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Mount Eliza

(3930, 44 km S, Mornington Peninsula Shire)

Located on the Mornington Peninsula and visible from Port Phillip Bay, Mount Eliza was named after John Batman's wife by the crew of HMS Rattlesnake in 1837. In the 1850s a log tower was constructed on the summit to aid the trigonometric survey of the peninsula. Prominent and wealthy Melbourne citizens built imposing summer residences along the cliff tops, some of which were subdivided into residential estates in the 20th century. Many mansions survived, some, like Moondah, converted for institutional use. In the 1920s Walter Burley Griffin designed Ranelagh, an exclusive residential estate, but most of the blocks were not purchased until the 1950s. Mount Eliza was little more than a village clustered around a couple of general stores until the 1960s when a shopping centre and electricity and water supplies grew to service a growing permanent population. The large suburb, sprawling across the Nepean Highway, is now home to a relatively affluent and ageing population.

Jill Barnard