Kananook Creek Walking Trail
Point of Difference
Starting near the Frankston Yacht Club site, follow Kananook Creek along the 7.5km walking trail, through urban Frankston and Long Island, into the peace and serenity of rural Seaford and Carrum. Trains at Seaford or Carrum can return you to Frankston.
Rising in the Carrum Swamp and some 12 kilometres long, Kananook Creek has for millennia been an integral feature of the Frankston region. The Boonerwrung people knew it as a reliable source of water and fish, and, when the annual spawning of eels occurred, would meet on the hills overlooking its banks, conducting trade and holding ceremonies. First explored by Europeans from the schooner Cumberland in 1803, the creek was also known as the Tangenong or Carronyulk before the name Kananook was settled on (there are conflicting theories as to the meaning of this name).
This site where the Kananook meets the bay has altered dramatically over the years. Originally, it doubled back on itself for some distance before joining the salt water, but as can be seen in James A. Turner’s painting, a calm-water refuge had already been engineered by 1888 to allow safe refuge for fishing boats. Peter Ingram Cox’s view of the creek’s mouth features a bridge the stood for many years in the mid-20th century. The inclusion by both artists of the many boats is also an important historical point, for boat building was an important local industry for many years.
The first suspension bridge over the creek was built in 1875 by Mark Young, host of the Pier Hotel, to allow his patrons easy access to the sea-baths he owned. With the appearance of other guest houses backing on to the creek, further bridges were built at Fiocci and Allawah avenues, with a more substantial timber example constructed at the entrance to Long Island, now known as Mile Bridge (where the ghost of a young girl was once rumoured to haunt).
In a series of intimate etchings made between 1944 and 1971, local artist John Farmer captured some of the creek’s quite nooks. Another resident, novelist Myra Morris, also painted here. Her painting Foreshore, Frankston (1930s) shows the scene at the end of Davey Street, and depicts the bridge crossing the creek there. Using this painting as a reference, her nephew Rick Amor recreated the composition in The Beach 1995; however, both artists have tinkered with reality, as the sea cannot actually be seen from the same vantage point.
With the recent redevelopment of the foreshore, including a new bridge designed by Aspect Pty Ltd, Frankston City Council commissioned the artist-poet Evangelos Sakaris to create a public artwork responding to the site. Text from his evocative and image-laden poem I, Kananook 2006 can be found inscribed along the uprights now delineating the mouth of the creek.