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Sorrento is a beautiful seaside town that attracts hundreds of thousands of tourists each year. It's popular for it's beaches, cafes, shops and it's accessibility from Melbourne. Also known as the "Millionaires Playground."
However what many people overlook is the towns history, it's a place that has a very interesting tale to tell, which you can explore on foot in an easy 6-7 km walk.
We parked at Sullivan Beach car park, which is also the site of the first European Settlement that included 308 convicts. The settlement was established in 1803 under the charge of Lieutenant David Collins, it was established mainly to prevent the French from claiming the territory as they were also exploring at the time.
The site was problematic with fresh water hard to find and not favourable for either whaling or timber. These difficulties resulted in the relocation of the settlement to Van Diemen's Land in May 1804.
After visiting the grave site we went back to the car park and followed the footpath towards Sorrento, as you follow the track there are many information boards along the way giving the history of the area.
When we reached the Sorrento Sailing Club we walked along the beach to the rotunda on the shoreline at the bottom of town. This is close to where the tram would have commenced after visitors had gotten off a paddle steamer to get into town.
picture of the steam train in front of the Continental Hotel courtesy of the Continental Hotel
The tram line ran between 1890 -1920 with the line running from the bay to the back beach, which was just over a mile trip.
The sleepers from the tram line were pulled up and sold to Warburton Timber mills and the locomotive and trailers were transported to Noojee in 1920.
As you keep walking down the main St you will notice many historic buildings. At the very bottom end of town on the corner of Melbourne Rd is the Mechanics Institute that now houses the museum, built in 1877. Unfortunately it wasn't open when we visited,so make sure you check the opening times to avoid disappointment.
We had lunch in the gardens of the Pioneer Cottage next to the museum then continued back down the main street and turned left into Point Nepean Rd towards Portsea to see one of the most beautiful little churches I have seen. The Pioneer Cottage or Watts Cottage " Ilfracombe", is of wattle and daube construction with shingle roof originally sourced from Arthurs Seat and built 1869-70. St Johns church was constructed of limestone in 1874.