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Mount Martha, Victoria

Coordinates: 38°16′01″S 145°01′05″E / 38.267°S 145.018°E / -38.267; 145.018
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Mount Martha
Esplanade road into Mount Martha
Mount Martha is located in Melbourne
Mount Martha
Mount Martha
Coordinates38°16′01″S 145°01′05″E / 38.267°S 145.018°E / -38.267; 145.018
Population19,846 (2021 census)[1]
 • Density1,154/km2 (2,988/sq mi)
Area17.2 km2 (6.6 sq mi)
LGA(s)Shire of Mornington Peninsula
State electorate(s)
Federal division(s)Flinders
Suburbs around Mount Martha:
Port Phillip Mornington Moorooduc
Port Phillip Mount Martha Tuerong
Port Phillip Safety Beach Dromana
Mount Martha Beach
Mount Martha Beach

Mount Martha is a suburb on the Mornington Peninsula in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 50 kilometres (31 mi) south-east of Melbourne's Central Business District, located within the Shire of Mornington Peninsula local government area. Mount Martha recorded a population of 19,746 at the 2021 census.[1]

Mount Martha is located on the southeastern shores of Port Phillip and offers a bathing beach. A boardwalk winds its way for more than 5 kilometres (3 mi) along the Balcombe Creek, its North beach mouth to the Briars Historic Park. The suburb's highest point bears the area's name and reaches 160 metres (520 ft). The peak was named in 1836 after Captain William Hobson's mother, Martha Jones.[2]

It marks the start of the Selwyn fault, a geological formation that runs to the eastern Dandenong Ranges.


Mount Martha has its roots dating back to the 1840s when the township's major role was that of farming. The Briars Homestead in the town's east was constructed from 1848 to 1851 and was used by Alexander Balcombe until 1876 as he farmed the land surrounding it and tended to 100 acres (0.40 km2) of vineyards. The homestead was named after the lodging of the same name in Saint Helena.[3] Dame Mabel Brookes collected Napoleonic memorabilia which was also donated to the Mornington Peninsula shire; some is on display at the house.[4][5]

In 1890, the Martha Hotel, designed by architects Tappin, Gilbert and Dennehy was constructed in a Federation Queen Anne style. Today, the building now known as Mt. Martha House serves as a community centre and is Victorian Heritage listed. As the population grew, the Mount Martha Post Office opened around 1902.[6]

During the Second World War, Mount Martha's Balcombe Creek camp hosted the United States Marine Corps's 1st Marine Division in late 1942 following their involvement in the Battle of Guadalcanal.[7] After the conclusion of the war, it was progressively relocated or demolished until 1999. The area is now known as Balcombe Estuary and has barbecue facilities (including an open fireplace) as well as a children's play area in the west, and residential allocations were made in the east. Also during the Second World War, Mount Martha House had extensive use by the military and functioned as a Women's Royal Australian Army Corps (WRAAC) barracks up until 1978.

In 1978, a water treatment plant was constructed in the town's east. It services the nearby suburbs of Mornington, Mount Eliza, Mount Martha, Somerville, Pearcedale and Baxter, and provides treated water to local vineyards, a tree plantation and lawns.

View Looking South towards Mount Martha Beach

Present day[edit]

More recently from the 1990s to the present the Mount Martha area has experienced significant population growth, particularly in the south with the Martha Cove marina development as well as east towards the Moorooduc Highway. This has led to the area being incredibly crowded in Summer, with little or no areas to park.

Mount Martha is home to a volunteer CFA fire brigade responding on average to 180 calls a year for assistance from the community. Incidents range from grass and scrub fires and motor vehicle accidents to house fires.

Martha Cove, a large inland harbour and residential development in Safety Beach, was named after its location in the cove at the foot of Mount Martha. The project, which began in 2004, was initially heavily protested by residents. After experiencing considerable financial difficulties, Martha Cove recovered and became a thriving residential community.[8][9][10]


Peninsula Link and the Mornington Peninsula Freeway are both major arterial routes to both Mount Martha and the Mornington Peninsula, from Melbourne (via the EastLink tollway).


Mount Martha volunteer Surf Lifesaving Club holds the popular annual Mount Martha Australia Day Swim, the "MMAD Swim". Golfers play at the course of the Mount Martha Golf Club on Forest Drive.[11] Mount Martha is also home to public tennis courts, four football ovals and numerous grass reserves.

Mornington Peninsula Pony Club provides dressage, show jumping and cross-country facilities for young equestrian enthusiasts. The club is affiliated with the Pony Club Association of Victoria.

Notable people[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Australian Bureau of Statistics (28 June 2022). "Mount Martha (Suburbs and Localities)". 2021 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 12 July 2022. Edit this at Wikidata
  2. ^ "Victorian Historical Journal" (PDF). Retrieved 19 March 2020.
  3. ^ Thomson, Kathleen. "Balcombe, Alexander Beatson (1811–1877)". 'Balcombe, Alexander Beatson (1811–1877)' in Australian Dictionary of Biography. Canberra: National Centre of Biography, Australian National University.
  4. ^ I. Hackett (2006) Balcombe Family and "The Briars"Park, Mt Martha, Victoria tourist pamphlet published by Mornington Peninsula Shire.
  5. ^ "About The Briars". Retrieved 25 September 2017.
  6. ^ Phoenix Auctions History, Post Office List, retrieved 14 March 2021
  7. ^ Bissett, Mark (22 January 2015). "Race Around The Barracks: Balcombe Army Camp: Davison "Little Alfa"". primotipo.com. Retrieved 24 April 2016.
  8. ^ Allen, Elizabeth. "Stormclouds over Martha Cove - Business - News - Mornington Peninsula Leader". Mornington-peninsula-leader.whereilive.com.au. Archived from the original on 1 March 2012. Retrieved 17 October 2012.
  9. ^ Tatman, Christian. "Martha Cove investors feel the heat - Business - News - Mornington Peninsula Leader". Mornington-peninsula-leader.whereilive.com.au. Archived from the original on 20 July 2012. Retrieved 17 October 2012.
  10. ^ "Hidden Harbour Marina". Core Projects. 2014. Retrieved 22 October 2015. After much dedication, we converted Martha Cove from a floundering project into a raging success.
  11. ^ Golf Select, Mount Martha, retrieved 11 May 2009
  12. ^ "Lovin' Life on the Peninsula by Andrea Kellett and Liz Rogers". Mornington Peninsula Magazine. Retrieved 22 January 2019.
  13. ^ "George Calombaris's restaurant group CEO lists in Mt Martha - realestate.com.au". realestate.com.au. Retrieved 22 January 2019.
  14. ^ Landy, Samantha (28 November 2018). "Sports broadcaster Drew Morphett's Mt Martha beach house for sale". News.com.au. Retrieved 23 January 2019.

External links[edit]