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A Visit to Ocean Grove

Oakleigh Leader and District Record Sat 26th Nov 1887 p4

Ocean Grove is the name of a charmingly situated new settlement, lying between Connewarre lake on one side, and Queenscliff away to the left on the other. The lands are ample, and the views of ocean, Connewarre lakes, and shipping was simply magnificent. The settlement is starting to meet a long felt want, that is, where recreation and religious exercises may be obtained without being near the undesirable influences and surroundings of the liquor traffic; the settlement being founded on strictly temperance principles. The property has been secured by a Methodist Syndicate, and already a considerable part of the estate has been judiciously surveyed and is now open for sale at very moderate prices. The Hon. C. H. James, ever in the front to promote any good work, has, we believe, rendered very valuable assistance in bringing things to their present satisfactory position. To " Spy out the land," and ascertain its suitability for the purposes intended, a number of ministers and laymen set out on a visit to the spot on Saturday last. Arrived at Geelong, a Cobb and Co.'s Coach, with a spanking team of four horses under the guidance of an experienced driver, was soon in readiness. After a good luncheon had been partaken of, a start was made; among those getting on board were the Revs. S. Ironsides, J. C. Symons, H. Bath, C. Lancaster, Thomas Copeland, J. T.Kearns, H. Richardson, T. Grove, W. Burridge, and S. Serpell and Messrs. Hitchcock J. Pepperell, H. Heath, Thacker and others. The day, though threatening at first turned out fine, albeit the wind was cold and strong. The first stoppage occurred where the Queenscliff railway intersects the Moolap road. Here, four minutes precious minutes Mr Hitchcock remarked were wasted through the gatekeeper closing the gates when the train was at least, two miles off, and crawling along at a very slow rate. Whilst some were surveying the country being traversed, others entered into animated discussion in friendly mood on various topics. In this way about nine miles were covered, when, as the team was rattling along at a good pace on level ground with a large mob of cattle in the road some distance in front, suddenly, with-out the slightest intimation, the front near axle snapped asunder, the coach was thrown over, its outside occupants scattered in all directions, and those inside struggling to escape, not knowing if the horses were still attached, or if anyone outside was killed. In the meantime the horses rushed away like mad, taking with them the pole, fore carriage, and one wheel right into the mob of astonished cattle. The Rev. Mr Ironsides, who is well up in years and not of light build, was much shaken, and with the exception of a moan or two bore his suffering quietly. The Rev.J. C. Symonds' foot was caught under and held firmly by a guard iron, but happily the foot was not seriously injured. The whole of the outside passengers received a bad shaking and may not know the extent of their injuries for some time. On examination it became manifest that the axle which broke had an old fracture extending fully a third through. After the Rev. S. Ironsides was sent home under the care of the Rev.C. Lancaster, the rest of the party, in various and such vehicles as could be obtained again started for Ocean Grove, which was reached in safety, and found to be all the most sanguine had pictured. The return journey was safety negotiated, and amid many expressions of thankfulness, " that things were no worse," the excursionists made for their several houses, and are not likely soon to forget the main incident of a strangely eventful day.