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Hoppers Crossing

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“Hoppers Crossing,” Wyndham History, accessed April 20, 2019, http://wyndhamhistory.net.au/items/show/1159.
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Hoppers Crossing

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text

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eng

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Text

The name Hoppers Crossing was already in common usage as far back as 1910.  Hoppers Crossing is named after the Hopper family who lived on a farm near the rail crossing.  Stephen Hopper was a railway ganger for last 33 years of his life and after the death his wife attended the railway gates for many years.

The original Hoppers Crossing was the spot where the Princes Highway (the Geelong/ Melbourne Road) crossed the Melbourne to Geelong rail-line and until boom gates were installed, with flashing lights and ringing bells it remained a very dangerous crossing.  Drivers on the Geelong road who foolishly tried to beat the train through the old manually operated gates often came to grief and there were many fatal accidents.

Until the 1940s, the road ran north of the railway line and crossed at Hoppers Crossing and followed south of the railway line through Werribee.  Expansion of the RAAF Base at Laverton during the war years meant that the road needed to be diverted or the traffic would have to be suspended as users would be in extreme danger of losing life and property in the event of heavy planes landing against a southern breeze.

Railwaymen on the Geelong line knew the area as Hopper’s Hill; the steep gradient out from Skeleton Creek meant that goods trains would often have haul their cargo up in two sections.

At the beginning of the 1960s Hoppers Crossing consisted of little more than a Kopacka’s general store near the railway crossing on the Geelong Road. The 1961 Census lists only 161 people living at Tarniet and 69 living at Truganina.

The first residential development occurred in 1963 when former shearer, H.L. Baden Powell began to subdivide farm-land he had acquired in Tarneit. The first blocks sold for $600. Even though the sub-division began a boom in residential housing, basic infrastructure taken for granted in other Melbourne suburbs: telephones, public transport, sewerage, made roads, even kerb-side post-boxes —took a long time coming to Hoppers Crossing.

Heath’s Road, today a bustling thoroughfare, remained unmade for years and turned to mud in winter.  In an attempt to bring change to the lack of infrastructure the Hoppers Crossing Ratepayers Association was formed in the 1968 and met first in member’s homes.  Pressure was put on the government to guarantee a reliable water supply, a sewerage system, family services and a train station. The first community hall the locals virtually built for themselves from two disused RAAF huts purchased from the Laverton Base.

After much lobbying with Council, land was allocated on the Mossfiel Reserve.  Council agreed to pay transport costs to transfer the huts, but the community had to erect them.  This took much longer than anticipated due to a lack of community support and muscle power.

In 1969, grass fires in Tarneit and Truganina swept towards Hoppers Crossing, burning grass on vacant lots in Mossfiel Estate and across Morris Road.  Fire debris reined down on Mossfiel Park, and fire jumped from Derrimut Road to Mossfiel Drive.  Fierce winds clocked at 138km ripped tiles off houses.  A great deal of damage was sustained by outlying farms.  Residents were shocked into an awareness of country living.  

Hoppers Crossing station opened on 16 November 1970, on the west (Werribee) side of the adjacent level crossing.  It was relocated to the east side of the crossing in 1983 in conjunction with the electrification of the line to Werribee.  

The first school, Mossfiel Primary opened with over 200 pupils in 1970, followed St Peters Catholic School soon after.  Woodville Park Primary School opened in 1973.  A post office was opened in 1975.

Some street names in Hoppers Crossing pay homage to former farming families.  Morris Road was named after the farming family headed by Martin and Emma Morris, who both died in 1937.  Heaths Road was named after Mr Heath’s farm, near Tarneit Road. Mr Heath also had a grocery store in Werribee.

Many street names in the Mossfiel Estate were named after former Richmond Football Club players as H.L.B. Powell was an avid Richmond fan.  In the Cambridge Estate many streets honour the names of Shire presidents.

Bibliography

Bevilacqua, M., Grocott, S. and Martin, C. Hoppers Crossing, a bushfire out of control: a demographic, community and social profile of a rapidly growing urban area on the outskirts of Melbourne, May 1991.
Hames, Gwen So You Live at Hoppers Crossing, 1995
Place Names Within the City of Werribee, 1992.
City of Werribee, 1993
The Bacchus Marsh Express (Vic. : 1866 - 1918), 19 February 1910, p. 3
Werribee Shire Banner, 8 February 1917 'OBITUARY.',
Werribee Shire Banner (Vic. : 1911 - 1952), 16 September 1937, p. 3, viewed 22 May, 2013, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article74714269 'OBITUARY.',
Werribee Shire Banner (Vic. : 1911 - 1952), 7 October 1937, p. 2, viewed 22 May, 2013, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article74714356 'MELBOURNE ROAD ALTERATION.', Werribee Shire Banner (Vic. : 1911 - 1952), 27 July 1939 p. 5, viewed 22 May, 2013, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article74058145
Werribee Shire Banner, 21 May 1964 Werribee Shire Banner , 8 January 1969, p. 1

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