The following is an excerpt from the book entitled:“Morradoo about Nothing” A history of Bittern and Crib Point Neighbours in Destiny. by Arthur Woodley and Bruce Bennett
“From the 1860’s farmers, orchardists and fishermen, sometimes all three in one man, were clearing land, establishing farms and making a living for their families as settlers in the newly opened district. The Bittern Parish was a quiet rural area with sparse population, no towns and the only business was a blacksmith, until the late 1880’s.
All this was to change with the arrival of the railways. Partly for defence and partly to assist the development of the area which had long been thought would become a major port. The first subdivision of land for house blocks took place in anticipation of the railway’s arrival. and was call the “Portsmouth Estate”.
There was a rush to buy land in the area. The original settlers grew older and more prosperous, and a new generation was growing up in the district. Demand for greater services increased. Churches, schools, stores, improved carriage of passengers, mail and goods, and better roads were required. There was also a great desire for more social interactions and sport and recreational activities. The change was to be expected as the community developed strongly.
The histories of Bittern and Crib Point are inextricably linked. Mostly the older established families were well off to be land owners, and those amongst the larger land holders had significant influence upon the affairs of the distribute, often serving as Shire Councillors. The histories here of some of the leading settlers illustrate the diversity of backgrounds and the improvement in the district, for which they were collectively responsible.
The next big event, which changed the area forever, was the arrival of Flinders Naval Depot. With the prospect of a huge Navy Base and a massive city adjacent to it, there were big land sales held with a dozen subdivisions being created. Construction of the Base began in 1912 and it was opened in 1920 as HMAS Cerberus, but downgraded to a Naval Depot.
Many of the less affluent worked for the railways, the Shire (especially on roadworks), Cerberus (both during its constructions and after as ground staff, cleaners, in canteen and laundry) or as seasonal works, but pay was only subsistence, and most were not long term residents, but transient. Those who had farms might also do this work but they were able to get ahead.
Many Cerberus Navy personnel, serving and retired, lived at Crib Point and Bittern either during or after their service. From the 1920s there were weekenders, and retirees living locally and in the 1950s some came from the Somers migrant camp.
The third major change that took place was the arrival of industry, BP established a refinery at Crib Point and others followed. There was a tide of enthusiasm, with many large and varied proposals for development. There were some sharp deals done and allegation of corruption leading to a backlash and a slowing of development with local concerns over loss of amenity.
Conservation then became an issue in the 1970s and industry became linked with pollution. The bay and foreshore’s worth as a conservation biosphere was recognized.
The peaceful district has continued to be favoured as a varied environment combining rural land and natural bush with a lovely coast and bay for recreation, a conservation area with outstanding range of marine and avian species and flora, and two small villages, all close to the big city but without the hubbub of the Port Phillip side of the Peninsula.”
Within the area of Crib Point and Bittern there is a section where all the streets are named after Victoria Cross winners. A memorial has been constructed in the centre of Crib Point.