Migrant Series Broadcast Details

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Our migrant series, Faces of Frankston (working title) will be broadcast on Channel 31, Melbourne in September this year. We are not sure of the broadcast times just yet, but are hoping for an evening spot. The 5 x 30 minute episodes focus on the diverse life stories of prominent migrants in the Frankston region. We will update the show times when as we get closer.  Each show will be edited to 25 minutes plus ads. The episodes are currently 0ne-hour long. The extended versions will be available at the the show’s website.

Greta and Lionel

An interview with the two oldest surviving members of Mt Eliza’s Ranelagh Club.

The couple moved to Mt Eliza in the early 50s after Lionel had returned from war service with Australian forces in the Pacific. Lionel served in the Philippines, Kokoda, and Japan. In this film, Lionel and Greta recall some of the highlights from the Ranelagh Club.

Upcoming First Shot Event. August 5th, 2014

Whitewater is proud to be associated with the First Shot Commemorative event.

The First Shot Committee is hosting a commemorative event at Point Nepean on August 5th, 2014, which will acknowledge the centenary of the beginning of WW1 with a reenactment of the First Shot from a Howitzer canon at the fort.

This is a major public event which will begin four years of World War 1 commemorations in Australia.

Please visit the First Shot website if you would like to register your interest in attending.

gun crew

The Point Nepean duty when the shot was fired.

From the First Shot Website:

Between 2014 and 2018, Australia will commemorate the ANZAC Centenary, marking 100 years since our nation’s involvement in World War 1. The first shot in the the British Empire was fired from Coastal Artillery Gun Emplacement No.6 at Fort Nepean, Portsea, Victoria on 5 August 1914 at 12:45pm, just 3 hours 45 minutes after war was declared in London.

The shot was fired in order to prevent the German merchant vessel SS Pfalz from escaping Port Phillip to the open seas. The shot was successful – the Pfalz surrendered.

To acknowledge the significance of this historic occasion, a special commemoration open to all Australians is to be conducted at the Parade Ground at the former Officer Cadet School within the Quarantine Station at Point Nepean National Park.

This event will be the very first of many commemorations to be held all around the world in those countries that comprised the former British Empire. The anniversary will coincide with the opening of conservation and visitor access improvements at Fort Nepean that will enhance the telling of Point Nepean’s war time heritage stories.


Mt Eliza College students to help in search for First World War shell.


Real Time Learning students from Mt Eliza Secondary College have been invited to help in the search to find the first shot fired in WW1.

Project Longshot, run by deep sea explorers Southern Ocean Exploration (SOE) and Whitewater Documentaries, hopes to find the shell that Australian forces fired at the German ship Pfalz as it tried to escape from Port Phillip Bay on the morning WW1 was declared.

This was the first Allied action of the Great War. SOE, Australia’s most successful shipwreck discovery team, has invited students to assist Whitewater Documentaries in the media campaign and with an equipment fundraising drive.

Students may be offered opportunities to participate in the on-water search with parental assistance.

Project Longshot offers students an insight into how a real media campaign is managed and will hopefully help them to develop a greater passion for maritime archaeology and Australian history.

Students will be offered local media exposure and the project will also present students with opportunities to develop networks in the public and private sectors.

Project Longshot is supported by Heritage Victoria, Parks Victoria, The Department of Veterans Affairs and by the Victorian ANZAC Centenary Committee.

VACC chairman Ted Baillieu has said the government was planning an event to commemorate the “first shot”, and finding the shell would be a coup. “The VACC has already raised for consideration the possible location and recovery effort of that first shell, if intact,” he said. “If it was possible, such a find would, of course, be of worldwide significance.”

Southern Ocean Exploration team leader Mark Ryan will be presenting a talk to Real Time Learning students at Mt Eliza Secondary College soon.

Project Long Shot campaign about to go live

This is one of our most exciting projects yet – to film the discovery of the first shot fired in World War 1

(We plan to launch the fund-raising campaign on April 10, but here is what the campaign looks like)

Few people are aware that the first shot of the Great War was fired from Point Nepean, south of Melbourne.

On August 5th 1914,  Australian forces attempted to stop the German cargo ship, the SS Pfalz, from leaving Melbourne.

War had just been declared and all German activity in the Commonwealth was now considered hostile.

Despite numerous warnings to cut her engines, Pfalz Captain Kuhiken ordered full steam ahead and a dangerous game of chicken ensued.

From Point Nepean Coastal Fort, the Australians signalled the Pfalz to stop.

When they received an order to either ‘stop her of sink her’ they fired the first shot of the Great War across the Pfalz’ bow, missing the ship by metres.

The Pfalz  eventually  surrendered to Australian forces who boarded her at 1.00pm. The German crew was interned in Melbourne for the duration of the war.

