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Mornington Peninsula, Australia

Mornington Peninsula

History of Mornington Peninsula, Australia

Sitting to the West of Port Philip and South of Melbourne is the beautiful and historic city of Mornington. This region of Victoria is home to over 150,000 people known for their hospitality and warm-heartedness.

In addition to its picturesque and natural landscape, this area is widely known for its steady and persistent growth in agriculture, tourism, manufacturing, and business.[1]

The vibrancy of Mornington’s economy transcends the lovely and lively streets and scenery — it has also demonstrated astonishing capabilities in producing some of the best wines and most mouthwatering dishes the world has ever tasted.

These features explain why tourists visit in large numbers to have an excellent time and treat themselves to the area’s wineries, beach houses, and water sports events.

To fully appreciate the beauty of this city, the history of  Mornington Peninsula is a great place to get started — it will paint the picture of this coastal city from a new perspective and show how this famous and industrious city was created.

Mornington Peninsula was formed in 10,000 BC after the bay of Port Phillip was flooded. After the flood dried out between 800 BC and 1000 AD, the Australian natives in the area at the time were the Mayune-bulluk and the Boonwurrung clans, and they settled in the area alongside other clans that lived along the coast of the Werribee River. In total, six clans settled in the region before the arrival of the Europeans.[2]

The arrival of the Europeans at the Mornington Peninsula

Upon their arrival on Mornington Peninsula, the Europeans established the Sullivan Bay settlement, which served as a penal colony in 1803. This was over 29 years before the famous lieutenant-colonel Collins founded Melbourne. Historians tell tales of how lush the vegetation in the region was in 1803 when the European settlers controlled the area.

A significant part of the Mornington Peninsula was adorned with oak trees that made forests. However, their existence was cut short by lumbering activities.

The forest provided wood for the rapidly growing Melbourne city. However, regardless of the alarming rate trees fell, the landscape still maintained its great orchards.

The Peninsula still has its scenic natural vegetation giving life to the Green bush area — the greenery extended to the western port bay and the Bass Strait on the coastal border. Today, the Green bush area forms part of the national park in Mornington Peninsula.

As the country embraced civilization and the city wore a modern look, much of the agricultural activities in the area were reduced, and the Peninsula was taken over by people who only had an interest in preserving the aesthetic of the bushland and not the elements of food production.

With this development, the bushland area attracted a host of native species like koalas and became known for its sustainability practices. Today, the region is recognized and applauded for its extensive grazing areas, gardening, and orcharding.

Mornington Peninsula historical sites

The geography of the Mornington Peninsula is a dazzling sight to behold. Arthurs seat is its highest point standing at 305 meters above sea level, overlooking the beautiful shoreline in the south, the largely flat northern region, and the over 109 km coastline. One cannot help but love this city.

However, the mangroves and mudflats are not the only centers of attraction in the region. Mornington Peninsula is also known for its rich history. The city is adorned with historic buildings and landmarks like the Clamber lighthouse, whose history was traced to the 1850s.

The historical sites spread across the peninsula date back to the coolant homestead constructed in 1895, the McCrae homestead constructed in 1844, and the Tallis family summer house built in 1863. What makes most of these buildings an essential part of Mornington’s history include but are not limited to the classical designs, the display of architectural shrewdness, rich gardens, and vintage finishings. But that’s not all.

Other landmarks include the iconic Mulberry Hill, which was once home to the Lindsays, and the point Napean, which played a crucial in the city’s defense during the first and second world wars.[3]

Mornington Peninsula and wine

With the tourism rate climbing as high as 20% in 2017, Mornington Peninsula tanks are third among Victoria’s most visited tourist locations or destinations. Another fantastic side of the Peninsula is its wineries.

The suitable climate of Mornington is the primary driver of the wine industry in this region. Even though the climate is favorable to different varieties, Pinot Noir is mainly cultivated. The expert winemaking methods contribute largely to the high-quality wines produced in over 50 wineries in Mornington Peninsula. The wineries often host tastings and have their own restaurants.

The Mornington Peninsula is also renowned for its apple production, most of which make their way to the ports where they will get exported after satisfying the local demand. There are also a number of orchards and gardens where cherries and berries are produced, in addition to organic farms where organic beef is produced.

On this day

July 7, 1971— A 7.5 magnitude earthquake struck Mornington Peninsula in 1971. Even though the Peninsula experienced several minor earthquakes annually, this is regarded as the last major earthquake that hit the region. Its epicenter was traced to Flinders at the Tyaab fault.

December 1, 1975 — Sitting on a 10.4 square mile expanse of land, the Mornington Peninsula National Park was established in 1975. It is among the area’s protected heritage alongside the Arthurs Seat State Park. The thriving wildlife, alongside other fun activities like nature working and horse riding, makes the park an impressive site attraction.

Want to learn more about Australia’s wine history? Try out these books!



  1. “Mornington – Mornington & District Historical Society.” 2022. Mornington & District Historical Society.
  2. “Baluk Arts.” 2022. Web.Archive.Org. 
  3. Go, Places, and History Heritage. 2022. “History And Heritage | The Official Tourism Website Of The Mornington Peninsula.” Visitmorningtonpeninsula.Org. 



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