Never miss a thing in the Macedon Ranges
Your Macedon Ranges is a free weekly email that keeps you informed about activities and events in the Macedon Ranges. Published every Sunday.
With thanks to Malmsbury Historical Society.
Popple Town sounds like it could be found in a kids’ TV show.
In fact, it was the name given to the tent “village” inhabited by the workers who built Malmsbury Viaduct.
(“Popple” means the heaving, bubbling or rippling of water.)
The viaduct’s foundation stone was laid on October 25, 1859, by the Commissioner of Public Works, the Hon. G. S. W. Horne. About 500 people were present, including children from the National School, who had marched in procession behind a flag bearing the words “Advance Malmsbury”.
They saw an enormous block of bluestone weighing about 2.5 tons placed over a hole into which a bottle containing copies of the Mail and Advertiser newspapers had been deposited.
When work on the viaduct began, about 600 men and 40 horses were engaged on the Malmsbury section of the railway line.
Five hundred of those men were occupied in quarrying bluestone for the works, all the stone coming from within a mile of the viaduct. Thirty eight masons and labourers were employed to dress the stones, and the constant service of another 30 men was required to lay them.
The final keystone was inserted on October 25, 1860, and the viaduct’s stonework was completed in February 1861.
At the start of the works, Mr Horne had looked to the future with no thoughts that the time capsule hidden beneath the foundation stone might one day be recovered.
The viaduct, he said, “would probably last for ever”.
📘 History of Malmsbury, by Roslyn Stevens, can be purchased for $10 (plus postage) by emailing Malmsbury Historical Society. Alternatively, copies are available at Malmsbury Bakery and Malmsbury General Store.
Enjoyed this article?
Get one like it every week by subscribing to Your Macedon Ranges
“I am so happy to be able to receive your emails and keep up to date with what’s going on in the area as well as learning a bit of local history!”