In the year 1858, toll-gates were installed on Nepean Road, near Cummins Lane, Moorabbin. Later, when the Mordialloc bridge toll-gates were built, the Moorabbin turnpike became known as the check toll-gates. People on their way to Melbourne from beyond Mordialloc were not charged a second time if they had already paid at the bridge.
Mordialloc’s first squatter, John O’Shanassy, was a member of Victoria’s first two house Parliament (1857). He was elected Premier in 1858 and again in 1861.
In 1859, Brighton was declared a municipality. The backblocks of the municipality, South Brighton (now Moorabbin), East Brighton (now Bentleigh), Cheltenham, and Mordialloc, complaining of neglect raised the question of severance and the formation of a new local government body, but Brighton, which had already agreed to the use of these areas as night soil dumps for the City of Melbourne night carts, practically ignored them.
A champion of the cause was Robert Keys, keeper of a wayside pub on the highway at little Brighton. Keys, a Brighton councillor destined to become a member of parliament himself, was a good friend of O’Shanassy, whose interest was engaged. The fight for severance then became a serious one with Brighton against the rest in their claim for a better deal.
In 1862, with O’Shanassy in his third term as Premier and Brighton now anxious to remove itself from control of the ‘dissenters’, the Moorabbin Road Board District was formed. The new local government body became responsible for the development of the cities of Moorabbin, Sandringham, and Mordialloc.
Colonel William Mair, who had been brought from Sydney to Melbourne to sort out the squabbles of the squatters and won, was later placed in charge of gold escorts from Ballarat before he became a magistrate, and was the first President of the Moorabbin Road Board District. Mair, between his duties as magistrate at Brighton and his honorary commitments at Moorabbin, was associated with volunteer rifle brigades; it was through these associations that he gained local popularity.
Notable events in the next few years were:
Mentone Opens Up:
Among some of the first people to take up residence in Mentone during these days of the land boom were J W Jones, whose timber yard was on Latrobe Street, next door to J L Caudwell, the builder. Mrs Patrick opened a drapery store in Balcombe Road and a sign outside her store pointed to ‘Saratoga’, the name that Mentone racecourse never got around to wearing. Mr Kelly owned the Post Office store on Como Parade, while six shops on Mentone Parade carried the businesses of W J Cowen (grocery), C J Hearle (estate agent), Mr Obbinson (chemist), Mr Barnell (bakery), an unknown upholster, and Beazley the butcher. Further down the road was the residence of J Johnston Esq.
De Vaug had a wood and coal business on Como Parade, next door but one to Pearce the painter on Como Parade, while on the corner of Mitchell Street was the home of D J Kekwick Esq.
Further down the street again (near Warrigal Road) was W Anketell the local Justice of the Peace, while around the corner on Warrigal Road were J R Hornby and H Young. Homes on Venice Street were owned by J Gall, L Corben, P Dobson, and J Moodie. W Fletcher lived on Mentone Parade near Palermo Street and C J Potts, C H James, and J B Davies owned homes in the same vicinity.
The modern township boasted a Mentone Public Hall, a coffee palace and a Catholic Church. The coffee palace in later years became a convent. The company even established its own Board of Works, which amounted to nothing much better than a high pressure progress association. For years it was something of a thorn in the side of the Moorabbin Shire Council with its committee making heavy demands for improvements in the new area.
Reprinted from the Mordialloc-Chelsea News, 27 May 1970.
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City of Kingston acknowledges the Kulin Nation as the custodians of the land on which the municipality is a part and pays respect to their Elders, past and present. Council is a member of the Inter Council Aboriginal Consultative Committee (ICACC).