a line and catch some flathead or salmon.