Fisherman’s Cottage Museum Complex, Tooradin

Fisherman's Cottage, Tooradin

Fisherman's Cottage, TooradinThe February meeting of the SEHA was held at the Fisherman’s Cottage Museum on the Foreshore at Tooradin. The Museum is operated by the Cranbourne Shire Historical Society. The curator and caretaker, Rosemary Mynard, gave guided tours of the Museum throughout the day. The Museum is housed in an old cottage, built c.1873. The builder was most likely Matthew Evans who was an early landowner in Tooradin.
Evans owned most of the early town lots in Tooradin and donated land for the Anglican Church in 1890.The cottage is one of the earliest houses built in Tooradin and one of the few remaining examples of the fishermen’s houses that originally dotted both sides of Sawtell’s Inlet at Tooradin in the nineteenth century and early twentieth century.

Amongst the owners of the Cottage was Isabella Poole (nee Kernot) who owned it from 1910 until 1949. Isabella’s father, Henry Foreman Kernot, was a fisherman who had arrived in Tooradin from Hastings in about 1876. Isabella’s father-inlaw, George Poole, and his two brothers Fred and Thomas were early Cranbourne Shire settlers and some of their descendents were involved in the fishing industry at Tooradin.

The Cottage was saved from demolition in 1968 by the action of the foundation members of the Cranbourne Shire Historical Society. Mrs Kath Metherall (the winner of the Garryowen trophy at the Royal Melbourne Show on two occasions),
Mrs Peggy Banks and Mrs Jess Ayres were concerned about the possible demolition of the Cottage so they approached the Cranbourne Shire to purchase it. The Shire did so on the proviso that the group raise half the purchase price of
$6000 and payback the council, which they did eventually. This battle to preserve the Cottage sparked the formation of the Cranbourne Shire Historical Society in August 1968. Many local families donated furnishings and household items to the Museum and the Cottage still receives donations from early families of material of local historical significance.

The School building behind the Museum was originally erected at Monomeith in 1925. After it closed in 1933 it was shifted to the Tooradin North site where it was opened in 1935. The building served the Tooradin North community until it was closed in 1971. The owners of the School site donated the building to the Historical Society and with the generous support of the City of Casey the School was re-opened as a Heritage Education Centre in October 2005.

The Museum is open week-ends from 10.30am until 4.30pm and for group visits, at other times, by appointment. Ring Rosemary on 03 5998 3643.

Further Reading

The Good Country : Cranbourne Shire by Niel Gunson (Published by the Shire of Cranbourne, 1968)

  • The Good Country – into the dawn of a new day,1968-1988 by Fred Hooper (Published by theShire of Cranbourne, 1988)
  • Tooradin : 125 years of Coastal History, 1875-2000(Published by the “Tooradin celebrates together125 years of Education Committee”, 2001)

*Originally published in South Eastern Heritage Issue 5 June 2007 and written by Heather Arnold.

17 thoughts on “Fisherman’s Cottage Museum Complex, Tooradin”

  1. Hello I am trying to contact a relevant historical body that might be able to help with information on a local cranbourne cottage which is situated in the new ‘Pasadena’ estate on the corner of Clyde/five ways and cranbourne/ Frankston
    Cheryl Wilson

  2. Hello Cheryl,
    The house is known as Hill Farm and has a connection to the Gates family of Clyde. It is on the City of Casey Heritage Register – you can see the full citation on their website – > Services > Planning > Heritage database. Type in Hill farm in the search box. The building will not be demolished, I believe that the developers have given the house and some of the surrounding land to the City of Casey and it will be developed as a park, with ‘fantastic panoramic views’ to quote the developers. The house will used for community use.
    Heather Arnold
    Local History Librarian
    Casey Cardinia Library Corporation

  3. Hello, am seeking any information regarding a woman of the name Ila Leonora Whitbourne , nee Anderson who lived in Mickle St Tooradine in the 50’s and died in 196. Her husbands Name was Percy Whitbourne
    Peter Anderson

    1. Hi Peter,
      My usual source of information on Tooradin is the book – ‘Tooradin: 125 years of coastal history’ and the Whitbournes are not mentioned in this book.The book also includes a list of students at the Tooradin State School and there are no Whitbournes. They are listed in the Electoral Rolls as being at Tooradin in 1949 and 1954. His occupation is farm labourer. In 1963, Percy is listed at Mickle Street but I can’t see Ila listed in the Electoral Rolls at all. I had a look at the Cranbourne Shire Rate Books and they are not listed in there from 1947 to 1951 (the last year that we have access to) so I presume that they were either renting or living with a another family, either way, not paying rates on a property. You could try the Cranbourne Shire Historical Society on 5998 3643 (they are not there every day, so leave a message, if no-one answers). However, it does appear that the Whitbournes were only in the area for about 15 years, so they may not have any information about the family.
      Best wishes

  4. Hello Heather,
    I’m a member of the Glen Eira Historical Society and we have just found out that one of our oldest local houses, Frogmore built in 1857 by William Lyall is in danger of being demolished to make way for big new elderly people’s home. The building is currently Betheden Aged Care and has been sold to Jewish Care. I understand William Lyall is mentioned in Tooradin: 125 years of coastal history and I intend checking what it has to say about his role as an early pioneer in your area and in Murrumbeena.
    I am writing to make you aware of this issue and wonder whether you are able to provide anything further that may confirm/promote Lyall’s importance in Victoria’s history.

