Queenscliff is a small town on the Bellarine Peninsula in southern Victoria, Australia, south of Swan Bay at the entrance to Port Phillip.
- Area:3.352 km2
- Elevation:19 m
- Local Government Area:Borough of Queenscliffe
Queenscliff is a small town on the Bellarine Peninsula in southern Victoria, Australia, south of Swan Bay at the entrance to Port Phillip.It is the administrative centre for the Borough of Queenscliffe.At the 2016 census, Queenscliff had a population of 1,315.Queenscliff is a seaside resort now known for its Victorian era heritage and tourist industry and as one of the endpoints of the Searoad ferry to Sorrento on the Mornington Peninsula.
Prior to European settlement, it was inhabited by the Bengalat Bulag clan of the Wautharong tribe, members of the Kulin nation.
European explorers first arrived in 1802, Lieutenant John Murray in January and Captain Matthew Flinders in April. The first European settler in the area was convict escapee William Buckley between 1803 and 1835, who briefly lived in a cave with local Aborigines at Point Lonsdale, above which the lighthouse was later built.
Permanent European settlement began in 1836 when squatters arrived.Shortland's Bluff was named in honour of Lieutenant John Shortland, who assisted in the surveying of Port Phillip. Land sales began in 1853, the same year the name was changed to Queenscliff by Lieutenant Charles La Trobe, in honour of Queen Victoria.The Post Office opened on 1 May 1853 as Shortland's Bluff and was renamed Queenscliff in 1854.Originally a fishing village, Queenscliff soon became an important cargo port, servicing steamships trading in Port Philip. A shipping pilot service was established in 1841 to lead boats through the treacherous Rip, and its two lighthouses, the High and Low Lights, were constructed in 1862–63.Queenscliff also played an important military role. Fort Queenscliff was built between 1879 and 1889, and operated as the command centre for a network of forts around the port.
## 1880s seaside resort boom
Queenscliff became a tourist destination in the late 19th century, visitors arriving from Melbourne after a two-hour journey on the paddle steamer, Ozone.
The opening of a railway line to Geelong in 1879 brought more tourists to the area, and numerous luxury hotels (or coffee palaces) were built to accommodate them. The Palace Hotel (later renamed Esplanade Hotel, now known as the Queenscliff Brewhouse) was built in 1879, the Baillieu Hotel was built in 1881 (and later renamed Ozone Hotel), the Vue Grande Hotel in 1883, and the Queenscliff Hotel in 1887.
The advent of the car saw Queenscliff drop in popularity as a tourist destination, as tourists were no longer dependent on its role as a transport hub. The railway ceased weekly passenger services in 1950, and was closed in 1976. In 1979 the |Queenscliff Railway reopened as a Heritage Train Service, running between Queenscliff and Drysdale stations with mid-point stops at Laker's Siding and Suma Park.
The 1980s saw a return in the town's tourist popularity.In 2005, the area previously holding the Fort Barracks was subdivided into residential blocks and renamed Shortlands Beach in honour of the town's prior name. The proposed redevelopment drew fierce criticism from some sectors of the community, who feared loss of an important heritage site. The original fort remains on site.
## Heritage listed sites
Queenscliff contains several Victorian Heritage Register listed sites, including:
1 Weeroona Parade and 2 Wharf Street, Fisherman's Shed
44 Gellibrand Street, Lathamstowe
42 Gellibrand Street, Ozone Hotel
60-62 Gellibrand Street, Pilots Cottages
16 Gellibrand Street, Queenscliff Hotel
Symonds Street, Queenscliff Pier and Lifeboat Complex
20 Symonds Street, Queenscliff railway station
26 King Street, Rosenfeld
42 Mercer Street, Roseville Cottage
16-26 Hobson Street, St George the Martyr Church and Parish Hall
80 Mercer Street, Warringah
Corner Wharf Street and Gellibrand Street, Wreck Bell
# Things to do