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Werribee Railway Station Date Stone - Timeline


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Werribee Railway Station Date Stone - Timeline




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1852, June

The G&MR company is formed for constructing a railway from Geelong to Melbourne.  At the same time another company is formed for a line to Mount Alexander and the Murray River to connect to Melbourne.

The Argus, 22 January 1859, p.1 (Supplement)

1853, 8 February

Act of Council incorporating the G&MR company is passed empowering it to construct a railway.  

The Argus, 22 January 1859, p.1.


Mr Chirnside, ‘the proprietor of a large portion of land between the Little River and the Kororoit Creek’, makes a ‘liberal arrangement’ regarding the land the company will require.  

Bells Life in Victoria and Sporting Chronicle, 27 June 1857, p.2.

1853, 20 and 27 May

The design of a seal for the G&MR company is discussed and is to be ordered from Macartney and Galbraith for the cost of £50.  Mr Snell is instructed to prepare a plan of the terminus proposed for Geelong.  He prepares designs for the line and most of the railway buildings and places orders for engines and carriages from England. 

Minutes Vol. 1

1853, 22 September

On 22 September the Railway is inaugurated. Lieutenant-Governor, Charles La Trobe turns the first sod at the Geelong Terminus and a foundation stone is laid together with a jar of coins celebrating the event.  He is presented with a gold trowel designed by the architects, Snell & Kaweau.  It is a Geelong undertaking with all the shares sold in Geelong.

Geelong Advertiser & Intelligencer, 11 October 1853, p.5.

1854, April

Land is advertised in the company township of Swindon at Duck Ponds on a main coach road 10 miles from Geelong and 35 miles from Melbourne.  This ‘modern’ model town is to have a ‘great railway station’ on the new Geelong to Melbourne line. The plan is ready for inspection.  

The Argus, 13 April 1854, p.9. ;

Geelong Advertiser & Intelligencer, 14 April 1854, p.2.

1854, June

Choice allotments in the ‘Railway Township of Swindon’ are advertised. The estate owner draws attention to the rail line coming to this township. He will ‘give every facility to Mechanics, Artizans [sic], and others desirous of establishing there, and invites suggestions from intending settlers’.

Geelong Advertiser, 9 June 1854, p.7.

1854, 21 June

The use of ‘convict labour’ for constructing the line is recorded in the G&MR Minutes.  Also on 6 September 1854.  

Minutes of meeting 6 September 1854, PROV VPRS 1280/P/000, Unit 2

1854, July, August, September

Tenders for the rail line from Duck Ponds to Little River to the Werribee or Exe River are advertised.

PROV VPRS 06545/P0000, Unit 0000001, V2 G&MR press cuttings, p.26, p.29, p.34

1854, 13 September

Melbourne to Hobsons Bay Railway is opened.


1855, October

Snell’s engineers’ report states ‘that stone of an excellent quality, splitting into blocks of any size, and suitable for building purposes, had been quarried on a portion of the line’.   

G&MR press cuttings, p221 [possible source The Herald, 29 October 1855]

1855, May

Daniel Gooch, chief engineer to Britain’s Great Western Railway Company, is supervising the building of carriages for the G&MR.  

Geelong Advertiser & Intelligencer, 13 May 1856, p.1.


For a great part of the year the G&MR advertises for quarrymen and laborers for various segments of the line at Cowie’s Ck, Duck Ponds, Little River and Werribee. 

The Argus, 1 April 1856 p.1 

The Argus
, 19 August 1856 p.1;

The Argus, 11 September 1856 p.1.

1856, June

Tenders for a rail bridge over the River Werribee (also known as the Exe) about 25 miles from Geelong are advertised in the Argus and local Geelong papers.  Plans and specifications are to be viewed at the engineer’s office, Geelong.

G&MR press cuttings, p.95

1856, July

The first train on the line is tested on a 6 mile public excursion between Geelong and a location just before Duck Ponds.  By November the line had been completed to Duck Ponds.   

The Age, 3 July 1856, p.3;

The Age,
3 November 1856, p.6.

