The good children of Frankston – and the considerably more numerous bad children of Frankston – are all told the same story of how their town got its name. They are told the story of Frank Darlington, and his brother Dick. Frank was a merchant who specialised in foodstuffs: each week, he’d drive a cart carrying around about a ton of whatever was ready for market up to Cheltenham for sale, and return weighed down with money – Frank’s Tonne. Dick was a bushranger, who specialised in robbing Frank’s competitors from other towns. On this much, all versions of the story agree. But after this point, they diverge markedly.

In some tellings, Frank and Dick are co-conspirators, sharing the proceeds of both their endeavours. In others, Dick began his career as Frank’s partner before they had a falling out and he turned to crime. In some versions of the story, they are twins, but other versions have their births as much as a decade apart (to say nothing of the disagreement over who is the eldest). But all of this speculation is moot.

Although there was a real Dick Darlington who lived in the area, and who did make a living as a bushranger, he had no brothers (he did have six sisters, but that’s another story). Frank Darlington was not the name of Dick’s father, uncle, son or cousin, because Frank Darlington – and the stories of Frank’s Tonne – are complete fictions.

They hid a deeper truth, a far, far nastier story about a doctor who arrived in the area fleeing his native lands in Europe (where he was a nobleman), and who was rumoured to have conducted gruesome medical experiments with lightning and chemicals upon the living and the dead alike. The tale of Frank Darlington was cobbled together to cover this up. The story of Frank’s Tonne is made up of the poorly sewn-together pieces of other stories, some true, but most false. But it clings to life like a monstrous, undead thing, staggering drunkenly across the landscape and bellowing in inarticulate rage. In its way, it is oddly fitting.

Suburbs near Frankston:

Port Phillip Bay Port Phillip Bay Seaford Seaford Carrum Downs
Port Phillip Bay Port Phillip Bay Seaford Frankston North Skye
Port Phillip Bay Port Phillip Bay Frankston Frankston North Skye
Port Phillip Bay Port Phillip Bay Frankston Frankston Langwarrin
Port Phillip Bay Port Phillip Bay Frankston South Frankston Langwarrin
Mount Eliza Frankston South Frankston South Frankston South Langwarrin South
Mount Eliza Mount Eliza Frankston South Frankston South Baxter
Mount Eliza Baxter Baxter Baxter Baxter
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