Monday, 2 September 2019

Victorian Railways tourist's guide, 1885

In 1885 the following book was published Victorian Railways tourist's guide: containing accurate and full particulars of the watering places, scenery, shooting, fishing, sporting, hotel accommodation, etc. in Victoria also a new and complete railway map showing all the present and projected lines edited by Jos. Pickersgill.  You can see a digitised version of it on the National Library of Australia website, here.

There are three pages relating to the Casey Cardinia region - which are reproduced below and also transcribed. There are good descriptions of Dandenong, Berwick, Beaconsfield and the  partially drained Koo wee Rup Swamp. There is an interesting poem about Dandenong. There is also a lot of advice about 'sport' by which they actually mean hunting - wallabies, opossums and game. There is nothing about Cranbourne as the railway line to Cranbourne and beyond did not open until 1888 - 1890 and this guide book only relates to places on the rail network.

A beautiful and favorite place of resort for excursionists from Melbourne, situated under the magnificent Dandenong Ranges, and within easy distance of the celebrated Fern Tree Gullies (about twelve miles). It lies on a flat, and is the heart of the richly-grassed and fertile agricultural and grazing country.  The scenery in the district is very fine, and the air pure and salubrious. Dandenong and the whole of the surrounding neighbourhood afford splendid shooting on the plains and in the gullies. Since the railway line has been extended to this place, a large number of residents of Melbourne have built country villas in and around the township. The hotels are large, commodious, and very comfortable, Dawson’s being the leading hostelrie. Mr. Dawson’s stables are replete with all the necessities in the way of hiring, and a favorite starting point for Fern Tree gullies; and full information can be obtained from the popular proprietor as to the best spots for sport. The local papers are the Advertiser and the South Bourke and Mornington Journal.

Our poet, who has been out for an evening walk, watching the amber and golden glory of the sunset, and seeing the last shafts of the God of Day aimed at the towering ranges to the eastward, comes in and pensively sings this lay:-
“On sunny slope, on mountain tall,
The shadow’d lights of evening fall,
And gentle whispering, scarcely heard,
Save when the drooping leaves are stirr’d
The soft warm zephyr sighs along
Thy pleasant glades, oh! Dandenong

The music of a thousand rills,
That pour from yon o’erhanging hills,
The sombre forest, dim and dark, 
The gloomy gorges, stern and stark,
Such sounds and sights are found among
Thy lovely scenes, oh! Dandenong

The ferny dells, so passing fair,
So sweet the fresh life-giving air,
The verdant plains, and flower-gemm’d groves,
The shady nooks the wild-bird loves,
Fit subject for the poet’s song,
All these are thine, Oh! Dandenong.”

From Dandenong we pass Hallam’s Road and Narree Warren, and at twenty-six and three-quarter miles reach Berwick

On the Kardinia Creek, a place is being rapidly taken up for residential purposes by gentlemen having business in Melbourne. It lies in the heart of a country famous for the beauty of its scenery, having the Dandenong ranges distant, seven miles to the north, and the Gembrook ranges twelve miles north-east. Both these ranges are heavily timbered and well watered, the soil is rich chocolate, and it is over-grown, except where cleared, with fern trees and sassafras. Lying back from the township in the direction of the Dandenong ranges, gold had been found in nearly all the gullies, but the only ground which has been systematically worked is the Emerald diggings, about fourteen miles distant.  Tin has also been found in this locality, and in the gullies of the Gembrook range discoveries of emerald, topazes, amethysts, and sapphires have been made. Hence the name. 

Berwick 1887 (28 miles from Melbourne)
Taken only two years after the Tourist Guide was written this is how the travellers using the guide would have seen Berwick. Bain's Hotel, mentioned in the guide, is on the left.
Field Naturalists' Club of Victoria photograph album  State Library of Victoria Image H2012.114/2

The town of Berwick, although prettily situated one which, from the summits of its hills, gives a fair view of Port Phillip and Western Port Bay and the surrounding country, is not a place that possesses any special inducement to the tourist for a prolonged stay. It is quiet and rural, and that is all. There is a good Hotel (Bains’) with a fine fruit garden. It is a good dairy-farming, cheese-making, and hop and vine -growing locality, and excellent wine is made hereabouts. But the tourist who wants to enjoy good wallaby shooting may be amply satisfied by a journey of about ten miles to the hills that overlook the Emerald diggings to the north, where, in the gullies, he may find plenty. He may also succeed in bringing down, now and again, a rare black opossum, whose skin makes the very best rugs. On the other side of the hills “digger holes” are frequently deep, and their mouth covered up with a treacherous undergrowth. Another word to the wise, “Look out for leeches”

Proceeding onwards from Berwick, we arrive at the newly formed township of Beaconsfield.

Formerly known as the Haunted Gully Alluvia Diggings, which is rapidly becoming an important place, not so much from its agricultural and pastoral capabilities, which are comparatively small, as from its having been taken up by a number of Melbourne gentlemen as a suitable place for a suburban residences. It is twenty-eight miles from Melbourne, but as three trains run each way daily it suits business men who like to like in the country and yet within easy access of the metropolis. The surrounding country is rather mountainous in character, with picturesque gullies intersecting. The views to be obtained are beautiful - Queenscliff, Sorrento, the You Yangs and Port Phillip Bay being seen to the west and north west. Mount Macedon to the north, the Lilydale Gembrook Ranges to the north-east, the Baw Baw and other Gippsland Ranges to the east, and the Bass Ranges, Western Port Bay, French and Phillip Islands, and Arthur’s Seat to the south-east, south and south-west, respectively. Beaconsfield is a favourite centre for metropolitan sportsmen out for a day’s shooting. Beaconsfield possess good hotel accommodation, as is a desirable place to visit for an outing, whether for sport or for the sake of fresh air, or a quiet trip into the pretty, tranquil parts outskirts of the metropolis.

From Beaconsfield we traverse a long stretch of country now considerably taken up for settlement, and extending along the northern boundary of the far-famed Koo-wee-rup Swamp - a tract that a few years ago was worse than useless being a terror to travellers, and appropriately named the ‘Glue Pots.’ Having been partially drained and cleared, this expanse is rapidly becoming one of the richest agricultural territories in the colony, and it offers an almost illimitable surface for shooting. Go where one will in this district one is bound to find game.

The railway passes through the newly settled townships of Pakenham, Tynong, Bunyip, Longwarry, Drouin, Warragul, Darnum, Yarragon, Trafalgar, and Moe, any one of which may be said to be excellent centres for the traveller bent on shooting and reaches Morwell.

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