1856, November

Tenders will be received ‘for the erection of a station at the Duck Ponds.  Plans and specifications may be seen at the Engineer’s office’.  [Annotation in the G&MR cuttings book indicates that advertisements are placed in Geelong and Melbourne newspapers in December and January, however a search for these was unsuccessful].  

G&MR press cuttings, p111 (source of the cutting not provided in the book)

1856, November

The G&MR Board resolves that the station formerly planned for Duck Ponds Station will now be built at Werribee.  Builders McClement & Holly, who had won the tender for Duck Ponds, agree to erect the station in the new location provided the company pays extra for the conveyance of materials.  The Board defers consideration of the Duck Ponds Station to the next meeting.          

Minutes of meeting 28 November 1857, PROV VPRS 1280/P/000, Unit 2

1856, December

Trains are to run to Duck Ponds at Christmas.  Rides are advertised in the Geelong Advertiser on 24 December 1856. 

G&MR press cuttings, p.111

1857, 6 February

G&MR company minutes report that builders McClement and Holly have not advised whether they will carry out their tender to construct the Werribee Station.  The company resolves to re-invite tenders for the job.


The plan of the Duck Ponds Station is approved and tenders are to be invited.

Amendments to Cowie’s Creek station are approved and tenders are to be invited.


Minutes of meeting 6 Feburary 1857, PROV VPRS 1280/P/000, Unit 2

1857, 7 February 

Tenders for construction of Werribee Station are advertised in the Geelong Advertiser on 7 February and will be received up to Tuesday 16 February. Plans and specifications to be obtained from the engineer’s office, Geelong.  

G&MR press cuttings, p.114

1857, 10 February

John Ponsford’s tender of £28 for additional work to Cowie’s Creek is accepted.  

Minutes 10 February 1857, PROV VPRS 1280/P/000, Unit 2

1857, 17 February

Tenders for Werribee Station & platform are tabled from the following contractors:

  • Cragg, Dale and Nash
  • C. Dunnett
  • Rankin
  • McClement & Holly
  • Musson, Ross and Co
  • W. Candy

[Most of these companies had been tendering for the various G&MR contracts as they came up].

It was resolved to accept Charles Dunnett’s tender, the amount of which is not stated, ‘for the whole of the works funding all the materials.  The Company conveying the materials as far as the rails extend, the work to be completed on or before 11 May’.

Tenders for Duck Ponds Station and platform are received from Cragg, Dale and Nash, William Martin & Rankin, McClement & Holly, William Candy, John Ponsford and others. The contract is awarded to Cragg and Co.  The cost is not stated in Minutes.

Minutes 17 February 1857, PROV VPRS 1280/P/000, Unit 2

1857, 20 February

The Duck Ponds contract is signed and sealed.

The Werribee contract is not signed and Dunnett is requested to attend the next G&MR board meeting, the terms of the contract not being in accordance with their acceptance of the tender. 

Minutes  20 February 1857, PROV VPRS 1280/P/000, Unit 2

1857, 24 February

Discussion on the Werribee contract is postponed to the next G&MR board meeting. No reason is stated for the delay.

Minutes 20 February 1857, PROV VPRS 1280/P/000, Unit 2

1857, 3 April

A cheque of £197.00 is made to C. Dunnett but particulars of the payment are not stated.  It is assumed to be associated with Werribee Station.

It is stated that the line as far as Werribee Station had been inspected on 1 April.   

Minutes 3 April 1857, PROV VPRS 1280/P/000, Unit 2

1857, 17 April

The company will erect a windmill at Werribee Station.  

Minutes 17 April 1857, PROV VPRS 1280/P/000, Unit 2

1857, 24 April

Dunnett is paid £148.00 for work on contract no.75, presumably Werribee Station.

Minutes 24 April 1857, PROV VPRS 1280/P/000, Unit 2

1857, 8 May

The G&MR directs ‘That Mr Snell’s attention be requested to the proposed alterations in the Werribee Station and to the estimate of increased amount’. 

Minutes 8 May 1857, PROV VPRS 1280/P/000, Unit 2

1857, 16 May

Cragg & Dale’s tender of £45.10.0 is accepted for the Werribee Station windmill with the work to be completed ASAP. 

