Proposed railway to Anakie

In 1915 a railway was proposed between the Geelong and Ballarat line, passing via the Staughton Vale Closer Settlement Area, Balliang and Anakie.

Routes


A number of routes were presented by local residents to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Railways:

  • through line from Guildford and passing through Daylesford, Leonard's Hill, Ballan, and Anakie, to Geelong
  • through line from Kyneton or Macedon through Bacchus Marsh and Balliang to Geelong
  • through line from either Parwan or Rowsley, passing across Staughton Vale or Balliang and Woolamanata Estate, to Moorabool or Lara
  • branch line from either Parwan or Rowsley running southwards for about 10 miles to Anakie
  • branch line from Moorabool and run northward towards Anakie

The through lines were justified by:

the larger issue of a direct "national" railway from the northern areas of Victoria to Geelong, the object of which was ''to relieve the shipping congestion at Williamstown and Melbourne in the wheat and meat export seasons, and also to give effect to the decentralization policy of the Ministry.

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Potential traffic


The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Railways was told:

Statistics were submitted showing that in the vicinity of Staughton Vale and Balliang there were 12,056 acres under cultivation out of 50,328 acres held by farmers, and it was stated that if a railway came into the district the acreage cultivated would be doubled.

From the area referred to 63,266 bags of grain, 3,390 tons of hay, and 2,014 tons of straw were produced in the season 1913-14. There were that season 23,485 sheep on these holdings and 1,448 cattle. In the production of cereal crops 522 tons of artificial manures were used.

Around Anakie and on the eastern slope of the Brisbane Range is an abundant supply of box, messmate, and stringybark timber suitable for firewood. But the cost of carting it into Geelong, a distance of about 15 or 20 miles, prevented large supplies for that city being drawn from this district.

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Costings


Mr. M. E. Kernot, Chief Engineer for Railway Construction, costed three options for the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Railways:

Through line from from Moorabool to Rowsley would be approximately 27 miles in length, and would cost, roughly, £100,000 and serving 100,000 acres.

Branch headed north from Moorabool through Marathon and Woolamanata estates to the Little River would be about 17 miles in length, and would cost close on £70,000, exclusive of land and rolling-stock, and including two roadside stations and a terminal station in the southern portion of Staughton Vale Closer Settlement Area on the south side of Little River.

South from Parwan, running 11 miles south into Staughton Vale Closer Settlement Area would cost a little over £40,000, and would serve about 80,000 acres.

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Recommendations


The 1915 report by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Railways recommended:

Should the construction of a direct railway from the northern areas of Victoria to Corio Harbour become necessary, no doubt the traffic that would be obtained en route from the neighbourhood of Staughton Vale and Anakie would assist the earnings of such a main line.

But the Committee is of opinion that, viewed from their stand -point alone, the ,districts of Staughton Vale, Balliang, and Anakie do not contain a sufficiently large area of agricultural land to justify a cockspur railway being constructed into them, as the resultant traffic would be inadequate to make the railway a payable one.

The Committee recommends it is inexpedient to connect Staughton Vale Closer Settlement, Balliang, and Anakie by means of a 5ft. 3in. gauge line with the existing railway system

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Sources