The Mornington Peninsula has a rich history dating back to the end of the glacial period in 10,000 BC to the early European settlement in the 1800’s. There is so much to discover and each historical event comes with a great story to tell. If you’re looking for a unique and enriching adventure, go on a trip down memory lane by visiting these top rated museums on the peninsula.
The Museum of HMAS Cerberus
Located within the Flinders Naval Depot, a heritage building established in the 1920s, the Museum of HMAS Cerberus is regarded as the premier training establishment for the Royal Australian Navy. During WWII the facility was used as the Drafting Office and then later as the Supply School.
Today, the museum houses the oldest and most significant artefacts held by the Naval Heritage Collection and features the Victorian Colonial Navy and the history of HMAS Cerberus. They have an extensive archive and a huge collection of artefacts that continues to grow through the help of ex-naval personnel and their families.
Dromana Historical Museum
The Dromana Historical Museum is managed by the volunteers from the Dromana and District Historical Society. They are dedicated to preserving the history of Dromana and the surrounding areas of Red Hill, Rosebud, McCrae, Main Ridge, Boneo, and Red Hill South.
Their collection includes old photographs, cards, ephemera, letters, books, important documents, and other memorabilia. Here you can find around 3,000 historical photographs from the early beginnings of the Mornington Peninsula.
Cape Schanck Lighthouse Reserve and Museum
Famous for its historical lighthouse, this reserve and museum offers a guided tour, lookouts, and picnic facilities in a unique 19th century setting. There are several heritage buildings located within the reserve, including the lighthouse tower and museum.
Relive Victoria’s maritime history through the stories of the light keepers. Learn about the events that took place in this remote location and how the tiny community prevents ships from being wrecked at the cape.
Be sure to check out the lighthouse tower that was built in 1859 from local limestone and the museum that features a large range of artefacts, displays, and information about the maritime navigation history and its role in guiding the ships going into Port Phillip.
Sorrento Museum – Nepean Historical Society
Formed in March 1965, the Nepean Historical Society established the Sorrento Museum within the Mechanics’ Institute building, located in Melbourne Road in Sorrento. The National Trust classified building was built using local limestone in 1876 and features a gallery and multimedia and lecture facilities.
The museum features an extensive collection of documents, photos, paintings and other historical artefacts that showcase the origins of the Nepean Peninsula including the Boon Wurrung People, Quarantine Station, army history and ship wrecks. Some of their most important artefacts include indigenous microliths from thousands of years ago and leg irons from the Collins Settlement in 1803.
Built in 1844, the McCrae Homestead is a historical property owned by Andrew McCrae, a lawyer, and his wife Georgiana Huntly – McCrae. It is located at the foot of Arthurs Seat. The property illustrates how early pioneers used whatever they found locally to build houses using primitive construction techniques and local materials such as stringybark from the top of the mountain, wattle, bark, messmate, shingles, and slabs.
The Homestead is known as one of Victoria’s oldest and largest original existing houses and the McCrae family is recognized as one of the first six pioneer families to establish properties on the Mornington Peninsula.
In 1851, the Burrells purchased the Arthur’s Seat Run from the McCrae family and lived at the homestead for 80 years.
The McCrae Homestead Visitors Centre features the McCrae and Burrell Twycross family collections of 19th century heirlooms.