1911 revealed Australia’s census to have a population of 4,435,000 people. Which bank was established? Of course it was the Commonwealth Bank of Australia. In a personality and country race, Amundsen won the victory to be the first to the South Pole and for all those wanting to hum a tune, ‘Alexander’s Rag Time Band’ was the number one hit tune of 1911.
My three hours of Research at the State Library of Victoria into the events and happenings within the Sorrento community in 1911 was interesting to say the least. About ½ way through my research, I began to wonder just how many times George Morce, a local identity would be brought before the Sorrento Court. I had reached the month of August and already he had managed 4 appearances (3 for being drunk and disorderly with the usual fine of 10∕- or 48 hours’ default) and one for throwing a missile which turned out to be a beer bottle.
Here are a few further snippets of daily life in and around Sorrento in 1911 as reported in “The Mornington and Dromana Standard” of the day:
Youth Shot in Sorrento: The New Year brought tragedy to the small community when Norman Morton an eighteen year old holiday visitor to Sorrento was found on the morning of New Year’s Day with a bullet wound to the forehead. He was conveyed in a wagonette to Dr.Broughton’s surgery and died several hours later. An inspection of the crime scene followed and a six chambered revolver with two cartridges in the chambers were picked up.
Nude Bathing at Portsea: Constable Brennan proceeded against a party of 4 Melbourne males for behaving in an indecent manner by bathing off the Portsea Pier in a nude state on New Year’s Day. When the case was dismissed, the editor of the paper was prompted to write….”is it no offence to run about the pier at the little village of Portsea in a nude state?”
Sorrento Pier Extension: On the 6th of May ‘The Leader’ reported on a deputation of Sorrento residents to the acting minister of Public Works asking that the Sorrento Pier be lengthened by 60’ and widened by 10’ to accommodate the increasing influx of tourists conveyed from Melbourne to Sorrento by bay steamers. The cost to this project was estimated to be £3,000. It was stated that in the previous year over 114,000 people visited Sorrento by the bay steamers. The shipping companies had been asked to contribute £100 each to the overall cost but had refused. The minister stated that he would place the request before the next meeting of cabinet.
Local Identity Becomes J.P.: In early October Mr. David McFarlan of Sorrento has been made a Justice of the Peace.
Life Saving Corps Practice: This was conducted on the back beach in early October. It took 3 drays to convey the men and gear to the back beach. A rocket was fired across the water to the heads and it took 1 hour 50 minutes from the time the corps left Sorrento until the whole apparatus was placed in position. It is thought that in the event of a marine casualty, the Sorrento Corps will give a good account of themselves as the practice proved successful.
New Rocket House Built: In December a new and up to date Rocket House has been built in Sorrento. The old one was sold at tender to Mr. Chapman for £15.5.0 ……
A Letter of Complaint to the Editor:
“The cost of shire rates and pan rates in Sorrento are currently enormous and run over three figures .I believe some residents have not paid their pan rates for the last 4 years. Why should a few bear the cost that all should share.”
Complaints and grumbles of this topic have changed little in the past 100 years. After all isn’t Christmas shopping more important than overdue council rate notices?
…..’and so dies this year’ (Georgiana McCrae)
From “Georgiana’s Journal”.