The ship itself was soon refitted as a troop carrier for the war effort and was used in the Gallipoli landings under the name HMT Boorara.

She had a busy time in the Dardanelles: transporting Australian soldiers onto the battle arena, being twice torpedoed, and housing Turkish prisoners of war. She was eventually shipwrecked off the Vancouver coast in 1926 when she was operating as a Greek trade vessel.

We hope to find the shell

Southern Ocean Exploration, Australia’s most successful shipwreck discovery team, will volunteer all of its resources to find the shell: divers, boats, fuel and insurances – but we need this equipment if we are to have any chance of finding the shell.

Whitewater Documentaries will provide a film crew to document the event, with a view to telling the fascinating story of the Pfalz in a one-hour television documentary.

The catch: the magnetometer we need will cost $130,000.

Whitewater and SOE have set up an Indiegogo fundraising campaign to enable SOE to buy the necessary equipment. SOE will be able to use this equipment to find the shell, as well as other elusive shipwrecks. Whitewater gets to film it all. So it’s all very exciting.

We will be launching the campaign in April and expect a lot of interest.

As you can imagine, this is a ‘Long Shot’, but just think  how exciting it would be to participate in the making of Australian and international history.

Most of the credit for making this project a reality goes to author Keith Quinton whose recent book, Stop the Pfalz,painstakingly and accurately recreates the Pfalz’ last moments. His information and assistance has helped SOE narrow the search grid to a practical area.

Terry Cantwell


Herald Sun, March 8, 2014.  “Hunt for first shell fired in World War 1 steps up”

Coramba: The Final Chapter

On Sunday, September 8,  divers from Southern Ocean Exploration joined relatives of the men who drowned on the TSS Coramba in December 1934 in an emotional service at the site of the Coramba shipwreck.

In December 1934, the Coramba was en-route from Warnambool to Williamstown with a cargo of condensed milk and wool, when Captain John Dowling attempted to find shelter in Westernport.

The ship was no match for the huge seas that also swamped much of the mainland between November 30 and December 2, 1934.

17 men drowned in what was one of Victoria’s worst hurricanes.

The Coramba’s sinking was a huge blow to a state already reeling from a crippling depression. Relatives received little compensation and many children grew up in poverty after losing their family breadwinner.

Shipwreck hunters and maritime archaeologists, Southern Ocean Exploration (SOE) discovered the wreck in May 2011,  after eight years of searching.

Since then many relatives of the 17 men who died on the steamer have contacted the dive team.

SOE leader team leader Mark Ryan felt that his organisation should honour the memory of the victims.

“Our job is to find shipwrecks, but we’re also very much aware that these places are gravesites, where people died in the most horrendous circumstances. Our work is becoming more and more about the relatives.” he said.

John Sullivan, grandson of Able Seaman John Loring Sullivan, attended the memorial onboard SOE’s new search vessel; recently renovated World War 2 patrol boat, Airview.

“This is a very special day for me. My father was only a boy when he lost his father. It would have been terribly difficult for him growing up. Today we placed his ashes next to his father’s resting place. Hopefully my ashes will be placed here after I’m gone” Mr Sullivan said.

SOE researcher and stonemason, Peter Taylor recently made two elegant granite boxes to hold the ashes of John Sullivan and Jack Dowling, son of Coramba Captain John Dowling.

At 12.30pm, SOE divers carefully placed the boxes in the ship’s engine room.

Des Williams, author of two books about the Coramba, represented the Dowling family.

“Over the last 30 years I have come to know the Dowling family very well.  Audrey, the captain’s daughter lives in Adelaide. She’s 91 and couldn’t make it today. Norma Dowling, Jack’s wife also couldn’t make it.” Mr Williams said.

Des Williams spoke about the 17 men who died, before placing a bouquet of flowers on the water.

“Today closes the book on the Coramba story” he said.

Terry Cantwell 


Southern Peninsula News

Mornington Peninsula News

98.7 FM radio interview

Channel 9 News, Sunday, September 22. 6.00pm

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Beleura: the house and garden (promotional video)

In this short video, Beleura House Director Anthony Knight takes us on a short walk through Beleura House and its garden.

“Beleura is an exceptional place. The Tallis Family Summer House for many decades and from 1950 John Tallis’ home, it houses an amazing collection of items.

When John Tallis died in 1996 he left his house Beleura at Mornington to the people of Victoria, requesting it become a house museum.

In November 2004 his dream was realised and Beleura is now open to the public in the way he wished, by appointment and with visitors being welcomed as guests.

Guided tours are available for individuals and groups on selected days throughout the year.” From: http://www.beleura.org.au


Camera: Mark Street. Editing and Sound: David Muir.