Beneath the southern sky

Bombs?  We have unexploded bombs in Australia?   The sign was enough to convince me that wandering onto the pristine beach may not be a good idea.

It took little more than a clear blue sky this morning to get me back to Mornington Peninsula to enjoy some crisp winter fresh air.  What started as a rough plan to do some walking along the coast, ended up as a history lesson that I hadn't expected.

With panoramic views of Bass Straight, the Rip and Port Phillip Bay, there is plenty of natural landscape to enjoy when visiting Point Nepean National Park and its surrounding Marine Park but it was the military forts, tunnels and Quarantine Station that gave me a different perspective on the area.   The entrance to Port Phillip was the most heavily forted port of the British Empire during the first world war and there are still remnants dating back to the 1880s scattered throughout the park.

With calm bayside on one side and rugged, southern ocean on the other, I would have been quite happy just enjoying the scenery but then I heard it.  The music.  As I walked further into the tunnel, i could feel myself smiling and being drawn closer to see where it was coming from.  At first I thought it must have been a busker, but as I reached the inner tunnel, I discovered a recording of wartime music depicting life as the Point Nepean soldiers would have experienced it.  Quite unexpected.  It struck me that I have learnt so much about war history in other countries but have never taken as much interest in my own.  It never seemed as interesting because it was close to home - not proud to say that.  The more I see of the impact of war, regardless of where it is in the world, the more indebted I feel to our Australian soldiers for helping ensure I grew up in a free country.       

An easy day trip, only 90km from Melbourne and with unlimited options for exploring, this won't be the last time the Peninsula sees me enjoying life beneath the southern sky. 

 One of almost 50 heritage-listed buildings at the Quarantine Station

One of almost 50 heritage-listed buildings at the Quarantine Station