Drunkenness and vice infested The Hard

The Hard at the junction with Queen Street in 1850.
The Hard at the junction with Queen Street in 1850.
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There are plans afoot for a complete makeover for the Hard at Portsea.

The bus station is going through a thorough rebuild with, no doubt, big changes elsewhere along this historic thoroughfare.

It seems that the Hard has always had a bit of a name for itself, especially when we had a large navy.

As far back as 1858 a petition was signed by 200 inhabitants about how bad the situation was. They complained of drunk and disorderly sailors, soldiers and marines while prostitutes were permitted, without molestation, to infest the place at hours of the day and night. They said: ‘The scenes which are to be witnessed here are the most revolting in description. They cannot fail to disgust the occasional passers-by who are subject to nuisance these people submit on them. When a ship pays off the evils are increased tenfold.

‘The Hard then presents a scene of drunkenness and profligacy which baffles all description.’

The locals demanded an increase in constables and some months later the police force in that area was increased to 23 men.