Peterborough - Please slow down
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PETERBOROGH Please Slow Down is the story of a small town with a rich history set on Victoria's spectacular Great Ocean Road. It is a story about nation building, intrepid pioneers, mysterious shipwrecks and generations of families linked by the enjoyment of summer holidays. The town's first resident, James Meek, explorer, gold miner, artist, writer and entrepreneur, sank a well and built a hut in 1855. Inspired by his descriptions of the surrounding fertile lands, other pioneers followed. They built productive farms from rugged wilderness, cooked on open fires and gave of their time and talents to build a tight-knit community. As holidaying became a feature of life for increasing numbers of Australians in the early 20th century Peterborough thrived as a seaside hub. Visitors were drawn by its safe, sandy beaches, breathtaking scenery, abundant fishing and the hospitality of the Irvine family's guesthouse and later, hotel. Decade after decade, generations of the same families returned, reassured, as one childhood visitor recalled "that next year it would be the same, and it always was". Summer days were filled with surfing, golfing, tennis, boating, picnics, gymkhanas and sandcastle competitions for children. In the evenings, friends gathered for singalongs, danced and donned their finest for the New Year's Eve costume balls and other events. From their vantage point on the Shipwreck Coast, Peterborough residents witnessed some of Australia's most notorious shipwrecks of the 19th and 20th centuries. Some of these remain shrouded in mystery and are explored in these pages. Not surprisingly, such a town produced more than its share of larger-than-life characters who worked hard and played hard. Fortunately, some wrote down their stories. Others are remembered with fondness by their family and friends, especially author Michael Moore, who first came to Peterborough as a child in the 1940s.
01 Dec 2014
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