Friday, February 22, 2008

Ten Mile Towns

As you drive along the main thoroughfares these days it's easy to let the many country towns whip behind your vehicle without taking too much notice of them.
The likes of Kyneton, Bacchus Marsh and Woodend are indeed pretty and are steeped in history but are often overlooked as the highways by-pass them and many others nowadays.

These were "ten mile towns", so named for the approximate distance between them.
Why 10 miles?
Because the gold escort had to rest and change horses every ten miles and sometimes spend the night before pushing on again the next morning to deliver the precious cargo to Melbourne and, ultimately, England.
Often only a single public house or private dwelling offered food and drink to the riders, with more businesses quickly growing at the ten mile stops to eventually become a flourishing town.

Bullock drivers also favoured these ten mile towns as they were an almost perfect days' travel between each, allowing the bullocky to easily judge the speed of his animals and know there would be a roof over both his and the bullocks heads after a hard day's foot slogging.

So pour over a Melways and discover for yourself the rough equal distance between many country towns that grew from a simple need for fresh horses!

A list of some of the Ten Mile Towns I should have included yesterday is...
Malmsbury, Kyneton, Carlsruhe, Gisborne, Mt Macedon and Diggers Rest on the way from Mt Alexander and Bendigo.
Buninyong, Ballan, Bacchus Marsh, Melton and Keilor from the Ballarat region.
Wangaratta, Benalla, Euroa, Avenal, Seymour and Kilmore from the Ovens Valley area.


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