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Bass Coast Local News:
Mayor’s Message – Monday 26 March

Mayor's Easter Message

By Portal Admin - 10th April 2018 - Back to News

In writing the history of the Phillip Island cemetery, as part of the 150th year celebrations, I have to say I am discovering some fascinating facts! For instance a note is made in the 1890s Cemetery Trust Minutes to ‘remind the grave digger to dig the entire 8 feet’, I can’t help but envision the scene - lonely, cold, wet, windy… hand-digging through the red clay-loam soil, risking his own life – as OH&S was non-existent and no shoring would have been used in those day, there was a real possibility of the walls caving in. It was also possible that the grave being dug, was for a friend, a neighbour or indeed a loved-one, for Phillip Island was a small, tight-knit community.

What I’ve discovered too, was that our early settlers were a resourceful lot who well-knew the priorities of their community and weren’t afraid to advocate for them! The first burial, after the Island was opened up for selection, was 20-month old Mary Smith, which took place in April 1870. The site, the Govt. of the day had reserved for the cemetery, was a four-acre allotment on the corner of Church St and Dunsmore Road, now our beloved footy oval. The local community, however, held a public meeting on March 21st, 1870, to ask for a more suitable location. Despite a visit by the Commissioner for Lands and Survey, on April 1st, 1870, no alternative site was forthcoming. However, this clearly didn’t faze the locals nor the family of little Mary, who obviously preferred a site high on a hill, overlooking beautiful Westernport – the site where our present Cemetery is located. It took 30 years for the Govt. to finally record and gazette the Phillip Island Cemetery in it’s present location and henceforth little Mary, along 75 others buried on that hill over those 30 years, were guaranteed permanency!

The other two agenda items back at that March Public Meeting in 1870 were – i) a site for a Recreation oval and 2) Cowes Jetty! Timeless topics, needless to say.

Bass Coast has never been stronger when it comes to recreation planning and doing, and I am very pleased with last week’s adoption of the Bass Coast Skate Strategy and the recent Active Bass Coast community engagement. Both informed and shaped by the community. Active Bass Coast had over 850 surveys returned and the Skate Strategy was driven by a passionate and diverse steering committee, with broad community input. So plenty of opportunity now and into the future to get outdoors, get active and get social!

Finally wishing you all a wonderful and safe Easter. There’s so much to do over the Easter break – from the Easter Fun Festival at Churchill Island, to the Inverloch School Easter Fair to Walk With The Kids at San Remo. Easter is a great time to enjoy a last burst of major tourism energy and activity, before we settle in to the middle-months – winter sports, a book by the fire, windy-walks on the beach…


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