At the time of European discovery of the area, it was inhabited by the Bengalat Bulag clan of the Wautharong tribe, a member of the Kulin nation. European explorers first arrived in 1802, Lieutenant John Murray in January and Captain Matthew Flinders in April. The first European settler in the area was convict escapee William Buckley between 1803 and 1835, latterly in a cave beneath the Point Lonsdale Lighthouse, with the local Aborigines.
Permanent settlement began in 1836 when squatters arrived in the area known as Whale Head. The name was changed to Shortland’s Bluff in honour of Lieutenant John Shortland, who assisted in the surveying of Port Phillip. Land sales began in 1853, the same year the name was changed to Queenscliff by Lieutenant Charles La Trobe, in honour of Queen Victoria.
The Post Office opened on 1 May 1853 as Shortland’s Bluff and was renamed Queenscliff in 1854.
Originally a fishing village, Queenscliff soon became an important cargo port, servicing steamships trading in Port Philip. A shipping pilot service was established in 1841, and its two lighthouses, the High and Low Lights, were constructed in 1862-63. Queenscliff also played an important military role. Fort Queenscliff was built between 1879 and 1889, and operated as the command centre for a network of forts around the port. The complex ceased operations as a fort in 1947, and has since been used by the army for administrative purposes. In 2005, the area previously holding the Fort Barracks was subdivided into residential blocks, and renamed Shortlands Beach, in honour of the town’s prior name. The proposed redevelopment drew fierce criticism from some sectors of the community, who feared loss of an important heritage site. The original fort remains on site.
Queenscliff lighthouses, the High Light (centre) and Low Light (left)Queenscliff became a tourist destination in the late 1800s, with visitors arriving from Melbourne after a two-hour journey on the paddle steamer, Ozone. The opening of a railway line to Geelong in 1879 brought increasing tourists to the area, and numerous luxury hotels (or coffee palaces) were built to accommodate them. The Palace Hotel was built in 1879 (later renamed Esplanade Hotel), the Baillieu Hotel was built in 1881 (later renamed Ozone Hotel), the Vue Grande Hotel was built in 1883, and the Queenscliff Hotel was built in 1887. The advent of the car saw Queenscliff drop in popularity as a tourist destination, as tourists were no longer dependent on its role as a transport hub. The railway ceased weekly passenger services in 1950, and was closed in 1976.
The 1980s saw a return in the town’s tourist popularity.
Location: Geelong, Victoria, Australia
Camera: Canon EOS 50D
Lens: Sigma 18-200mm f3.5 – 6.3 @ 18mm
Exposure: f11, 1/8, ISO100, RAW, Handheld
Processing: Photomatix 3.2 (single shot ±1, 3exp)
and Photoshop CS4