Minutes 16.5.1857, PROV VPRS 1280/P/000, Unit 2

1857, 22 May

Dunnett is paid £178.00 presumably for his work on Werribee Station.

Minutes 22 May 1857, PROV VPRS 1280/P/000, Unit 2

1857, 2 June

‘C. Dunnett’s application to be supplied with stone from the Werribee – read and price was fixed at 2/3 cubic foot to be delivered on the Station and measured before removal’.  This is presumably for the bluestone station.


Minutes 2 June 1857, PROV VPRS 1280/P/000, Unit 2

1857, 3 June

Stationmasters are to be appointed for stations at Geelong, The Nugget, Cowie’s Ck, Duck Ponds, Lt River, Werribee as well as piermasters, guards, porters and pointsmen.  On 9 June the company substitutes the name West Geelong for The Nugget.

Minutes 2 June 1857, PROV VPRS 1280/P/000, Unit 2

1857, 9 June

John Ponsford, who had been building Cowie’s Ck Station, is behind for want of stone.  

Minutes 9 June 1857, PROV VPRS 1280/P/000, Unit 2

1857, 12 June

Dunnett is paid £271.2.6 (work not described).

Minutes 12 June 1857, PROV VPRS 1280/P/000, Unit 2

1857, 19 June

Dunnett is paid £264.0.0 (work not described).

Minutes 19 June 1857, PROV VPRS 1280/P/000, Unit 2

1857, 25 June

On Thursday 25 June the Geelong to Melbourne railway is opened.  An official train carrying the Governor, Geelong Mayor, other esteemed guests and crowds of passengers travel from Geelong to Greenwich [later Newport] and back, where they celebrate with a banquet.  During the journey the Governor inspects the new wooden bridge over the Exe built with ‘massive bluestone buttresses’. The ‘commodious station-house’ there is still ‘in the course of construction’ with the land ‘essentially pastoral … and is at the present time used chiefly as a sheep walk, and has some claim to the picturesque from the steepness of its banks and the grotesque character of the timber skirting them’.    

The Age, 27 June 1857 p.4.

1857, 26 June

Mr Barker is appointed station master for Werribee at £150 per annum.  Other masters are also appointed at Duck Ponds and Little River for the same salary.

Minutes 26 June 1857, PROV VPRS 1280/P/000, Unit 2

1857, 4 July

Dunnett is paid £86.12.6 and £345.0.0 (work not described).

Minutes 4 July 1857, PROV VPRS 1280/P/000, Unit 2

1857, 7 July

The engineer’s report to the G&MR's 8th ½ yearly meeting states that erection of the Werribee Station has cost £1,200.0.0.  

The Age, 9 July 1857, p.5.

1857, 10 July

A tender advertised in the Geelong Advertiser for the supply of stone for the railway states that it is quarried locally at Stony Rises.

G&MR press cuttings, p.126

1857, 14 July

Committee member Mr Hammitt is to report on ‘what part of the Werribee Station can be used as a refreshment room’.

Minutes 14 July 1857, PROV VPRS 1280/P/000, Unit 2

1857, 21 July

Mr Chirnside is reimbursed 25/- for sheep killed on the line.

Minutes 21 July 1857, PROV VPRS 1280/P/000, Unit 2

1857, 4 August

Mr A. Griffiths submits a tender of £345.0.0 per annum to run the Werribee Station refreshment room.  The committee resolves not ‘to entertain tenders until the completion of the Werribee Station which will be in about three weeks’. 


Minutes 4 August 1857, PROV VPRS 1280/P/000, Unit 2

1857, 8 August

Payments to contractors include £200.0.0 to Dunnett (work not described).

Minutes 8 August 1857, PROV VPRS 1280/P/000, Unit 2

1857, 11 August

The committee resolves that fittings and furniture for the Werribee Station refreshment rooms are to be provided by the tenant subject to the approval of the engineer, Mr Snell.  The rent is to be paid quarterly for a term of 2 years and no accommodation will be provided.

