Points of Interest Category: Town Centre & Info
Longitude: 144.950845 Latitude: -38.353562
Metres above Sea Level: 309.5 m
Area: 8.78 km² Perimeter: 13.9 km
View Arthurs Seat’s Statistics & Demographics
H.M. Survey Vessel ‘Lady Nelson’, under the command of Lieutenant Murray, was the first to enter Port Phillip Bay, at which time he named Arthurs Seat:
” . . . Monday, February 15th. P.M. Working up, the port with a very strong ebb against us, we however gained ground. The southern shore of this noble harbour is bold high land in general and not clothed as all the land at Western Point is with thick brush but with stout trees of various kinds and in some places falls nothing short, in beauty and appearance, of Greenwich Park. Away to the eastward at the distance of 20 miles the land is mountainous, in particular there is one very high mountain which in the meantime I named Arthur’s Seat from its resemblance to a mountain of that name a few miles from Edinburgh . . . “
Source: Excerpts – “The Logbooks of the Lady Nelson” – by Ida Lee – Chapter 6 – published 1915
Just 10 weeks later, unbenownst to either explorer, Matthew Flinders would arrive in Port Phillip. Excited about his new discovery, he decided to clamber up Arthurs Seat to get a ‘birds-eye’ view . . .
27th April 1802:
” . . . The Bluff Mount (named Arthur’s Seat by Mr. Murray, from a supposed resemblance to the hill of that name near Edinburgh) bore S. 76° E.; but from thence the shore trended northward so far that the land at the head of the port could not be seen even from aloft. Before proceeding any higher with the ship I wished to gain some knowledge of the form and extent of this great piece of water; and Arthur’s Seat being more than a thousand feet high and near the water-side, presented a favourable station for that purpose.
After breakfast I went away in a boat, accompanied by Mr. Brown and some other gentlemen, for the Seat. It was seven or eight miles from the ship; and in steering nearly a straight course for it we passed over the northern skirt of the shoal where the ship had touched; but afterwards had from 7 to 5 fathoms nearly to the shore. Having observed the latitude there from an artificial horizon, I ascended the hill; and to my surprise found the port so extensive, that even at this elevation its boundary to the northward could not be distinguished. The western shore extended from the entrance ten or eleven miles in a northern direction to the extremity of what, from its appearance, I called Indented Head; beyond it was a wide branch of the port leading to the westward, and I suspected might have a communication with the sea; for it was almost incredible that such a vast piece of water should not have a larger outlet than that through which we had come . . . “
Source: Excerpt – “A Voyage to Terra Australis” – Volume I – by Matthew Flinders – Chapter 9 – published 1814
Today, thousands of visitors ‘clamber’ up this 309 m summit to experience the immense views – either via the walking trial or by motor vehicle. The beautiful and expansive park areas of Arthurs Seat State Park provide so many opportunities for locals and visitors alike to enjoy the great outdoors – whether picnicking, relaxing, sightseeing, strolling, hiking, cycling, or driving – it is a must. A short, but beautiful walk from the main lookout at the summit, will delight in the most amazing panorama to be had from the stone viewing platform and cairn, marking the exact spot from which Matthew Flinders took many of his bearings. On those hot Summer days, the summit area is a few degrees cooler, offering some welcome relief from the heat of the beaches below.
The following extract of an article describing Arthurs Seat back in 1927, still rings true today:
” . . . The chain of hills which runs around the eastern side of Port Phillip Bay from Frankston reaches its highest point in Arthur’s Seat, at the back of Dromana. There the range quickly falls away into the low, sandy country which stretches toward Sorrento. From a distance the peak, with its steep slopes and wooded crest, makes a beautiful view . . . “
” . . . when, pausing for a breath, he looks down on the varied world below him. There is the little town, and, stretching away from it, open country dotted with farms and timbered paddocks, intersected by roads and valleys, and edged by the blue bay with gleaming yellow sand. When one has reached the crest, which is about a thousand feet above sea level, given a clear day, there is one of the finest panoramic views to be seen anywhere in the State. In the west are the Otway Ranges against the sky ; across the bay the You-Yangs rise up like purple pyramids ; to the north is Macedon ; and toward the east are the Dandenongs, and, towering behind them, the Warburton and Healesville ranges. Turning to the right-about, one may see Westernport, partly surrounded by forest, and beyond Phillip Island the waters of Bass Straits glimmer away to the skyline . . . “
Source: Excerpts – ‘Argus’ – Article “Arthur’s Seat. Beauty & History.” by J.B. – published 12th November 1927
Though the towns encroaching the base and surrounds of Arthurs Seat have grown tremendously over the past few decades, Arthurs Seat itself, remains a relatively small suburb, offering locals and visitors alike a myriad of tourist attractions, a mountain environment, so many things to do – whilst all the while, being only a few metres away from the beautiful beaches that line the shores of Port Phillip Bay . . .
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