Arthurs Seat is a mountainous and small locality on the Mornington Peninsula, within the Shire of Mornington Peninsula, about 85 km south east of Melbourne, Australia, noted for its exclusivity and the general affluence of the demographics which make up the enclave.
- Area:8.815 km2
- Elevation:308 m
- Local Government Area:Mornington Peninsula Shire Council
Arthurs Seat is a mountainous and small locality on the Mornington Peninsula, within the Shire of Mornington Peninsula, about 85 km south east of Melbourne, Australia, noted for its exclusivity and the general affluence of the demographics which make up the enclave. The Aboriginal Boonwurrung name for the hill is Wonga.
It is a major tourist destination, with stately homes, and due to its natural bushland, sweeping views and man-made attractions. The hill rises to 314 m (1,030 ft) above sea level.The underlying rocks are Devonian granite, bounded to the west by the Selwyn Fault. The vegetation consists of dry open forest of mixed eucalypt species, which was extensively burnt during a bushfire in 1973 and again in 1997. The indigenous vegetation on the north-west face has been heavily infested with noxious weed and much of the natural vegetation has been cleared away, although several large stands still remain.
Wonga was home to the Boonwurrung prior to European settlement. The lower slopes of the hill were known as Wango, and were a place where corroborees were held. Three Boonwurrung names have been recorded for this hill: Momo, Wonga and Tubberrubberbil, though the latter is possibly confused with Tubba Rubba creek.The term Arthurs Seat was first applied to the mountain range, then to a squatting run, next to the pre-emptive right, then to land allotments in the area that is now the suburb McCrae, and currently to the suburb at the summit of the range.
It was named by Acting Lieutenant John Murray when he entered Port Phillip in HMS Lady Nelson (1798) in February 1802, for an apparent resemblance to the hill of Arthur's Seat in Edinburgh (which was his home city).Captain Matthew Flinders climbed Arthurs Seat on 27 April 1802, noting in his log "The Bluff Mountain on the eastward I estimated at over 1000 feet high, and being near the waterside, possessed a favourable station for observation purposes. I ascend the hill and took an extensive set of bearings from the cleared place to be found on the north western bluff part of the hill." Another notable ascent was in 1844 when Sir John Franklin (former Governor of Van Diemen's Land) climbed Arthurs seat with Andrew McCrae (then owner of the McCrae homestead at the foot).
It was not until 1853 that a structure was placed on the summit, a trigonometrical station, for survey purposes. The station was burnt down in 1880. In 1883 a new lighthouse was assembled in McCrae making the previously wooden structure redundant, so authorities decided to transport the wooden frame by bullock wagon to the summit for use as a lookout tower where it remained until 1934 when it was again replaced by another tower.
In 1913 the Flinders Shire Council cut and formed a track for vehicles to the summit. In 1929 the track was re-surveyed, widened, reconstructed and continued to link up with Dromana-Flinders Road
The summit area of Arthurs Seat was not recognised as separate of Dromana/McCrae until it was subdivided by council in 1930. before this recognition the sumit area as we know it today was titled "Dromana park" or "Arthurs Seat Range" in the southern area of subdivision survey maps from mid to late 1800s displaying the country lands in the parish of Kangerong (now Dromana)
The Garden of the Moon opened in 1931 and has brought tourism to the location from the very beginnings of its establishment. It offered attractions such as a dance hall, camera obscura, telescopes, swimming pool, fish-pond, hexagonal kiosk and wishing well. The lookout tower opened in 1934. The 950m long chairlift route was built in 1960. This added to the already well-established tourist attraction, with an estimated 100,000 chairlift users in 2002 according to the Mornington Peninsula Tourism Council. In the 1970s, efforts were made to build a quarry in the area but were blocked by a green ban.Tourism at the summit has been in decline since both theclosure of the chairlift in 2006 and the closure and subsequent removal of the lookout tower in 2012. Chief executive Mark Stone of Parks Victoria called for "new modern infrastructure" in 2009 Development of new infrastructure wasdisputed and subsequently assessed at a VCAT hearing, VCAT allowing the application despite strong local concern put forward by Save Our Seat.
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