James Irvine Monument – Peterborough, Australia - Atlas Obscura

James Irvine Monument

Peterborough, Australia

Dedicated to a pivotal figure in the region's tourism industry.  


Born in Northern Ireland in 1848, James Irvine had great influence in the early hospitality industry in Peterborough, a small town situated on the Great Ocean Road, Australia. He traveled across the world from Enniskillen, Northern Ireland at 18 aboard the Champion of the Seas in 1866, accompanied by his parents and six siblings.

He first visited Peterborough in charge of a group of horses while working for a fishing and shooting company. It was on a trip to Peterborough, he realized the tourism potential of this seaside town. Irvine later settled down in the town and was the caretaker of the first-holiday house in the area. The location attracted wealthy Victorians from across the state. 

Known locally as the “Grand Old Man of Peterborough,” Irvine’s memory is remembered through this monument which tells a tragic story. In 1919, Irvine was crossing the mouth of the Curdies River when he was swept away to his death. A local appeal raised funds to erect this memorial stone as a poignant reminder of his contribution to the local area. 

The town of Peterborough has now grown from a small fishing village into a popular holiday destination, and visitors to this spectacular piece of coastline are rewarded with fantastic views out to sea. 

Know Before You Go

Eagled-eyed visitors may be able to spot hooded plovers, an endangered species of bird that inhabits beaches and subcoastal lagoons. 

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November 21, 2022

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