The Victoria Post Office Directory 1866 gives an amazing snapshot of life in Victoria in 1866. Gold had been discovered in Victoria in 1851 and the population went from 80,000 to 500,000 in 1860.
The Victoria Post Office Directory 1866 by H. Wise can be viewed and searched online in Google Books.
I think it could help with deciphering the place name abbreviations in the Victorian Birth, Marriage and Death records in the Pioneer Index, which covers the period 1838 to 1888. Some of these towns don’t exist today or have had name changes, so looking through this list may help identify possible place names for records.
At the beginning of this directory there are also calendars for the years 1866-67.
It goes on to cover the names and addresses,and sometimes occupations and businesses of people in the Melbourne area.
Then the following towns inhabitant’s details are included:
Aitken’s Gap, Albury, Amherst, Ashby, Avenel, Avoca, Bacchus Marsh, Ballan, Ballarat, Beechworth, Benalla, Beveridge, Bourke, Broadford, Broadmeadows, Browns, Bungaree, Bunniyong, Burrambeet, Carisbrook, Castlemaine, Chiltern,Chilwell, Christmas Town, Clunes Coghill’s Creek, ,Coomoora, Corowa, Creswick, Daylsford, Deniliquin, Digger’s Rest, Donnybrook, Dowling, Duck Ponds, Dunolly, Echuca, Eltham, Essendon, Euroa, Evelyn, Everton, Flemington, Forest, Franklinford, Fryers Town, Gap, Geelong,Gisborne, Glenlyon, Gordon, Guildford, Heathcote, Heidelberg, Hepburn, Huntley, Inglewood, Joyce’s Creek, Keilor, Kilmore, Kingston, Kyneton, Lauriston, Learmonth, Lexton, Little Swamp, Lilydale, Loddon, Majorca, Maldon, Malmsbury, Maryborough, Melton, Miner’s Rest, Moonee Ponds, Moorabool, Mornington, Myrniong, Newtown, Pentridge, Pyalong, Queenstown, Rutherglen, Sandhurst, Scarsdale, Seymour, Smeaton, Smythesdale, Springs, Spring Creek, Springfield, Stanley, Stoney Creek, Sunbury, Talbot, Tallarook, Tarnagulla, Tarrawinge, Templestowe, Vaughan, Violet Town, Wadonga, Wahgungah, Wallan, Wangaratta, Warrenheip, Wimmera, Woodend, Woods Point, Wooragee, Yandoit and Yackandandah.
It also lists Gold Offices on the Gold Fields at Ararat, Avoca, Ballarat, Beaufort, Beechworth, Benalla, Blackwood, Castlemaine, Creswick, Daylesford, Dunolly, Heathcote, Chiltern, Jamieson, Majorca, Maldon, Maryborough, Morse’s Creek, Sandhurst, Smythesdale, Stawell, Talbot, Tarnagulla, Wood’s Point and Yackandandah..
After this is a Squatting Directory for Victoria in 1866.
There are coach times from Melbourne to many locations. From Bourke St to Kilmore took 5 hours.
The Travellers Road Guide gives distances from Melbourne and means of transport available.
To get to Clunes from Melbourne involved going by rail to Ballarat and then by coach whereas to get to Alberton taking a steamer to Part Albert was necessary. Distances from Melbourne are given from most locations.
Another section called “General Information about Country District” gives distances, nearby towns, often populations and services and sometimes alternative names.
At the end of the book are many advertisements for a variety of services and products which give some insight into life in Victoria in 1866.