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Sunday, 29 October 2023: Millionaires Walk at Portsea and London Bridge Back Beach

It was great to join another Base Camp and I got to invite my Mum, Christine along for the day as she lives nearby.

After introducing ourselves to some newish members we'd not met before we found a strong "Healesville Connection". I went to school with Judy and we know Patrina's family quite well. '

Our first stop was the Millionaires Walk. The public cliff top walking track ran in-between the coast and private spectacular residences. It has historic significance, as it was the first time the Union Jack was used to claim possession of Australia. It has views across Port Phillip Bay to the Bellarine Peninsula

We got some lovely group photos taken by some other walkers which meant Ian was able to join in as well, Marina made sure of that.

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We made our way around to Portsea back beach where we took a short stroll to see London Bridge and a quick drive-by past the surf club, then it was onto Sorrento to visit the award winning bakery where the price of the vanilla slices matches the price of the local real estate.

Then it was back to camp, well chosen spot on the foreshore, for a debrief for the next day with Les and Heather joining us as well.

Shane Donkin

Particpants: Ian & Sue Mayer, Shane Bright, Bev Piper, Judy O'Connell, David Vaughan, Elizabeth Pearce, Patrina Roberts, Christine Kenny, Cheryl Howard and Shane & Marina Donkin

Monday, 30 October 2023: Point Nepean

It is the first time David and I have attempted a base camp and we loved the experience. On a clear sunny morning, sixteen adventurous and keen walkers set off from Gunners' cottage however our intrepid leader, Ian, did warn us that torrential rain was expected at around 2.30 pm!

Our first stop was Cheviot Hill overlooking the beach Prime Minister Harold Holt disappeared in 1967. Shane D thought he spotted the submarine, but I think it was just a mirage.

Onward to Fort Nepean including stops at Pearce Barracks and Eagles Nest. Here we observed remnants of the fort built by the Victorian government in 1882 to protect the rich goldfields. We all had fun exploring the tunnels that lead to gun emplacements, ammunition stores, and bunkers. It also included a disappearing gun a fascinating invention for its time; after firing, it recoiled below the parapet to enable re-loading in safety. Ian had researched the area and it was interesting to hear that the first gunshot in Australia for both the First and Second World Wars was fired from Fort Nepean.

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After lunch, we walked close to the tip of Point Nepean on the Mornington Peninsula. A lovely view was had overlooking Point Lonsdale across the bay and Queenscliff. We saw a container ship heading into Port Phillip Bay heads and Ed even managed to spot a station wagon on the ship? 

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The coastline was spectacular, rugged, and windy on one side, and calm waters with a beautiful view of the Mornington Peninsula on the other side. But alas the rain was coming so we walked back to Gunners Cottage. Les, David, Shane, and Patrina decided to walk onto the Quarantine Station, while the rest of us hit the road.

The Quarantine Station was fascinating and there were still about 20 buildings open for inspection, so we spent time discovering how the quarantine facility was used. Ships carrying diseased passengers were required to disembark and their luggage and the people were disinfected before heading to Melbourne. Fortunately, we had just finished the tour when the rains began.

It was a terrific day; wonderful company, beautiful scenery, and interesting history all led by a very experienced leader who knew the walking track, knew the history, and made sure we didn’t get wet. Thanks, Ian.

Judy O'Connell

Particpants: Bev Piper, Shane Donkin, Marina Donkin, Judy O'Connell, David Vaughan, Elizabeth Pearce, Shane Bright, Barbara Burton, Michelle Carr, Ed Jensen, Patrina Roberts, Les Cruickshank, Heather Cruickshank, Wendy Page, Sue Mayer, Ian Mayer

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