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Historical Facts - Mornington Peninsula
Rosebud - The Story Behind the Name

According to Isabelle Moresby, author of 'Rosebud, Flower of the Peninsula', few know the true story of the naming of Rosebud.

The schooner Rosebud was built in Whitby, Yorkshire, England in 1841 by boat builder Harry Barrick. The Rosebud was a two masted ship with a standing bowsprit with female bust and head.

Not long after she was built, Alexander Jamison, owner and captain, sailed the Rosebud to Port Adelaide, South Australia. The Rosebud transported cargo from New Zealand, New South Wales, Tasmania and Port Phillip and she made one trip to the Swan River in Western Australia.

In October of 1846, the schooner 'Rosebud' made a trip to South Africa, where she had perhaps her first splash of notoriety. She became the first vessel to successfully navigate the entrance to the Mzimvubu River where it meets the sea between 'the Gates' of Mount Sullivan and Mount Thesiger. This feat opened up the harbour town Port St John for trade.

Back in Victoria, Australia, navigation around Port Phillip Bay, in other than fine weather, was difficult as there were no leading lights and the constantly shifting sandbanks, particularly off Rosebud, were a constant source of trouble for mariners.

In early 1855, according to Hunter Rogers, Rosebud was caught inshore by a strong westerly gale and was soon a total loss after running on a sandbank. This sandbank was off the present township of Rosebud. A shipwreck at their front door was a wonderful stroke of luck for the local community of struggling fishermen and their families. Planks and all manner of materials were washed up onto the beach and were quickly utilised by ther fishermen to improve their existing dwellings. Rolls of damask and similar fabrics were eagerly sought for making clothes, household linen and curtains. In fact the wreck had a most stimulating effect on the whole district. People would arrange to meet at 'the Rosebud' and so the settlement got its name.

The Rotary Club of Rosebud erected a monument to the ship and one of its charter members, Don Farquhar (1913-83), originated the exchange student program from Japan to Australia in the 1960s. This video tells the story.

Other Items of Interest

While researching this article we found little other reference to the Rosebud except the following. In February 1852 'The South Australia Register' ran an advertisement stating that the 'Fine Clipper Schooner Rosebud', with Jamieson as its Master would sail for Melbourne on Saturday 28th and was 'now taking cargo'. There was also a public auction advertisement in the Melbourne newspaper, The Argus, dated July 1852 advising the Rosebud and its cargo were to be sold by auction.

The Argus July 1852, an advertisement to auction the Rosebud and its cargo
The Argus July 1852, an advertisement for auction the Rosebud and its cargo

On the 27th July 1852 Rosebud was registered to a syndicate of shipping agents, Thomas Scott, Charles Turner and Sitwell Harris. Rosebud's last recorded owner was Edward Hobson, who re-registered her in 1854. The last mention found was the appointment of Thomas Fenwick as her master in November 1854.

Artifacts Found at Rosebud

In July 1975 'The Age' newspaper ran an article about old artifacts believed to be from the Rosebud, unearhed by workmen laying a sewerage pipeline. The relics, a piece of cast iron and a bottle with a glass marble stopper, were found 5 metres under sand and about 200 metres from the present water line.

In July 1975 artifacts believed to come from the Rosebud were found while digging a sewer pipeline
In July 1975 artifacts believed to come from the Rosebud were found while digging a sewer pipeline


Located along the waterfront at Rosebud, not far from the pier, near Durham Place is a monument to the 'Schooner Rosebud'

The Rotary Club of Rosebud erected this monumnet for the Rosebud
The Rotary Club of Rosebud erected this monumnet for the Rosebud

Resources include- Wrecks of Port Phillip Bay by Peter Williams and Roderick Serle, Rosebud, Flower of the Peninsula by Isabelle Moresby, The Early History of the Mornington Peninsula by Hunter Rogers, These Joyous Sands by Jean F Field, The Argus Newspaper, The South Australian Register Newspaper and The Encyclopedia of Melbourne Online by the School of Historical Studies The University of Melbourne



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