I’m a Woolley. Well, I was until I married and opted to change my name. My family has strong roots in Crib Point, particularly in the vicinity of the jetty.
My great, great grandfather Ashton Woolley selected 400 acres at Crib Point in 1875 and built the Woolley Homestead at 50 Disney St, Crib Point.
Facing the Westernport Bay, his son and my great grandfather, William (Bill) built his weatherboard home on land he had purchased from his father in 1929. His house was situated just south of the Woolley family home on the point.
Pictured are Bill and Jane Woolley, my great grandparents.
British Petroleum (BP) built a refinery at Crib Point and pressured Bill Woolley to sell. Bill refused to sell his property to BP, and so the Western Point Refinery was built around his house. Bill remained in his home in the care of my great Aunty Marg, until he died around 1968.
I have so many childhood memories of visiting my great aunty Marj at her home and being chased by her sheep. Well known in the area, Marj Baxter (nee Woolley) lived in the family homestead until she could no longer manage the maintenance. She felt isolated and vulnerable as an old woman living alone in quite a remote area of Crib Point. Our beautiful family homestead on the Esplanade, overlooking Westernport Bay was sold to the BP Refinery and the homesteads that Bill and his father Ashton had built were demolished by BP. All that is remaining is a vacant block used by motorbike riders.
Bill Woolley built a jetty, of which only the stumps remain, and an extant cool room on the foreshore in 1903, where he stored his catch before it was transported to Melbourne for sale.
Bill Woolley’s Cool Room is surrounded by a security fence. A sign is attached to the fence that says ‘This cement cool room was built by Mr Bill Woolley in the year 1903 to store his fish on weekends. Blocks of ice were packed in there with the fish awaiting transport to Melbourne by train on Monday mornings.”
I now have a family of my own and together, we enjoy spending time at Woolley’s Beach. Taking in the tranquillity and appreciating the natural environment of indigenous vegetation.
There has already been so much irreversible damage to this area due to industrialisation. My family and I are passionate about preserving our natural environment and protecting it from being destroyed as an outcome of short-sighted greed.