Castle Rock, Cape Schanck, Victoria1865

by Nicholas Chevalier

Castle Rock sits off Cape Schanck at the southernmost tip of the Mornington Peninsula, separating the wild ocean waters of Bass Strait from the calmer waters of Western Port. The Cape was named in 1800 — by Lieutenant James Grant sailing on the Lady Nelson — for Captain John Schank but has always been misspelled as ‘Schanck’. For over 200 years, this rugged coastline has inspired works by leading Australian artists.

Traveller and sketcher Nicholas Chevalier painted the fantastically carved shapes of the rocks at Cape Schanck but chose not to include any hints of human habitation. However, by the 1860s this remote part of the Victorian coast was already a tourist attraction for Melburnians.