Tuesday, 22 January 2008

Cranbourne Road Board and Berwick Road Board

The first form of local Government, in Victoria, were the Local Road Boards. These Boards had power to fix rates and levy tolls, and as the name suggests they were responsible for the maintenance of bridges and roads. The Cranbourne Road Board was proclaimed on June 19th, 1860 and Berwick Road Board on September 29th 1862.

The first members of the Cranbourne Road Board were Dr James Smith Adams, Chairman, who owned Balla Balla Estate; James Bruce, owner of Sherwood Park; Richard Burgh Chomley, owner of Tongola at Lyndhurst; James Lecky, Cranbourne land-owner who also owned the Cardinia Creek property; Edward Malloy, owner of Mayune property; Alexander Patterson (pictured), owner of St Germains Estate; Christopher Bond Peed, owner of Springmount; Patrick Thompson, owner of Oaklands and John Wedge, owner of Johnswood at Lyndhurst.

The first members of the Berwick Road Board were John Brisbane (Chairman), early Berwick landowner; Robert Bain, the owner of the Border Hotel (Berwick Inn) in Berwick; Francis Barr, a Berwick land owner; Michael Bourke, owner of the La Trobe Inn, later known as Bourke’s Hotel, at Pakenham; James Buchanan, owner of Ardblair, who later went on to be a Member of the Legislative Council; David Connor, licensee of the New Bunyip Hotel on the Bunyip River ; John Pitman, Pakenham landowner ; John Startup of Mount Ararat Station; John Troup, land owner at Narre Warren North and Gotlieb Wanke, a land owner at Harkaway.

There was no universal franchise and only males who owned property or were tenants and paid the rates on property, could vote. The Road Boards later became Shires.

This is a woodcut of Berwick in 1877. Robert Bain's Border Hotel (Berwick Inn) is in the foreground at the base of the hill. The Border Hotel was the meeting place of the Berwick Road Board until 1865 when new premises were built. The best source of information about early Berwick is The Early days of Berwick and its surrounding district, published by the Berwick Pakenham Historical Society. For Cranbourne it is The good country : Cranbourne Shire by Niel Gunson. Both are available at CCLC Libraries.

In the next post we will look at the development of the Shire of Cranbourne and the Shire of Berwick.

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