Sandringham today is a genteel middle class suburb that would earnestly like to persuade potential property investors that it has always been that way. Alas, it is really only since the Second World War, when beachfront properties really began to take off in value, that this has been the case. Prior to the war, Sandringham was a tough working class neighbourhood, mostly occupied by the men who commuted along the train line to the factories of Windsor and the docks of Port Melbourne each working day and their families.
These men were a rough lot and their amusements were similarly so. At the same time that neighbouring Beaumaris was creating a yacht club and the other accoutrements of upper class life and leisure, Sandringham – at that time simply known as Hampton South – had amusements of a decidedly less savoury type. It was notorious among those in the know as the centre of bare knuckly boxing matches, no holds barred wrestling contests and live animal fights to the death. And while many of these activities took place elsewhere – dog-fighting and cock-fighting in particular took place at many other sites across the city – only the beaches of Hampton South boasted fights to the death between pigs. (Followed, naturally by drinking sessions on the beach that also featured the consumption of the spit-roasted remains of the losers.)
Over time – and likely due to the need to band together to keep Squizzy Taylor out – the fights became more formalised under the aegis of a German family named Gefarlich. It was they who popularised the term “The Sandy Ring” for the (mobile) location of the fights, and who claimed the remains of the losers as their fee for running the fights (they also sold watered-down beer at inflated prices), giving rise to their best known product, Sandy Ring Ham.
But between gentrification and a series of police crack downs, the area today no longer hosts such fights (although it is rumoured that the descendents of the Gefarlich family still do, if you known the right people and can get invited), and only a modified version of a name whose origins few realise the truth of remains.
Suburbs near Sandringham: