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(3944, 98 km S, Mornington Peninsula Shire)

Victoria's most exclusive and elite resort, Portsea was the site of lime-burners' kilns from the late 1830s, when lime was much in demand for buildings in the fledgling town of Melbourne. James Sandle Ford, who arrived in the area in 1842-43, is said to have named it after part of his native town, Portsmouth, England. Ford established a cattle run and lime kiln, and a fishing industry also developed in the area. While the establishment of the quarantine station at Point Nepean in the early 1850s dislodged some lime-burners, the development of Fort Franklin in the second half of the 1880s encouraged the growth of Portsea as something of a garrison town. By then some country retreats had been established along the cliff tops by wealthy Melbourne citizens, and the Port Phillip Bay excursion paddle steamers began calling at the Portsea pier. However, it was really from the 1920s onwards that Portsea became established as the seaside retreat for Melbourne's wealthy establishment families, as more cliff-top mansions with absolute beach frontage began to appear, a trend that has continued into the 21st century. From the 1940s to 1995, Fort Franklin was used as the Lord Mayor's Camp, a holiday camp for country children.

Jill Barnard