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Special Historical Items

The Queenscliff Maritime Museum collection includes a number of items which are of significance to the heritage of Queenscliffe, Port Phillip and the early settlement of Victoria.

 
 
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TORPEDO BOAT HMVS LONSDALE

Classified as an historic vessel and protected by the Victorian Heritage Act, the hulk of the HMVS Lonsdale is buried in the grounds.

Built in 1883 in Chiswick, England, the Lonsdale was commissioned byVictoria to counteract possible invasion by Russia or France. Along with her sister ship the Nepean, HMVS Cerberus and the first-class torpedo boat Countess of Hopetoun, the Lonsdale was part of Victoria's first Navy in a 'first line of defence' for colonial Victoria. The fortifications at Point Nepean, Fort Queenscliff, South Channel Fort and Popes Eye were also part of this defence.

By 1912 the Lonsdale was obsolete and withdrawn from service. She was eventually beached as a breakwater behind the houses in Beach Street Queenscliff.  Over time the Lonsdale became buried in sand resulting from changes to the harbour. The hulk is now a considerable distance from the seashore, which continues to change due to shifting sands around the harbour and ferry terminal.

A dig by Heritage Victoria and Queenscliff Harbour Pty Ltd in March 2006 ascertained that the conning tower and part of the hull are still in place but part of the bow had been removed some years previously, as local history suggested. The Museum wanted to excavate the stern, however funding was not available and the remains have been re-buried.

An interpretive display about the Lonsdale has been erected over the site.

More information is available at the Friends of the Cerberus website at www.cerberus.com.au


SHANDON DECKHOUSE - CREW QUARTERS

The Shandon was a 1387 ton iron sailing ship, of length 245.9 feet, beam 37.8 feet and draught of 21.3 feet. She was built in 1883 at Port Glasgow and had a chequered career as a trader for nearly 40 years. She was converted to a lighter until the end of WWI then re-rigged as a barque and spent the next four years trading across the Pacific Ocean. In 1922 she was in use as a coal hulk in Adelaide. During WWII she was a coal hulk in Townsville.

Shandon had one moment of glory in 1934 when she was involved in Victoria's 100th anniversary celebrations.  The Shandon will eventually open as a public display, after restoration.

FISHERMEN'S WAITING SHED

The waiting shed was erected on the old fishermen's pier in the 1870s.  In 1895 fisherman Henry Zanoni began to paint the vessels that entered Port Phillip on the inside walls of the shed. He continued his painting as a hobby over the next 51 years.

For many years the waiting shed had a collection box fixed to one wall to pay for the Geelong Hospital.  Consequently, Henry Zanoni was presented with a Life Membership certificate by the Hospital.

The pier was demolished in the 1950s and the waiting shed was relocated to the edge of the creek near the slipway.  Later it was again relocated to Lower Princes Park.

When the Maritime Museum was established in the 1980s the waiting shed found a permanent home in the Museum grounds and has since been classified by the National Trust.

The heritage listing can be viewed on the Heritage Victoria website at Fishermans Waiting Shed.


FISHERMAN'S COTTAGE

The cottage was built in Bridge Street Queenscliff by Thomas Ikin, a professional fisherman who was born in Tasmania in 1840 and lived in Queenscliff some time before 1870. This 2-roomed cottage built in the 1870-1880s was home to Thomas, his wife Anna who was the local midwife, and three children.

The cottage was moved from Bridge Street to the Museum grounds in 1990. At restoration, much original material was left intact, but the roof, some weatherboards and studs were replaced and the fireplace and chimney rebuilt. Where possible original building materials were used in the restoration. During this work newspaper used as insulation was found between the weatherboards and lining boards. The earliest newspaper date found was 1886.

Anne Ikin, granddaughter of Thomas, was a frequent visitor to the cottage. On 19 September 1990, aged 89 years, Anne described the furnishings and paint colours to us and also discussed life in the cottage with three children, Obadiah (Anne's father), John and Alicia.

Based on Anne's description of the cottage furniture and household items typical of the period and the simple lifestyle of the local fishing families have been replicated in the cottage. Most of the items have been donated by local people. Museum volunteers sourced materials and made furnishings which emulate the styles of the period.

The cottage provides an insight into the early social history of Queenscliff and the living conditions of the fishermen in those times. Many comparable buildings can be found in the Fishermen's Flat precinct adjacent to the Museum.