You wouldn’t think so to look at it, but Shoreham holds a unique pedigree in Australia. It is (or rather, was) the site of the earliest artificial seawall to be built on the continent. Before even the settlement of Melbourne, when the Western Port Bay was sailed solely by itinerant whalers and sealers, the area now known as Shoreham was commonly used as a stopover point, providing shelter from the worst of the storms, and a place to go ashore in search of fresh water.
After the beginnings of settlement in the Melbourne area, the first permanent buildings in the area were constructed, although the main port facilities of the area were located further to the east and north, at Hastings, and Shoreham remained a fairly small township, with a population of about 50 fisherman and their families. In summers, the population would increase, but the peninsula vacation spots on the inside of Port Phillip Bay were generally more popular.
Shoreham eventually got its own name after the death of Harold Holt in 1967, when the angry sea battered at the backbeaches of the peninsula, and nearly flooded the area. The first waves having largely demolished the more than 150 year old seawall, a desperate sandbagging effort was raised, and the cry of “Shore ’em up” was frequently heard that night. A government surveyor who was visiting the area, and who participated in the anti-flood endeavours, misunderstood this to be the name of the place (which was actually known to the locals variously as Flinders North, Port Flinders and Flinders Beach), and it was duly inscribed on the next series of government maps and all their successors.
Suburbs near Shoreham: