This story was broadcast on ABC Radio Melbourne on The Friday Revue program on 3 April 2020. The narration was by Dugald McAndrew. Listen as you read, folks.
Dear Sir Samuel Mogg, of Moggs Creek,
You once said it was a mystery there was a creek named after you. You said: “I was just a sailor who washed up on the shores of history half-way between Anglesea and Lorne.”
Allow me to explain. If I can.
In 1955 a group of friends bought land at Moggs Creek, a blink-and-you-miss-it spot down south . The group was bemused by the name of the creek. Nearby locations were obviously named: Airey’s Inlet, Fairhaven, Eastern View, Devil’s Elbow, Grassy Creek. No mysteries there.
But Moggs Creek? Who or what was Mogg? Or Moggs?
The group didn’t know. Had no idea. So they made up their own story. They decided there had once been a Sir Samuel Moggs, a sailor who lost his way a long time ago.
The group made a small statue of you, Sir Sam, and set it in stone on the border of Moggs Creek and Eastern View. The wording at the base of the statue said ‘Sir Samuel Moggs landed here 29 February 1759. Erected by The United Moggs Organisation. The dark is light enough.’
The group repaired or replaced the statue regularly after vandalism. It survived by the side of the road until at least the mid 1980s. Sometime thereafter it disappeared, until 2002, when it appeared on the doorstep of the Anglesea and District Historical Society.
The group also built a two-metre high brick cairn in the sand dunes, just up from the walkway to the beach. Hidden from view and protected from high tides, the cairn is still standing after more than 60 years.
The group held annual cricket matches between the east and west sides of the creek. They brewed wines named after the creek. They made stickers that said ‘Moggs Creek Forever’. They formed an army, if you believed the group’s newsletters.
And all in your honour, Sir Sam.
By the 1970s many of the group had gone their different ways. They never did learn the true story of the naming of the creek. But if they had have come across a 1968 local history of neighbouring Airey’s Inlet they would have read of ‘a property ..formerly occupied by a Mr Mogg, whose sons attended school in Geelong…’
As far as I’m concerned, Sir Sam, the truth of the matter does not diminish your place in the history of a beach spot I’ve come to know and love since my parents bought land there in 1972, and built a house that’s been a home away from home for four generations.
For a much, much longer version of this story, see John Quixote And The True Hisotry of Moggs Creek.