Black Rock, in Melbourne’s bayside east, was named after Charles Hoston Edben’s Black Rock house which, in turn, was named from Black Rock, Dublin.(1)

Edben’s house was built in 1856 and still stands today, and is open for visitors. Before European settlement the bayside area was inhabited by the Bunurong (Boon wurrung) people. It wasn’t until 1845 that WT Moysey obtained a government lease on five square miles of land, which he called Beaumaris.(2)

The seaside area became a ‘getaway’ destination from Melbourne and day trips became popular in 1887 when the train line was extended from Brighton to Sandringham. To accommodate these tourists or ‘weekenders’, this 1933 souvenir pamphlet advises that all shops will remain open until 9pm on Saturday evenings (except for the butcher, which closes at 1pm.) The Library hold many resources on Black Rock, including wonderful images of the foreshore and bathers.

 Bathers posing in the shallows at Black Rock in 1925.

[At Black Rock, Vic.], H2010.18/62


A flyer advertising the sale of 40 seaside lots in the mid 1880s in Black Rock.

 Black Rock

Hammond BlackRock2

Half Moon Bay, Black Rock; taken from Illustrated Diary no. 6 by Charlie Hammond (p 14)

Written by Paul Dee,
Librarian, Australian History and Literature

This article has 6 comments

  1. Bronwen Scott-Branagan

    When I was a child (a long time ago) there were two spinsters who lived in Black Rock House and I seem to remember that they were the Misses Cullinane. There was a tunnel from the house to a cave on the beach; it was an escape route originally, in case of invasion by aboriginal people. I was forbidden by my parents to go into the cave as it had once caved in and I think a couple of boys had been killed there. I have not found any mention of this in the literature and am wondering if anyone else knows about this, as I would like to know more.

    • Thanks for your comment Bronwen. I’ll pass this onto our Ask-A-Librarian service and someone will be back in touch

    • As would I! I would be interested in finding out more information about the cellar under Black Rock house and where the tunnel started and ended.

  2. You are correct about the tunnel. as a child I often crawled up that tunnel to Black Rock house. The tunnel was accessed through the low water line.
    I recall Ebden avenue the street it is located on having tram lines down the centre as well

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