CAMPBELLS COVE BEACHSIDE WALK
This map is done in the style of a ribbon map, a style used to illustrate linear features such as coastlines, rivers and roads. Early versions were done on actual ribbons and uncurled as you as you proceeded down the route. Wandering through the old time beach settlements of Campbells Cove and Baileys Beach with their quirky beach shacks, painted in their unique styles. are nestled between the local market gardens and the beach is a reminder of times gone by.
Campbells Cove is a throwback to earlier times when communities like this, of quirky, ad hoc buildings could be found all along the coast. Over time, these fibro/weatherboard beach shacks were removed and very few of them remain. But luckily this one did, and today it is treasured as a time warp of simpler times.
The cabins are weather-beaten and basic, but they exude the carefree air of laid back beach holidays of the past. They recall memories of cooking fish on beach bonfires, dragging the tinny out from under the shack to the edge of the water. Comparing the days catch, and as always kids getting in the way. Today, there are about 150 small shacks, divided between two sections. They are numbered and packed closely together and are about 3 meters wide. Over the years they have been modified and extended, with windows and verandas built on the front, and water storage tanks and solar panels added more recently. Definitely no architects required. Their paintwork is highly distinctive, if not positively idiosyncratic. While these buildings are normally described as boat houses, they do have a look of the holiday house. Some have boat ramps, and others have boats tied up at the front of the houses, together with the remains of boating pleasures and fishing empires of the past. In their Mad Max kind of way, they are a photographer’s dream.
The first of these fishing shacks was built at Bailey’s Beach in the late 1920s. They were extended northwards to Campbell’s Cove in the 1940's and 50's. The area is named after a Freddie Campbell who lived in one of the early shacks on Bill Baileys land and had a role as a caretaker.
Campbells Cove Beach is to the north and is the larger development. The shacks are set back from the beach, with a grassed areas extending forwards to the beach. It begins at the fenced southern boundary of Point Cook RAAF base and extends south for 1.2 km to Cunningham Road and the basalt outcrops.
Baileys Beach runs south of Cunningham’s Road and extends for another 700 m to a seawall reinforced point. There are about a dozen closely spaced houses here, which have a more solid feel. A number are set into the cliff face and can appear almost level with the upper ground. They are set closer to the beach and appear more like boat houses, with wide and high double doorways on the beach side, and concrete boat ramps with foundations of stone boulders, and some have small jetties. It’s no accident that these dwellings are described as fishing shacks, as clearly, it’s a great location for throwing a line. I’m told that squid, snapper, whiting, snook & gummy sharks can be caught, and a great spot for drifting for flathead. Also look out for the banjo sharks and rays.
There are no facilities here, but what you get is peacefulness and beautiful views and it’s a wonderful place for walking and beach combing. You can swim at high tide, and of course it’s a great spot for some fishing. The beaches are fronted by shallow, 100 to 200 m wide sand and rock flats. In places where the beach has eroded, basalt boulders and seawalls are used as replacements.