Page images


L83 V.41





Vol. XLI.

JANUARY, 1907.


Victorian Railway-Beech Forest Line. district, Mr. Charles Forrest, and many

other gentlemen well known in political Work upon the above 2-ft. 6-in. nar- and business circles. row gauge line was started on June 14, The line winds its devious way across 1900, and a wet day-it rains fairly fre- the Otway Ranges for a distance of close quently-in February, 1902, saw the line upon 30 miles, and the five stations avail. opened through from Colac to the termi- able for public use at the date of opening nus at Beech Forest by the then state have since been doubled to provide the governor, Sir George Sydenham Clarke, accommodation requisite for the traffic on who was accompanied by the minister of the line. railways, Mr. Trenwith, and the present The height above sea level at Colac is minister, Mr. Bent, the member for the 437 feet, rising in the first five miles at

[graphic][subsumed][merged small][merged small]

Coram to 888 feet, and the views obtainable from the train en route upon this portion of the journey are very fine, embracing the town of Colac, lying upon the shores of that splendid sheet of water, Lake Colac, and the country stretching further north to Ondit and Beeac. There is a fall of 150 feet in the two-mile run to the next station, Barongarook, where are apple orchards; and the descent continues gradually to Gellibrand 10 miles further on, where the height above sea level is only 246 feet. There is a township here, steadily increasing in size, and already possessing a comfortable brick hotel, postoffice, state school, etc. Some rich flats occur along the river, and the fishing is excellent, whilst rabbits are plentiful, and duck may be shot in season.

In the next 12 miles the line rises continuously to the terminas, where the greatest height is attained, Beech Forest station being situated at an altitude of 1,747 feet. The track winds between steep hills and skirts the heads of deep

valleys, in whose depths the passengers obtain glimpses of beautiful fern bowers lying at the feet of the gigantic trees, which rear their lofty tops to a level with the train windows.

The township at Beech Forest consists of the Ditchley Park Hotel, one or two stores, a church, and state school upon one hill, and the railway station, coffee palace, butter factory, etc., on another about a quarter of a mile distant.

Roads are an unknown quantity in this part of the country. Tracks there are, over which the settlers ride to various parts of the district, or by means of which they convey their stores and produce upon horse-drawn sledges. Visitors are recommended to bring along their heaviest and strongest boots and a pair of stout leg. gings, for at any season of the year mud is plentiful in evidence.

Owing to the high average rainfall and the hilly nature of the district, waterfalls are to be found in various directions throughout the ranges. Upon the Lard.

[graphic][merged small]

ner Creek, within easy walking distance of the hotel, are the Parkinson Falls, and upon another branch of the same stream, the Murray Falls plunge 50 feet into a fern-fringed, rocky basin.

Upon the Aire river within 4 miles of the township, are the Hopetoun Falls, named during a week's stay of the first governor-general of the commonwealth, and the Beauchamp Falls. Close to the hotel a small reservoir was constructed by a former landlord of the hostelry, and by him stocked with Loch Leven and rainbow trout, for the benefit of the anglers of days to come.

A walk of a couple of miles serves to reach a portion of the untouched virgin forest, where stand magnificent beech

magnificent and extensive view of the country lying to the northward, from Camperdown on the west, to Geelong on the east, and embracing Lakes Colac and Corangamite, Mt. Gellibrand, Mt. Elephant, the Warriors, etc., may be had.

The advent of settlement to this district has resulted in a great deal of country being cleared, and grazing is extensively followed. A great quantity of first-class timber has been taken from the land, and forwarded by rail from the stations along the line, much of it going to Ballarat, for mining purposes.

The climate of the district is splendid, and anyone desiring to spend a summer vacation amid enjoyable surroundings


LOGGING IN BEECH FOREST, VICTORIAN RAILWAY. trees, their trunks covered with mosses might do far worse than visit Beech For. and lichens, and entwined with staghorn est. Trains leave Melbourne Tuesday, ferns to their tops, 80 to 100 feet from the Thursday and Saturday at 6:30 a. m. ground.

Passengers change at Čolac, get lunch The racecourse lies close to the railway and leave at 1:30 p. m. on account of the line, near the township, upon one of the steep grades and curves. The 30-ton narfew level spots in the district. The natu. row-gauge engine takes a fairly long time ral grandstand, built upon the top of the on the journey, the schedule time for the stamp of a felled tree, with accommoda- 2934 miles being a little over three and tion for 100 persons, has recently been de- one-half hours. Victorian Railways stroyed by a bush fire.

Magazine. The railway terminus lies within 13 miles of the ocean, and in future years,

Evolution of a Great Railroad. when suitable roads have been provided, will afford access to many beautiful spots The story of the evolution of the Lake upon the shores of the Southern Ocean, Shore & Michigan Southern railway, as at present unknown to tourists.

told by M. Brigham in 1883, is one of From the top of Mount Buchanan a unusual interest. Railroad Men issued

« PreviousContinue »