History

The township of Redesdale is on the Kyneton-Heathcote road, 95 kilometres north-west of Melbourne and 35 kilometres south-east of Bendigo. It is located in the City of Greater Bendigo local government area. A History of Redesdale (530 pages) was published in 2016 by local historians Ken James and Noel Davis.

 

The parish and township was named after Captain Robert William Rede, goldfields commissioner and sheriff of Ballarat at the time of the Eureka Stockade Rebellion in 1854. The township grew up near Monro’s Crossing at the Campaspe River, catering to miners en route to the Heathcote Goldfields.

 

More extensive settlement of the area in the 1860s by predominately Catholic groups of settlers prompted the survey of the Redesdale township and the sale of the first township blocks in 1871. The township was gazetted in December 1881.

 

Redesdale established itself as a solid agricultural township. After the construction of a branch line railway in 1891, with Redesdale at its terminus, the township became an important railhead. Farmers travelled some distance from Sutton Grange, North Redesdale and Myrtle Creek to deliver dairy produce or market stock at the station stock yards. Red gum saw timber mills flourish, and even rabbitters discovered the railway offered them new and more lucrative markets.’

 

A Catholic school and chapel opened in about 1865, replaced by the still functioning St Lawrence Catholic church in 1874. The building is of English Gothic Bluestone design. A Bible Christian Church existed from 1872 to late in the 19th century and a Presbyterian church from 1880 to the 1960s, the latter taking over the Bible Christian bluestone church building. Today it is a private residence. There have been seven schools over time in the Redesdale district. The sole school today is Redesdale-Mia Mia Primary School which serves the children of both districts. In 2015 there were eighteen students.

 

In 1868 the Redesdale steel lattice-truss bridge was built across the Campaspe River. The trusses for the bridge were originally imported for a river crossing in suburban Hawthorn in 1859. Ten years after the ship bringing the trusses to Melbourne caught fire and sank in Hobsons Bay, the trusses were salvaged and used to erect the bridge.

 

Redesdale Railway Station was one of seven stations on the 26-kilometre Redesdale branch line which opened on 15 January 1891. The branch line left the main Bendigo line at Redesdale Junction to the north of Kyneton and ended at Redesdale. After 63 years of service, the Redesdale Railway closed on 29 June 1954. Ken James, Noel Davis, David Langley published A History of the Redesdale Railway Line 1891-1954 (238 pages) in 2014.

Today the district is still a strong agricultural area, predominantly of fine wool properties but some new industries have been established in the form of wineries, olives and walnuts. Its services are made up of a general store, primary school, Country Fire Authority (CFA) unit, hotel and cafe. The population of Redesdale and environs in the 2011 census was 273.

 

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