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Developing sustainable communities : the case for Port Phillip Heads historic towns, Sorrento and Queenscliff

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conference contribution
posted on 2008-01-01, 00:00 authored by Ursula De JongUrsula De Jong, Robert Fuller
The Victorian towns of Sorrento and Queenscliff are located either side of Port Phillip Heads. Using these towns as case studies, this paper examines what happens to historic coastal townships caught up in the phenomenon of sea change. Both towns are currently facing huge planning battles and are trying to argue a case for heritage in the rush for expansion and modernisation. Newcomers like to emulate the metropolis in the seaside towns. Planners in the metropolis are asked to make decisions by developers who are thwarted by local municipalities. These towns encapsulate something of the dilemma that comes with a demographic shift from the metropolitan centre to coastal townships and demonstrate that the transition from urban life and built environment does not translate without cost to a fragile coastal environment. It is place itself that has attracted humans to Sorrento and Queenscliff over centuries. The seascape, the landscape, the environment drew the indigenous peoples here centuries ago. It provided abundant food and was inspiring. Europeans came at the very beginning of the 19th century seeking new lands. By the late decades of the 19th century Europeans discovered the seaside and its health giving qualities and built substantial Victorian edifices to house the influx of visitors and holiday-makers who arrived by ferry. However, not until the second half of the twentieth century did development begin to intrude significantly on the landscape. And by the twenty-first century evidence is mounting that development is destroying the sense and character of place, which initially enticed people to come here.



SAHANZ Conference (25th : 2008 : Geelong, Vic.)


1 - 24


Society of Architectural Historians, Australia and New Zealand


Geelong, Australia

Place of publication

[Geelong, Vic.]

Start date


End date






Publication classification

E1 Full written paper - refereed

Copyright notice

2008, SAHANZ


D Beynon, U de Jong

Title of proceedings

SAHANZ 2008 : History in practice : 25th International Conference of the Society of Architectural Historians Australia and New Zealand

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