Somerville is a township and coastal rural locality in Victoria. 53 km southeast from Melbourne’s central business district, it is a part of the urban enclave on Western Port comprising Somerville, Hastings, Bittern, Crib Point, and Tyabb. The population of Somerville was 11,336 in 2016. The size of Somerville is approximately 38 km².
Originally an orchard town, Somerville has experienced significant population growth over the last twenty years. The town was known during the early 1900s up until WW2 for the fruit which was produced in its orchards. A harvest festival was held once a year and special trains ran from Flinders Street Station to the town during the festival.
The township was once located on Lower Somerville Road, with several original buildings still there today. Somerville Post Office opened there on 21 November 1870 and closed in 1893.
The railway came to Somerville in September 1889. The station was a mile or so from Lower Somerville Road and the town centre moved from there to its current site during the 1890s. Somerville Railway Station Post Office opened on 15 August 1890 and was renamed Somerville in 1907. In August 2009 two teenagers burnt down the original station.
The Somerville Hotel was built in the early 1900s as well as a Mechanics’ Hall which formed part of the Station Street shopping strip. The north side of the Station Street lining the railway had historical buildings which were burnt down in 1987 in an act of vandalism.
The Somerville war memorial was unveiled on November 4, 1923 at the intersection of Frankston Flinders Road and Eramosa Road. With the increasing population and traffic, the memorial was moved from this busy intersection to Clarinda Street in 1966. In April 2015 the memorial was moved from Clarinda Street to the Fruit growers Reserve. The cenotaph was restored with markers surrounding it telling the residents the history of the area. Trees were also planted surrounding the memorial, remembering the lost soldiers.
An avenue of honour was originally located on Eramosa Road East where the road was lined with plane trees in 1917. Each tree represented a resident from Somerville who fought in WW1. These trees were removed by the local Shire and footpaths laid in their place in the 1970s. In early 2013 a new avenue of honour of ornamental pear trees was planted along Station Street.
The Somerville Fruitgrowers Reserve once held annual festivals every year to celebrate the local fruit growers in the area. Following World War 2 the people of the area donated a period cannon to the community reserve. In recent years the local Shire sold this cannon for scrap.
The Mechanics’ Hall is a popular venue for local bands to play and do small school plays. On January 7, 2015 a massive storm ravaged Somerville and neighbouring town Tyabb ripping off the roof of the hall. The roof was restored in the following week.
A clay quarry is owned and operated by The Bayport Group on 9 Pottery Road Somerville, digging to a depth of 30 metres over 60 acres. This was the original site of Peninsula Pottery which operated from 1901 to 1991, making bricks for some of the historical buildings in Somerville including St. Andrews Anglican Church, and the Somerville Hotel in 1901, but all historical kilns and the chimney were knocked down and removed in 2004.
Inghams has a large factory north of Somerville that employs a large number of the town’s population.
The median house price in Somerville is $627,500.
The Somerville Police Complex opened in 2016, located on the corner of Coolart Road and Eramosa Road West.
Fresh brewed coffee is a must have for weekends away and the Mornington Peninsula is second to none with great coffee haunts around the towns. Here are a few to check out when you head down to this beautiful part of the world.
Ducky Brown Café
17 Eramosa Road West
With fabulous coffee and a great selection of hot and cold food, Ducky Brown Café has a relaxed vibe and plenty of tables.
Family Retreat Mini Play Café
18/49 Eramosa Rd West
A perfect mums’ getaway, this café is set up for mums to relax with a good coffee while the children play amongst the toys.
Miss Moose Tuck Shop
1/25 Grant Road
A great place to have breakfast and a coffee in a casual, trendy setting.
3/80 Station Street
Great atmosphere with indoor and outdoor seating. Enjoy a coffee and dessert or a casual meal.
What to do
There are plenty of places to eat from kid friendly venues like the Family Retreat Café and the renovated Somerville Hotel, to international cuisine with Indian, Thai and Chinese restaurants all within a few kilometres of each other.
Enjoy horse riding at the Willow Lodge Riding Ranch. Pay a visit to the recently re opened Somerville recreation centre.
As for shopping, there’s plenty to satisfy the shopaholic with two main shopping centres, Somerville Plaza and Centro Somerville, as well as delightful specialty shops with arts and crafts and