Sandringham, a bayside residential suburb, is 16 km. south-south-east of Melbourne and 4 km. south of Brighton. The area was first known as Gipsy Village, from a fishing community which occupied the coast line around Pic-Nic Point, out of sight of Brighton. In 1852 a land speculator, Josiah Holloway, attempted to sell off allotments, naming the “estate” Gipsy Village. (The proposal was ahead of its time, as the railway line did not reach Brighton until 1861 let along the extension to Sandringham in 1887.) In 1855 a school opened in the Anglican church.

In 1881 Gipsy Village had a census population of 183 persons, and in the following year rumours of a railway extension provoked a more successful land sale at the Pic-Nic Point area. A new Anglican church, All Souls, was opened. In 1885 the Victorian Municipal Directory described the area as –

Pic-Nic Point shortly became part of Hampton and Gipsy Village became Sandringham in 1888, the year after the railway extension. The name was inspired by landowner and local parliamentarian, Charles H. Jones, who was in turn inspired by the Prince of Wales’ Sandringham House. In 1889 the Sandringham House hotel with 80 rooms was opened. Past it ran a horse-tram service, connecting Beaumaris to Sandringham.

Sandringham was part of the Moorabbin shire, and the west riding which comprised the bayside townships of Hampton and Beaumaris agitated for separation in the early 1900s. The foremost proponent was councillor Elisha De Garis, Mildura irrigationist and father of the more famous Clement De Garis who pioneered the dried fruits industry and the Sunraysia Daily newspaper. Both are buried in the Brighton Cemetery.

Municipal severance came on 28 February, 1917, with the creation of Sandringham borough, with an estimated population of 8,175 in 1918. It became a town on 9 April, 1919, and a city on 21 March, 1923. The Sandringham township was described in 1916 in the Victorian Municipal Directory as –

Population growth of the municipality was rapid during the 1920s and 1930s, by when all of the townships were substantial, apart from Beaumaris. Sandringham township had a picture theatre, lodges, private hospitals and sporting facilities. The best of those was the Royal Melbourne Golf Club, transferred to Sandringham from Malvern in 1932. The Sandringham East primary school was opened in 1931. In 1949 The Australian Blue Book described the Sandringham municipality as

Sandringham technical school was opened in 1949. It later became a senior secondary college campus.

The Sandringham township is centred on the railway station and Picnic Point. The Point has a large reserve with an oval, croquet green and sporting club’s rooms. Seawards is the Sandringham Yacht Club, a boat harbour and a breakwater which contains a submarine wreck. A beach leads on to a foreshore reserve which runs to Brighton. The compact shopping centre is next to the railway station.

When the Royal Melbourne Golf Club enlarged its greens in 1932 it disposed of its westerly property as the Golf Links Estate. Subsequently part of the Estate became the site of the Sandringham Council’s civic offices, a large reserve and the memorial hospital.

John Hetherington’s autobiography The Morning Was Shining has his childhood set in Sandringham.

In 1987 the median price for a house in the Sandringham municipality was 67% higher than the median for metropolitan Melbourne, and in 1996 it was 96% higher than the metropolitan median.

On 15 December, 1994, Sandringham city was united with Brighton city and parts of Moorabbin and Mordialloc cities to form Bayside city.

Sandringham’s census populations have been 183 (1881), 2,642 (1911) and the municipality’s census populations were 11,316 (1921), 26,435 (1947), 37,701 (1961) and 30,319 (1991).

Further Reading:

Disney, Graeme and Tarrant, Valerie, “Bayside Reflections”, City of Sandringham, 1988.

Sheehy, Thomas, “Sandringham, A Sketchbook History”, c.1974.

Waters, Elizabeth, “Sandringham Sketchbook”, Rigby, 1978.

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