Minutes 11 August 1857, PROV VPRS 1280/P/000, Unit 2

1857, 14 August

Dunnett is paid £200.0. (work not described).


1857, 21 August

Dunnett is paid £200.0. (work not described).


Six tenders are received for running the refreshment room at Werribee Station.  Mr Martin is successful, with the annual rent set at £627.10.0. 

Minutes 21 August 1857, PROV VPRS 1280/P/000, Unit 2

1857, 11 September

Dunnett is paid £150.0.0 (work not described).


Minutes 11 September 1857, PROV VPRS 1280/P/000, Unit 2

1857, 18 September

Cragg and Dale’s tender for alterations to the Werribee Station refreshment rooms is received.  The plan is referred to the engineer, Mr Snell in order that he ‘might add the necessary accommodation for the Station Master’.  

Minutes 18 September 1857, PROV VPRS 1280/P/000, Unit 2

1857, 22 September

Cragg and Dale’s tender for completing Werribee Station’s refreshment counter and booking office for £59.0.0 is accepted.

Minutes 22 September 1857, PROV VPRS 1280/P/000, Unit 2

1857, 26 September

Payment of £5.8.0 is made for ‘Werribee Station labour’.

Minutes 26 September 1857, PROV VPRS 1280/P/000, Unit 2

1857, 2 October

Mr Martin asks for additions to be made to the Werribee Station refreshment rooms.  His request is referred to the engineer. 

Minutes 2 October 1857, PROV VPRS 1280/P/000, Unit 2

1857, 6 October

The tender from Dunnett and Cragg & Dale to alter the windows at Werribee Station is accepted for £16.5.0.  

Minutes 6 October 1857, PROV VPRS 1280/P/000, Unit 2

1858, July

Letter to newspaper complaining that land along the railway is owned by squatters and is uninhabited by settlement and thus contributes little or nothing towards the returns of the company’ with few people using the stations. 

The Age, 1 July 1858, p.4.

1859, June

Tenders for the erection of stone cottages for gatekeepers along the line and a stone store at Werribee Station are advertised in the Geelong Advertiser, on 10, 13 and 15 June.

G&MR press cuttings, p.158

1858, July

Holley [sic ?] & Co has the contract for constructing the stone store at Werribee Station with the stone to be provided by the company.  The cost is £160.10.0.   

Geelong Advertiser, 16 July 1859, p.3.

1858, November

Reporter describes the train stopping at Werribee to refill the engine with water ‘and the passengers nobblers of coffee, brandy, beer or other liquor, with edibles at pleasure (of purse).  At this, first station our tickets were demanded, viséed, and returned’.

The Star (Ballarat), 24 November 1858, p.3.

1879, February

Werribee Station’s ‘stone inscription dated 1857’ is referred to and the ‘woefully dreary’ size of the surrounding township, which shows a less thriving appearance than it did when the station was first created’.

Bacchus Marsh Express, 1 February 1879, p.2.

1885, June

The Werribee Hounds assembled at the Werribee Railway Station on Saturday, with a ‘special train being run for the convenience of the members of the hunt’.

The Sportsman (Melbourne), 3 June 1885, p.4.

1888, May

Date of a Victorian Railways Dept architectural drawing showing improvements and additions to the Werribee Station.  These are not undertaken until 1896.    

Source of drawing unknown. 

1896, July

The sewerage works and subdivision of the Chirnside Estate into farms has increased traffic at the Werribee Station to the extent that the government 6 months ago commenced improvements and now the station ‘has undergone a complete transformation’.  It includes new ‘booking office and operating room’ and the ‘ladies’ waiting room has been enlarged and fitted out with all the necessary improvements.  A lamp room has been made out of the old booking office, and a new signal box erected at the Melbourne end of the platform, while at the Geelong end the passenger platform has been extended about 50 feet.  The old iron goods shed that stood at the entrance to the platform has been pulled down with chaff and hay loading platforms 3 feet above the level of the rails and extending for a distance of about 275 yards.  On the other side of the line and opposite where the old goods platform stood a loading for horses has been made.  An extensive goods shed has been erected, covered by a verandah at the back and front measuring 100 feet in length.  A line runs past the front of the shed, which is surrounded by a 10 feet platform.  Another siding also runs into the old goods yard, where loading can also be done.  An extra cross over has been made near Cook’s gates, and all the roads leading to the new platforms formed and metalled.  The railway yards have been interlocked, and all semaphores and points connected with the new signal box.  All the improvements and alterations are now completed’.  The stone fabric of the building has been rendered whereas previously the bluestone was exposed.     

