Bacchus Marsh, Victoria

Bacchus Marsh, Victoria

Infobox Australian Place | type = town
name = Bacchus Marsh
state = vic

caption = Main St, Bacchus Marsh
lga = Shire of Moorabool
postcode = 3340
pop = 13,261
est =
elevation= 118
maxtemp = 21.6
mintemp = 7.2
rainfall = 505.4
stategov = Melton
fedgov = Ballarat
dist1 = 53
location1= Melbourne
dist2 = 60
location2= Ballarat
dist3 = 59
location3= Geelong

Bacchus Marsh (Postcode: 3340) is a town in Victoria, Australia. It is in the local government area of Shire of Moorabool, and is located approximately 50 km west of Melbourne and 14 km west of Melton. At the 2006 census, Bacchus Marsh had a population of 13,261.Census 2006 AUS
name=Bacchus Marsh (Urban Centre/Locality)

It is traditionally a market garden area, producing a lot of the area's fruit and vegetables. The town was named after one of its original inhabitants, Capt. William Henry Bacchus, who saw the great value of this locality as it was situated on two rivers— the Lerderderg and Werribee.



It is believed that the tribe occupying the area at the time of white settlement were the Kurung. Bacchus Marsh was a meeting ground for anywhere between 150 and 400 Aborigines even after white settlement, and corroborees were held quite regularly. While there do not appear to be any records of open hostilities between whites and indigenous people, by 1863 there were a total of only 33 Aborigines left in the Bacchus Marsh district, and apart from a handful of recollections of the original inhabitants preserved by pioneer settlers, sadly little remains apart from present-day locality names, mainly of watercourses: Coimadai, Djerriwarrh, Korkuperrimul, Lerderderg, Merrimu, Myrniong, Werribee. [Some recollections of the Aboriginal inhabitants of the district in the 1840s may be found in the journal of squatter Charles Griffith. Recollections from the 1850s and early 1860s come from Joseph Lodge and Mrs Catherine Kerr, but were only recorded many years later, in the period 1913-17.] Cited by Betty Osborn cite book |last= |first= |authorlink= |coauthors= |title="The Bacchus Story" |year=1973 |publisher=Bacchus Marsh & District Historical Society |location= |isbn= ]

European Settlement

One of the first white men to reach the Bacchus Marsh valley was pastoralist Kenneth Scobie Clarke (circa 1806-79), a native of Sutherland in Scotland. Clarke was a manager for the Great Lake Company of Van Diemen’s Land and arrived in the Port Phillip District from George Town on 25 March 1836. Captain Bacchus credited Clarke as being the first man to shear sheep in Victoria, although the Hentys had arrived in Portland with their sheep some two years earlier.

On 29 November 1836, Clarke headed west from Port Phillip with a large flock of sheep, arriving in the Bacchus Marsh district a few days later. He built a hut on the west bank of the Lerderderg River near Darley, and lived there until early 1838. According to pastoralist George Russell, Clarke had acted on information obtained from Mr Aitken, an Edinburgh man, who was most put out when he discovered that Clarke had beaten him to the Pentland Hills run."The Narrative of George Russell of Golf Hill", cited by Betty Osborn in cite book |last= |first= |authorlink= |coauthors= |title=The Bacchus Story |year= 1973|publisher= Bacchus Marsh & District Historical Society|location= |isbn= ]

In 1838, Englishman Captain William Henry Bacchus (1782–1849) and his son William Henry Bacchus junior (1820-87) also brought sheep from Tasmania and came to the district which now bears their name. On their arrival, Clarke made an arrangement with them and ceded his run, moving to the nearby hills known as the Pentlands. The then very swampy valley was not really suitable for sheep, as they were prone to footrot. Clarke stayed in the district until 1840 or 1841, and later went to New Zealand, where he died in 1879.

As all land within three miles of a squatter’s hut was considered to belong to him, Bacchus and his son immediately set about consolidating their land holdings. By 1839-40, they had a homestead and four outstations on the Lardedark run, which in 1845 covered about 22 square miles and carried nearly 3,000 sheep. Between 1845-47 Captain Bacchus built the Manor House, a two-storey Georgian brick building that still stands in the township today. Captain Bacchus died in 1849 and was buried in what later became the grounds of Holy Trinity Anglican Church, Gisborne Road. By 1851, Henry Bacchus junior had sold his holdings in Bacchus Marsh and moved to Peerewur run near Ballarat.cite book |last= |first= |authorlink= |coauthors= |title= Back to Bacchus Marsh 12-27 October 1957|year=1957|publisher= Souvenir Booklet, Crisp & Son Printers|location= Bacchus Marsh|isbn= ] cite book |last=Osborn |first=Betty |authorlink= |coauthors= |title="A History of Holy Trinity Church of England Bacchus Marsh" |year= 1971|publisher=Bacchus Marsh & District Historical Society |location= |isbn= ]