    1. Hi Barbara,
      I have responded to you personally, but in case anyone else is interested then here is brief overview of the life ow William Lyall.
      John Mickle (1814-1885) and John Bakewell (1807-1888) were business partners in Melbourne from 1847 and they were soon joined by William Lyall (1821-1888) whose sister Margaret had married John Mickle. They had numerous runs in the Western district and in 1851, they acquired the leases of the Yallock and Tobin Yallock and Red Bluff Stations; in 1852 Manton’s Tooradin run, and in 1854 they acquired the Great Swamp run, all in all about 27,000 acres, which they collectively called their Western Port runs.

      However, land sales from 1856 meant that Mickle, Bakewell and Lyall had to compete with others to purchase the free-hold of their land and this allowed other settlers to move into the area, such as Archibald McMillan who had an Estate called Caldermeade, however the trio were hardly left destitute. In December of 1856 the trio divided their jointly owned land. Bakewell’s portion included Tooradin, the Tobin Yallock pre-emptive right (renamed Turkeith), Red Bluff pre-emptive right and Warrook on the Yallock Creek. Mickle received the Upper Yallock blocks which he renamed Monomeith. John’s brother Alexander Mickle and his wife Agnes managed the Yallock and Monomeith properties for John Mickle. Their son David was the grandfather of the local historian Dave Mickle.

      William Lyall received the Yallock pre-emptive right and the remaining land. William and Annabella Lyall built Harewood house in about 1857
      The Lyall family moved into the completed building in 1868, from Frogmore, their house on 93 acres in Carnegie.

      William & Annabella had 12 children between 1849 and 1869 of which 9 survived to adulthood. Harewood remained in the Lyall family until 1967. William Lyall was a breeder of animals including Hereford cattle, Cotswald sheep and Romney Marsh sheep. He was also a Cranbourne Shire Councillor, member of the Legislative Assembly, first president of the Mornington Pastoral & Agricultural Society and involved with the Victorian Agricultural Society, the Zoological Society and the Acclimatisation Society. In fact Harewood became a centre for a number of acclimatisation experiments and he released partridges, hares, pheasants and deer on the property. He also tried oyster culture and in September 1873 planted about 40,000 oysters in the inlet, which were apparently killed in July 1874 by “fresh flood waters”.

      Mickle, Bakewell and Lyall and their descendents are remembered in Tooradin, Cranbourne and Koo-Wee-Rup where streets were named in their honour.

  5. A couple of problems with your comments.
    1. William Lyall did not marry John Mickle’s sister – Mickle married William’s sister, Margaret. William Lyall married Annabella Brown, in Van Diemans Land.

    2. Harewood was ready for occupation in 1863 but the family remained at Frogmore, as there were no education facilities at Tooradin.

  6. I am with the Eltham District Historical Society and I am looking for information about Eric Cecil Lyall a grandson of Wm Lyall. Eric made a movie in Eltham around 1928 and we would like to know more about him.

  7. Hello
    I am nterested to hear of Dave Mickle the local historian…I would be interested as a West Australian Mickle to ne in touch now that I have moved to Melbourne.

  8. Hello I’m trying to find information on a drowning in westernport bay around 1963 – 1965/66 involving the death of 2 fisherman one being Geoffrey Lee (my father in law) unfortunately most of the descendants have passed and I don’t know where to find information. ..I believe one or both bodies were found at tooradin .. the other gentleman may have been a Mr Potter .. thank you for any information.

    Kind regards

    Dianne Lee

  9. hi,
    I’m searching for old school photos of Tooradin primary 1961- 1964 and if you know where I can acquire them.

  10. I was wondering if the exterior of the Museum was used for the veterinary practice in the TV series ‘Young Ramsay’? It looks very familiar, and I remember reading that a lot of the series was filmed in Tooradin.

    Also, I sincerely hope that the Museum hasn’t been affected by the terrible fires that are raging in Australia at the moment. I should be most grateful for any information you can provide.

    1. Hi Judith,
      I had not seen the show, and just did a bit of research and apparently some scenes were filmed at Tooradin, I did not know that! I will see what else I can find out about the filming. We were not affected by the fires, thank you for your concern. I will be in touch again, hopefully with more information about this interesting part of our history. Best wishes, Heather Arnold.

  11. I would be interested in learning about any families that lived in the fishermans cottage around 1950’s. My mother who has passed told me she lived at the back of the cottage for a while. I can remember as a child playing on the front verandah and visiting the beach which was across the road. I have a photo of me on the verandah. I can remember a lady friend of my mums who’s first name was Glady’s who lived in the main house. We called her Aunty Glad. Sorry I don’t have any more information but I do have this memory of living there. I think I was only 4 years old so it had to be around 1956. If you can help in solving this mystery I would be grateful.

    1. Hello Annmarie, I am currently researching my family tree and I think that Gladys is my grandmother. Her surname was Moger and she passed away in 1962. I was told that she lived in Tooradin and so did my father growing up.

  12. Hi, I’m the unofficial historian at Sorrento Football Club on the Mornington Peninsula. Am seeking help with our 1938-40 coach-captain Albert Otto PETERS (1908-1944) b. St. Arnaud, moved to Wonthaggi 1918 until 1932 where he taught at Burndale State School for 6 years before transfer to Tooradin North in 1933 then Red Hill South circa 1936.
    He married Ruby Anzac Kernot of Tooradin in the All Saints Church Tooradin (plaques in Memorial Garden) in 1939.
    He was killed in WW2 (see his Wiki page).
    Peters is mentioned occasionally in newspapers during his Wonthaggi time (1918-1932), especially in Mrs Connollys Orchestra, then on his departure from Burndale, then a couple of times during his Tooradin stay – Arbour Day and tutoring some students who performed in a musical event. And once in a Cranbourne FC match.
    Does the Sth Eastern Historical Assoc have any info on him during his Tooradin stay?

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