Waratah & the Ten Mile
Waratah Bay is one of those rugged, rocky stretches of coast that fascinate adventurous children and beachcombers. Tall cliffs scattered with she-oak and messmate, gouged into deep gullies by numerous creeks, overlook the sand and the sea.
The Post Office opened on 10 August 1885 and was known as Waratah Bay until 1892. It closed in 1972.
Its heyday was the early quarter of the 20th century, where commercial quantities of lime were bagged and exported to the booming capital city. Lime obtained from the site is said to have been used in the building of Melbourne’s iconic Flinders Street Station. Raw material was mined from the surrounding limestone cliffs, loaded into horse-drawn trams and hauled along above the high-tide line to be burned in one of six kilns. Much of the surrounding countryside was depleted from a combination of mining and timber-harvesting to fuel the kilns. Burned lime was bagged, then stacked in sheds. Lime was transported to Melbourne aboard a series of ships that stopped at the 300-metre jetty nearby. Operations continued until 1926, when shipping expenses made the product unprofitable.
Even at its peak, the township was home to only eighty people, mostly workers at the six lime kilns.
In 2005, all that remains of the limeburning operations is the stonework from ruined buildings and several of the limeburning kilns along with one wooden pile from the once imposing jetty at Walkerville South as well as Digger Island.
For those of you that would like to read further on the fascinating history of Walkerville there is a great book available by Mabel Sharrock – available here: Recollections of Waratah and the Ten Mile