High Camp 1555 Detail

Located at 51M 49C 83L

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High Camp Station actually had three different, official names. At the time the line opened in 1890, it was named Glenaroua. The Commissioners announced the change to High Camp Plain in October, two months after opening, and then to High Camp in 19... It was located at 51 miles, 49 chains, 83 links (approx. 82.6 rail kilometres) from Melbourne.

High Camp Station was the closest that the residents of Glenaroua came to having their own station, and in an endeavour to satisfy their requirements for something closer, the construction and opening of that part of the line was delayed. However, an August 20, 1891 Kilmore Free Press article, twelve months after the opening of the final line section, deserves a detailed quote. The article is titled 'A Run From The White Gate Station To Tallarook' (By M.G.) and covers a run from the station along the nearby Whitegate Road on the eastern side of what is now the Northern Highway. The article appears more to add weight to an ongoing campaign for closer railway accommodation rather than painting a general image of the local countryside.

"The projected line of railway through Glenaroua, between the points named, formed the theme of conversation amongst a few of us, and I with a friend being in the locality lately determined to have a run through and see for ourselves what the country was like. The station here upon the Kilmore to Heathcote line we found named High Camp Plain. The name White Gate is much more popular, and upon inquiry we found that the latter name took its rise from a white-painted conspicuous gate across an enclosed road, erected in the early days by the late Mr. William Hamilton, of Glenaroua, who owned a large extent of land there.

Leaving the station, we traveled along this road running a few points to the north of east for about two miles. The making of this road is partly finished; the unfinished part was simply abominable - axle deep in mud. However, we noticed metal sufficient to put it into a better state as soon as its condition will permit. At present, all traffic over it is suspended.

The projected line runs a little to the north of this road, and about two miles from the White Gate, the survey diverges, and from this point, two surveys have been made to Tallarook - one according to the plan laid before the Commissioners when the line was asked for, the other by direction of the Department. The former does not cross Mollison's Creek but keeps to the south side of it. The latter crosses the creek twice and is somewhat longer, but I am credibly informed would draw traffic from a very large extent of country and would accommodate a large number of people. The local Committee or League has not, I understand, expressed any decision in favour of one survey more than another, preferring to leave this to the Department, though in giving evidence before the Committee on Railways every member is free to state which survey he believes to be the best.

About four miles from the White Gate we turned off to visit Mr. Figgins, the Honorary Secretary of the Committee, and elicit some information from him, but, this gentleman was from home. However, we were lucky in meeting the Chairman of the Committee, Mr. G.P. Greenshields, who was preparing young vines for next year's planting."

[Mr. Figgins is James Figgins who later became a Councillor for the Shire of Kilmore. A coincidence occurs here as the turn off mentioned in the quote above is the south boundary of property owned by my Great Great Grandfather, Alexander Crockett, whose property adjoined that of Figgins. Alexander's Brother-in-Law, David Robb, owned the property on the north side of Mollison's Creek. Some years prior to his death in 1913, he leased the property to Figgins who bought it as provided for in Robb's Will. Alexander Crockett had remarried and moved to Jerilderie, NSW, by the time the railway was constructed.]

The article continues with details of grapes and other produce grown in the area and the quote continues from just before the suggestion that the proposed line would not pay.

"Though there is (sic.) many items that might be mentioned that would swell the traffic, we expressed the opinion that the district of itself would not at first pay interest upon the capital required for its construction, our shrewd friend, the Chairman, met this objection very readily. He had no sympathy with such a mean, narrow, pessimistic idea. A newly-made railway, through what was practically an unopened district, he looked upon much the same as he looked upon a newly-born child. It might not pay at first, but would develop into something that would pay, and in the case of a railway this development is just another word for opening up the resources of the country."

Greenshields ends with, "Looking at the matter of a line paying at first, had this been the ruling principle all along, it would be interesting to know when the second or third line of railway would have been constructed in Victoria."

Victoria faced a financial crisis in the 1890s. Many economy measures were forced on the Railways Department and High Camp was to continue as the station for the residents of Glenaroua until line closure in 1968.

As is the nature of such things, High Camp Station had some changes during its lifetime and they are not obvious with a casual inspection today. In basic terms, Crawfords Road did not cross on its current alignment. A map of the land sale after line closure shows a different alignment with the road crossing the line at about 100 metres beyond the current road alignment, a short distance on the Heathcote side of the still-standing No. 2 Road buffer stop, at the Down end of the station.

There were two access or approach roads from the highway into the station. The Down end approach road is visible between the goods platform and Crawfords Road. Another approach road existed near the Up end of the station. Access was also available to the West, or passenger side, from Crawfords Road, near the bend.

A walk around the station precinct, especially under the pine trees, reveals other evidence of station infrastructure. Between Crawfords Road and the buffer stop are the remains of the stock yards loading platform. Pieces of concrete, possibly from the stockyard fencing, are also scattered in this area. The original road crossing is behind the buffer stop as depicted in the image. The nearby Northern Highway was re-aligned in the 1970s.

Weekly Notice entries for High Camp.

May, 1904 - High Camp Plain is renamed High Camp.

July, 1904 - The station is worked under Caretaker conditions. It is also closed for telegraph business.

September, 1905 - High Camp is established as a Train Staff Station. The sections are Kilmore - High Camp - Tooborac.

July, 1906 - The Up and Down Home Signals are moved further out.

September, 1907 - No. 24 Crossing Gate is abolished as cattle grids are provided in lieu.

July, 1914 - Plunger Locking is provided for the main running line points.

May, 1915 - Electric Staff instruments are provided and the station may open as an Electric Staff Station as required. The sections are Kilmore - High Camp - Tooborac. A divided staff is provided in the Tooborac section a/c Pyalong.

January, 1918 - The station is opened as Temporary Electric Staff Station.

February, 1918 - The station is disestablished as an Electric Staff Station.

September, 1923 - The station is closed as an Electric Staff Station.

September, 1924 - The station is once again opened as an Electric Staff Station.

October, 1924 - The station is again closed as an Electric Staff Station.

June, 1925 - Owing to the running of ballast trains, the station is opened as an Electric Staff Station.

July, 1925 - The station is closed as an Electric Staff Station.

October, 1927 - The station is authorised to open as an Intermediate Composite Block Post in the Kilmore - Pyalong Electric Staff section.

March, 1928 - The Divided Staff which was previously located at Kilmore (or High Camp when open as an Electric Staff station) is replaced by a new staff located at Kilmore. High Camp may open as a Temporary Staff Station by the Divided Staff in the Kilmore - Pyalong Electric Staff section.

April, 1928 - The Electric Staff instruments are removed. The station may open as a Temporary Train Staff Station by the Divided Staff.

October, 1929 - High Camp is deleted from the list Opening/Closing Electric Staff Stations where switching instrument are not provided.

November, 1929 - The Up and Down Home Signals are removed.

July, 1931 - High Camp is deleted from the Temporary Train Staff Station by Divided Staff list. It may open as an Intermediate Composite Block Post in the Kilmore - Tooborac Electric Staff section when Pyalong is not.

September, 1936 - No. 2 Road is removed.

December, 1941 - The passenger and mixed train service is withdrawn between Wallan and Bendigo.

March, 1942 - The passenger train service is reinstated between Wallan and Heathcote.

October, 1962 - High Camp is reduced to No-one-in-Charge.

July, 1963 - The cattle race is removed.

June, 1965 - The station is closed to passengers.

November, 1966 - The sheep race is removed.

November, 1968 - Finally closed to all traffic.

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