Upset over demolition plans

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Sandarne in the 1980s. It had been modified by removing fret work from the veranda. It was later replaced.

THE proposed demolition of what is described as “a rare example of an early 1900s timber cottage” in Sorrento’s main street has upset members of Nepean Historical Society.

Ratio Consultants has applied to Mornington Peninsula Shire Council for a permit to develop a three-storey building with 16 dwellings and two shops at 141-145 Ocean Beach Rd.

If approved, the development will involve the demolition of Sandarne, which was built about 1915 as the home of Swedish immigrant seaman and fisherman Albert Backius. He is said to have designed it and named it after his home town in Sweden.

Albert Backius in his boat Starlight. Picture: Nepean Historical Society

Historical society president Joy Kitch said Mr Backius built boats in a shed behind the house, including one for early Sorrento businessman George Coppin’s daughter Lucy and, notably, his own motor launch, Starlight, which he used for fishing and pleasure trips for residents and visitors to Sorrento a century ago.

“Sandarne and the Backius family are linked to Sorrento’s Croad family, as Albert’s daughter Thelma Backius married the son of William Joseph Croad, well known in the area for building fine limestone houses,” she said.

“Sandarne is a place of high heritage significance for Sorrento.”

Ms Kitch said the house’s heritage had been acknowledged by the shire with a plaque in the main street at the corner of Darling Rd.

The society’s researcher Bergliot Dallas and archivist Janet South used the archives at the Sorrento Museum to compile evidence of the house’s heritage value.

First published in the Southern Peninsula News – 15 August 2017

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