All aboard!

A coastal holiday to Port Campbell or Princetown in the 1890’s was made more accessible with the advent of a horse coach service provided by Bill White and sons. The service ran from the railway terminus in Timboon to Port Campbell and beyond to coastal guesthouses as far east as Princetown.

Early tourism interest in the area was generated by public interest and newspaper reporting around shipwrecks including the Loch Ard in 1878, Newfield in 1890 and Fiji in 1891.

The wreck of the Falls of Halladale on the 14th November 1908 became a tourist attraction in its own right. Many locals and holiday makers enjoyed views of the wreck in the summer of 1908 — 1909 before ocean swell and explosive charges used in the salvage operation left nothing of the vessel above sea level.

The first 10km of the Twelve Apostles Trail between Timboon and Parratte Recreation reserve would have closely followed the old coach route before it headed east along Cameron’s Hill Road.

At this point the challenge of transporting tourists and their luggage along slippery sections of track required some innovation. A corduroy road fashioned from small logs fixed together and placed horizontally across the track in steep sections ensured Mr White and his horse teams could gain traction and safely transport visitors in most conditions.

Timboon Railway timeline

  • The contractors, Messrs. Buscombe, Chappel & Bell took three years to construct the line and it’s impressive historic trestle bridges some of which can still be viewed today.
  • Timboon Railway Line opened 5th April 1892
  • The 1916 Government Railways Standing Committee rejected the submission to extend the line to Port Campbell.
  • Closed 8th December 1986

This story was put together with the assistance of and access to the collections of the Heytesbury and District Historical Society.

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Great Ocean Road Regional Tourism acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the Great Ocean Road region the Wadawurrung, Eastern Maar & Gunditjmara. We pay our respects to their Elders, past, present and emerging. We recognise and respect their unique cultural heritage and the connection to their traditional lands. We commit to building genuine and lasting partnerships that recognise, embrace and support the spirit of reconciliation, working towards self-determination, equity of outcomes and an equal voice for Australia’s first people.