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Coastal Arts Discovery Trail Seaford


Phone: 1300 322 842

Inspired by tales of the Seaford Hermit.
Marks the entrance to Seaford Foreshore.


One of the more curious tales of Frankston is that of the hermit, John Maddox, who lived for about 20 years in the ti-trees to the south of Seaford Road. He was reported to have been in charge of a vessel that accidently sank with the loss of many lives. Assuming moral responsibility from this tragedy, Maddox decided to remove himself from polite society and eke out an austere existence in the dunes.

Here, he constructed what can only be described as a fantasy world of shells, bottles and driftwood. It was considered a privilege to be invited into his domain and he erected hand-painted signs requesting his visitors desist from profanities.

Obviously a principled man, Maddox refused to beg. Instead, he exchanged fresh fish and basic labour for foodstuffs often baked especially for him by the local housewives. Sadly, vandals destroyed his home in 1917 while he was in hospital with the pneumonia which eventually killed him.

As part of the Frankston Coastal Arts trail, artist Jacki Staude was commissioned to create a work inspired by the hermit’s story. Entitled Hermitage it takes the form of wrought-iron folly, marking the entrance to the picnic area in the Seaford Pier Precinct. The metallic archway contains stylised forms, including bottles and anchors, which are evocative of Maddox’s sanctuary.

It is open to conjecture as to how long the hermit’s solitude would have continued given the increasing popularity of the Seaford foreshore as a holiday destination reachable by improved motor transport. Today, no trace of Maddox’s original camp exists within the ti-trees, a conservation zone which is managed by Council with assistance received from the community-based Friends of Seaford Foreshore.

Map & Directions

Corner Station Street and Nepean Highway Seaford Victoria 3198