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the quarry & history

Wybejong Park

  • Wybejong Park, formerly called Stone Reserve, was a place where basalt was extracted to build road and railway bridges.  Stone Reserve was originally set aside, in the late 1850s, to supply stone for bridgeworks and maintenance on the Bendigo railway line.

  • In past decades this long, narrow strip of Crown Land (about 3 hectares), along the creek was burnt off, leaving a blackened landscape visible from the road.


The Railway

  • Before the railway was built in the late 1850s, the orchard growing area of Sandy Creek was the main settled area in the district. It was the railway, pushing through to the goldfields around Mount Alexander and Bendigo that led to the development of the town. 

  • The railway also led to the excavation of the lake in Walter Smith Reserve (Lake Park). The water in the lake was used to replenish the steam engines that stopped at the station.


Township Development

  • In those days, the only development in the current township was a bluestone house, Cairn Hill, built around 1840 by Scottish cousins John Carre Riddell and Thomas Ferrier Hamilton. After arriving in the Colony of Victoria in 1840, Riddell and Hamilton purchased about 1500 acres of land.

  • By 1861, as the construction of the railway line moved north, the railway tents and shanties on the Riddell-Hamilton property became the site for the town we know today. 


Smith's Nursery

  • As the little camp of tents and shacks grew to build, service and capitalise on the railway, the renowned Smith's Nursery was established half a kilometre upstream to supply exotic plants to the new colony. Plantings near the road bridge and the rare collection of pine trees at Lake Park are a legacy of that era. 

  • The nursery supplied many of the exotic trees for the parks and gardens of Melbourne, Kyneton and Bendigo. It also supplied Cork Oaks to the colony's first chief botanist, Prussian-born Baron Ferdinand von Mueller, who planted them as his "signature trees" wherever he went. The Baron was a founder of the Royal Victorian Botanical and Zoological Society of Victoria.


Signature Trees

  • The old Cork Tree near the spillway is one of the Baron's signature trees. It grows in what was known as the Green Patch.   The Golden Oak, replanted a few years ago after the original suffered storm damage, is another special tree. Small branches from the old tree were placed on the graves of old settlers in a ritual reminiscent of the Druids.


Stone and Steps

  • Wybejong is on the site of the old quarry that supplied stone to build the beautiful bridges over the creek.  The Carre-Riddell car park was the town’s stock watering area next to the cordial factory.

  • The quarry steps arrived in 2001 from Stoneman's Demolition and Recycle yard in Thomastown. It was originally the fire escape steps at the nurses’ quarters at Footscray Hospital.

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