The Beginnings of Local Government

The township was originally known as Ballan, a Post Office opening under that name around July 1844 (Bacchus Marsh from July 1, 1850).Citation

last = Premier Postal History | title = Post Office List | url = | accessdate = 2008-04-11 ] The Bacchus Marsh Road District Board was proclaimed on 30 September 1856, with one of its first tasks being to construct a gravel road through the town, as at that time the road was barely passable in winter. Bacchus Marsh was created a district on 14 October 1862, and the Road Board was the governing body until the Shire of Bacchus Marsh was proclaimed on 23 January 1871.cite book |last= |first= |authorlink= |coauthors= |title=Victorian Municipal Directory |year= 1956|publisher= |location= |isbn= ] The railway came to Bacchus Marsh on 15 February 1887, and the through line to Ballarat was built in 1890. [cite book |last=Lloyd |first= John|authorlink= |coauthors= |title="Local Government in Bacchus Marsh: The Road District Years 1853-1871" |year= 1986|publisher=Shire of Bacchus Marsh |location= |isbn= ] '

Darley existed north of the Werribee River, and still exists as an area of Bacchus Marsh. It was surveyed and proclaimed in 1861 and was initially an agricultural settlement. Maddingley existed south of the Werribee River, and was surveyed prior to 1861. The name is still reflected in roads, such as South Maddingley Road and East Maddingley Road, as well as the Maddingley Brown Coal Open Cut Mine.


Travelling from Melbourne via the Western Freeway, the town appears as one drops into the valley via Anthony's Cutting.

The Bacchus Marsh station is on the Ballarat line and is linked by the V/Line Regional Fast Rail project to Melbourne. A bus service connects the station with the town centre and other residential areas.

The Western Freeway linking Melbourne and Ballarat bypasses through Bacchus Marsh, separating the Darley locality from the rest of town.


A feature of the town is the Avenue of Honour— several kilometres of trees planted along the old main road from Melbourne, to honour those who served in the Great War. One of its principal recreation areas is Maddingley Park, which is a favourite picnic destination for both locals and visitors.

The other nearby feature is the small stone bridge that crosses Djerriwarrh Creek. This historic bridge was built by Irish immigrants in the 1850s to assist travel to the Ballarat goldfields. One of its builders, Richard Griffith, decided to remain in the area and his family still works the farm that surrounds the bridge reserve.

Walks along the Lerderderg River provide access to the steep, rugged and overgrown Lerderderg Gorge and the extensive Wombat State Park that surrounds it, criss-crossed by four-wheel drive tracks, extensive bushwalking amongst historic mining relics and natural bush.


Schools in Bacchus Marsh include:

* Bacchus Marsh Primary School
* Darley Primary School
* Pentland Primary School
* St Bernard's Primary School (Catholic)
* Bacchus Marsh College (two campuses)
* Bacchus Marsh Grammar


Australian rules football, Cricket and Netball are all very popular in the town. Notable sporting teams include Darley Football Club and Bacchus Marsh Football Club who both compete in the Ballarat Football League.Another sport that has come popular over the years in Bacchus Marsh is the Korfball Association.

Notable Residents

Notable people from Bacchus Marsh include:

* Labour activist Reginald Patrick Heagney (1858-1922)
* Factory inspector Margaret Gardiner Cuthbertson (1864-1944)
* Physicist and professor Sir Kerr Grant (1878-1967)
* Victorian Premier from 1927-1928 and 1929-1932, Edmond Hogan (1883-1964)
* Pianist and composer Isabel Varney Desmond Peterson (1892-1967)
* Carlton Australian rules footballer Harry "Soapy" Vallence (1905-1991)
* Author Frank Hardy (1917-1994) and his sister, actor and comedian Mary Hardy (1931-1985)
* Dual Booker Prize winning author Peter Carey
* Home to Dancing with the Stars judge Helen Richey
* AFL star Doug Hawkins (b.1960)
* Celebrity chef Cath Claringbold

External links

* [ Moorabool Shire Council]
* [ Bacchus Marsh Visitor Information Centre]



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