Meeting – April 2023

We had a break from our usual meeting venue and were lucky enough to visit the Collins Settlement in Sorrento for our April meeting.

Meeting – April 2023

We had a break from our usual meeting venue and were lucky enough to visit the Collins Settlement in Sorrento for our April meeting.  It was a beautiful day and we were able to gather outside in the sunshine at the Collins Settlement Monument before proceeding into the information centre.

Our speaker and host for the afternoon was Judy Walsh, a long time member of the Friends of the Collins Settlement.  Judy passed on her amazing knowledge of the history of the Collins Settlement and how it came into being.   It was a fascinating insight into various aspects of shipboard life for the convicts and officers on the way from England, as well as life in the settlement.  Commander, Lieut. Col. Collins had been empowered to start a new settlement on Port Phillip Bay and on October 9th, 1803, His Majesty’s Ship Calcutta entered Port Phillip Bay.   Lieut. Col. Collins had been entrusted with the transportation and setting up of a new settlement consisting of 299 male convicts, 16 convicts’ wives, a few children of the convicts, a detachment of 50 Royal Marines and the Civil Staff.   It appears that Lieut. Col. Collins had good intentions of making the settlement a success but it appears it was doomed to failure from the start, due to the land not being conducive to cultivation and lack of fresh water.  One of the many fascinating things that Judy told us was how they attempted to supply drinkable water to the community when there was no fresh water available. There was, of course, plenty of water in the Bay but they had to come up with a way of desalinating it.  By way of a solution, they used the barrels they had brought with them on the ship.  The remnants of one of these desalinating barrels, were found still buried in the beach at Sorrento in the 1930s. It is one of the earliest artefacts of white settlement in the State.

It was a good opportunity for us to get together afterwards over afternoon tea and talk about all that we’d learned about the Collins Settlement.  Judy was presented with the Rye Historical Society book “Rye – A Book of Memories” as a thank you for her terrific presentation.

A small barrel was nested inside a larger one, with the gap between the shells stuffed with sand, rags, moss or anything else that would soak up the salt. A dozen or so of these double barrels were buried on the beach, and after high tide the filtered water would be ladled out. The “treated” water was reported as being “brackish”.

THE RYE HISTORICAL SOCIETY & MUSEUM
We are located at:
“The Old Schoolhouse” Rye Primary School,
Collingwood Street, Rye Vic 3941
We are Temporarily closed for renovations. Date of reopening T.B.A. (expect Apr-May 2023)
CONTACT US
Email: ryehistoricalsociety@gmail.com
Mail: PO Box 65, Rye 3941
Office hours:  Tuesdays  9.30am – 12.30pm President: Lynne Woollard
Secretary: Prue Found   0403 470 281
Treasurer: Danny Jennings
MEETINGS:
2pm, Fourth Monday of each month
St Andrews Anglican Church Hall
35 Lyons Street, Rye
Guest speakers.  Visitors Welcome.
CLICK HERE for Membership Details Next Meeting Monday 27 February 2023

LOCATION:

"The Old Schoolhouse" Rye Primary School,
Collingwood Street, Rye Vic 3941

We're pleased to announce that from 13th August 2023, the Museum will be open on Sundays 2pm - 4pm.

Contact Us

Email: ryehistoricalsociety@gmail.com
Mail: PO Box 65, Rye 3941
Office hours:  Tuesdays  9.30am - 12.30pm

Meetings:

2pm, Fourth Monday of each month
St Andrews Anglican Church Hall
35 Lyons Street, Rye
Guest speakers.  Visitors Welcome.
CLICK HERE for Membership Details

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