Victoria - Colonial period: 1854-1900.
The North Western line.

The North-Western line was established in the mid-1870s as an alternative to the main lines to Ballarat. In the first half of the 1860s, the main line went through Meridith, Elaine and Buninyong to Ballarat. With the re-organisation of the lines, the line connecting those Offices became part of the Horsham line. In the east, the line from Melbourne north to Gisborne was constructed through to Swan Hill.

Certainly the main factor underlying the construction was the need to have a direct line between Melbourne and Ballarat.

Gold had been a significant influence in the development of the region - especially at Mt. Egerton and All Nation's Gully.

Given that the line was to be constructed, Ballan and Bacchus March were the two places to be the first to have intermediate Telegraph Offices:

  • Ballan had been important in the gold rush and was the staging point for Cobb & Co. coaches travelling to the Ballarat goldfields.
  • Bacchus Marsh was the largest urban area in that part of Victoria.

In addition, there were requests from the "selectors" in the region to construct Telegraph Offices in their town. The Ballarat Courier of 14 January 1874, for example, reported that:

"Mr W. Clarke, M.L.A. had an interview with the Hon. the Postmaster-General to-day, for the purpose of presenting a numerously-signed petition from Gordon, asking for the establishment of a telegraph and money-order office at that place. The telegraph wires are to be extended from Ballarat to Ballan and, as Gordon is on that route, the petitioners very justly think that their wants ought to be considered at the same time. They also believe that the amount of business now transacted there fully justifes them in requesting the Government to accommodate them with a money-order office. Mr Langtan promised to take this matter into consideration"

Most of the requests for telegraphic faclities were based on the significant agricultural interests of the district. The types of discussions and the reasons advanced are further demonstrated by the report of a meeting at Myrniong on 11 July 1874.