Few people realise, given the long history of racial discord in Australia, that inter-racial relationships are not merely possible, but also not uncommon. And some places. more than others, are even somewhat prone to them. One of them is even named for it, albeit in a Shakespearian sort of a way.

The first interracial relationship in the area occurred many years before what is generally referred to as ‘the coming of the white man.’ It was a couple who fled from Spain in the early 1280’s. She was white and he black, she a Moslem and he a Christian. And they were as much in love as Romeo and Juliet. Their story ended more happily, though. The two fled via the lands of North Africa – still at that time part of Abbasid Caliphate – until they reached the port city of Basra in Persia. From here they took ship, looking to find a safe haven – they had thought to find the kingdom of Prester John, rumoured to be somewhere in sub-equatorial Africa. But they sailed down the African coast for weeks without any sign of it, finally reaching Madagascar almost a year after their departure from Al-Andalus. Following greater legends of a land beyond the eastern seas, they set sail once more.

It took weeks before they made landfall on the undiscovered lands of Terra Australia decades before Dirk Hartog, not far from modern day Margaret River. From here, they followed the coast south and east, before a storm blew them into Port Phillip Bay. Try as they might, they could never succeed in escaping the bay, and eventually made landfall and settled. Although most of the surviving crew abandoned them on a mission to the south, where they met with destruction at the hands of the people of Bangholme, who were in turn destroyed. But the happy couple survived, and the place where they settled – immediately to the south of modern day South Road – was named for them: Black and White, or in the languages that they knew, Moor and Abbin.

Suburbs near Moorabbin:

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