Rosebud is wedged between the lower slopes of Arthurs Seat, the shores of Port Phillip and the plains of Boneo.
Rosebud is a highly popular spot during the summer months, and vacationers flock to its clear waters and pristine sandy beaches. There are also a number of weekend markets including craft and vintage markets, and these are popular with tourists and locals alike. They are largely craft and vintage focused, but many farmers sell their fresh produce as well.
For those who want to be more proactive with their food foraging, the Sunny Ridge Strawberry Farm allows visitors to pick their own selection of fruit right off the farm. Or visit one of the many farm gates for fresh produce directly from the farmer.
The foreshore area of Rosebud is one of the largest camping areas on the peninsula. During the summer months the populations of Rosebud and Dromana can double is size – making a very touristy feel.
Rosebud has its own primary and secondary schools including Padua College, a Catholic secondary school, with the Rosebud campus accommodating years 7-10, while years 11 and 12 students attend the Mornington Campus.
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Originally known as Banksia Point, Rosebud began life as a fishing community in the early 1850s. On 2 June 1855, the cargo vessel Rosebud, owned by one of the colony’s best-known pastoralists Edward Hobson, was washed over the large sandbars and onto the beach. The burgeoning community made off with the cargo of damask and household goods, but the wreck remained for many years as the locals slowly stripped its hull to use in the construction of houses. It became commonplace to call the area “The Rosebud” in reference to the ship, which was shortened to “Rosebud” as the last vestiges of the ship disappeared.
A school began operating in 1884 and moved into purpose-built premises three years later. The first store wasn’t opened until Welshman Jackie Jones began selling goods from an upturned boat in the late 1880s. Rosebud suffered from a lack of direct access to Melbourne. When a pier was finally built in 1888, it failed to extend into the deep water, so ferries and passenger ships from the metropolis had to dock at Dromana. A road was formed by clearing a path at Anthony’s Nose, the point where Arthurs Seat meets the sea. This, at last, gave Rosebud a road connection to surrounding towns and Melbourne. The Post Office then opened on 27 March 1889.
In the early twentieth century, developers attempted to market Rosebud as an English-style seaside resort with the creation of the Clacton-on-Sea estate (today known as the “Avenues”). Vacant land was offered at just two pounds per block in an effort to stimulate investment in the area. Take up was slow; society wasn’t affluent enough to allow many of the middle class to own holiday homes so far from the city. This slow growth continued in the inter-war years; the township consisted of about ten shops and a Presbyterian church, built of wood on a single day in 1923. The first pub (the Rosebud Hotel) wasn’t built until 1939-40 and was built in the prevailing art deco style. It remains the only pub in the town to this day.Local businessmen had noticed a slowly growing phenomenon in the late 1930s and 1940s – the popularity of camping on the Rosebud foreshore; a cheap and interesting alternative to staying at guesthouses or hotels. After World War II, aided by the explosion in the number of people owning a car, camping at Rosebud over the Christmas-New Year holidays became a tradition for many Melbourne families.
The Rosebud Foreshore Committee was set up to administer the area and take bookings, which are now made twelve months in advance. By the 21st century, camping on the foreshore has taken on a cultural dimension and there are families who are fourth and even fifth generation visitors. Many Melburnians can reminisce about summer holidays at Rosebud.
By the 1960s, Rosebud had emerged as the largest town on the southern Peninsula, complete with a shopping centre and extensive sporting facilities. In time it became home to an increasing number of permanent residents, including ‘sea change’ retirees. New housing estates have developed in the last five years, including the Peninsula Sands Estate in Rosebud South, which is home to many young families.