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Last Update
16th of July 2014

TRANSPORT AND DEVELOPMENT


Viaduct at Taradale
Private Collection.
A major engineering feat - the five spans of 120 feet ( 36.5m.) each, 115 feet (35m,) above the Back Creek at Taradale. The completed Melbourne to Sandhurst (Bendigo) railway officially opened in 1862. Spans strengthened with steel supports during the 1930's.

Travel to the goldfields in the ‘rush’ was largely by foot, horse and bullock but, by 1853, there was a coach line carrying passengers, gold and mail between Bendigo and Melbourne and with road improvements and the use of fresh horses over ten mile stages, the travelling time was soon reduced to one day. Among the various coach operators was the legendary Cobb & Co. A dramatic reduction in communication time came in 1857 when a telegraph station opened in Bendigo while the next significant benefit for the carriage of people, goods and mail came with the railway in 1862. Melbourne, Sandhurst (Bendigo) and Ballarat were linked by telephone in 1887. Locally, a tram system connected the centre of Bendigo to Emu Point, Golden Square, the railway station, Quarry Hill and Eaglehawk using, over the years – battery power, steam power and finally, overhead electric power. The tram service (which ran until 1972) has been recognized as a significant feature of past life in Bendigo through the current Tourist Tram and Tramway Museum.

Contemporary newspaper reports, court records and official correspondence suggest that while Bendigo officials and residents had to contend with thefts of gold, assaults and violent disputes from time to time, respect for law and order generally prevailed. The authority of the Goldfields Commissioners gave way to Mining Wardens, Local Courts and Mining Boards and a Police Magistrate was appointed and, in 1855, a municipal police force took over from the former Goldfields Police. The Bendigo goldfield had been transformed irreversibly from a temporary digger’s camp governed by Goldfields officials into a self-governing town largely responsible for maintaining its own law and order.

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