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Mt Eliza Boathouse

September 27, 2011

The swimming pontoon at Ranelagh Beach has long gone but the ambience of the Italian Rivera remained. Appearing in the 20’s and 30’s these colourful Port Philip Bay boathouses were amongst the first in Australia. Based on the English model – quaint little mini houses that sat on the edge of the sand – they were used as changing rooms and shady havens for swimmers and sunbathers.

Gulls screeched overhead, children dug in the sand and waded at the waters edge.

We had the boathouse for well over 20 years – it was a wonderful way to spend lazy summer days on a secluded beach with our own private dining room for long lingering lunches, beautiful sunsets and candlelit dinners with close friends. The lapping of the waves soothed away all the stresses of the city – and no beach house maintenance.

At dusk we lit the candles, wound up the phonograph, and tangoed to ‘La Cucaracha’ and then settled back for a delicious alfresco dinner. An old 40’s plywood surfboard painted a deep sea green was creatively recycled to become a feature dining table for 10 with teal and burnt orange deckchairs adding the final touch.

Our 1930s colourful Mt Eliza boathouse was beautifully positioned on a pristine sandy beach shared with the exclusive Ranelagh Club. The fully lined inner walls were a vibrant sunny yellow covered in hats and we hung wooden dagger boards, flotsam from the sea, sculpture on the wall and polished the timber floors. A delicious fond memory of the past.

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