The Age, 4 July 1896, p.7.

1898, June

Councillor GT Chirnside criticises the state of the Werribee Station and calls on people to ‘pull together’ to ‘get their railway station made what it ought to be.  At present it is an unsightly agglomeration of back yard conveniences obstructing what should be, and could easily be made to be, a boulevard of Parisian elegance and convenience’.  

Bacchus Marsh Express, 4 June 1898 p.3.


In about 1923 the station is reduced in status from a 5th to a 6th class station and locals are outraged and protest to no avail. 

Werribee Shire Banner,13 August 1925, p.2.

1925, August

Takings at the station have increased with more people living in the area and using the line.  There are calls to restore the station to its former status. 

Werribee Shire Banner, 13 August 1925, p.2.

1926, June

Lara Station, which is built of wood, is destroyed by fire.  It is rebuilt in brick.

The Argus, 16 June 1926, p.10.

1927, 15 May

The stone and wood Werribee Station is gutted by fire after 9pm on Sunday night.  In less than 90mins the porch, main office, store room, general waiting room and ladies’ wait room are completely destroyed.  Articles saved include the platform clock and seats from the waiting rooms. Damage is estimated to be £1,200.0.0.  The cause is a mystery.  Reports do not mention the date stone, which may have been salvaged later in the clean-up.

The Age, 16 May 1927, p.9.;

The Argus, 16 May 1927, p.12.;

Werribee Shire Banner, 19 May 1927, p.3.

1927, 26 May

An enquiry into the cause of the fire is held and a report will be submitted.

Werribee Shire Banner, 26 May 1927, p.2.

1928, March

In late March, Werribee Station staff change from a temporary office to new premises.  The fire had destroyed the main portion of the station and some people question whether it ‘may have been beneficial’.  The new section is ‘fairly roomy’ at about 55ft long by 25ft wide and has no partitions or frosted windows unlike before.  When fully operational with the latest telephony installed, ‘it will be regarded as one of the best in Victoria’.     

Werribee Shire Banner, 29 March 1928 p.3.;

Werribee Shire Banner, 5 April 1928, p.1.


Red brick offices are built at VicRail’s Railway Workshop complex in Laurens Street, North Melbourne.  The front east wall of the building incorporates the 1857 sandstone date stone from the Werribee Station.  The stone is thought to have been salvaged from the station after the fire in 1927.     

Butler; RBA

2007, May

VicTrack seeks advice from Heritage Victoria regarding the future location of the 1857 date stone currently at the ‘North Melbourne sidings’.  What is their position on its removal, storage and re-installation, level of restoration and the process that VicTrack should follow?  Heritage consultants, Lovell Chen do not recommend installing it ‘in any external location and the future use of the building has yet to be decided making an internal installation problematic’.  ‘John Brodal of the Werribee Conservation Society has repeatedly insisted that it be returned to the station’.  


Email to Heritage Victoria from Kurt Price, VicTrack, 3 May 2017

2017, August

Laurens Hall is about to be demolished to make way for a new station as part of the $11 billion Metro Rail Project.

In a submission to the project in 2016, the National Trust had requested that the building be retained if possible, or if removal is required, for relocation to be considered. It also urged the project managers to conduct archival recording before any demolition. 

The Age, 21 July 2017 (The Age online)


RBA Conservation Architects are commissioned to photographically document the Laurens Street Railway Workshops complex prior to demolition.  Images of the date stone attached to the red brick wall are included in the survey. 



Michele Summerton, “Werribee Railway Station Date Stone - Timeline,” Wyndham History, accessed February 6, 2023, http://wyndhamhistory.net.au/items/show/2620.


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