The 1866 Post Office Directory Victoria Australia

This Victorian Post Office Directory, from Google Books, gives the details of many Victorian towns and their inhabitants in 1866. Gold Offices and a Squatters Directory and transport details are included.

Advertisement from The Victorian Post Office Directory 1866

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.

Hotel Advertisement from The Victorian Post Office Directory 1866

The Victorian Gold Rushes 1851 and Immigration Australia

The Victorian Gold Rushes in Australia from 1851 saw a huge increase in population. Many of our ancestors came for gold and many were born on the goldfields. Many also died there.

While looking at records from the Pioneer Index for Victoria which covers the period 1838-1888 I noticed that a huge number of records related to gold rush towns and settlements. Their names reflect their gold prospecting origins as well as the different nationalities of immigrants. So many places were gullies, leads, creeks, flats, diggings and they were all far from Melbourne.

Some interesting place names are Yankee Creek, Deep Lead, Italian Gully, Jobs Gully, Scotchman’s Lead, Welshman’s Reef, Frenchman’s Creek, Eldorado, Digger’s Rest and Chinaman’s Flat.

Gold Rush Vic Narrena Fossickers Ballarat
Gold Rush Vic Narrena Fossickers Ballarat

While investigating the impact of gold I came across this interesting article on a great site which answered some of my questions. I have included parts of it below.

Immigration and Ethnicity: Overview – Theme – Electronic Encyclopedia of Gold in Australia


“Immigration and Ethnicity: Overview

When we talk about the Victorian gold rushes, that occurred from 1851 onwards, we are really talking about people, specifically the movement of people. During the gold rushes, people moved on a small scale: trying their luck at different locations on the diggings, or shifting from one town to another. Many people moved from the city of Melbourne into the centre of the colony, leaving certain industries and businesses desperate for workers. There was movement between colonies too, for example hundreds of workers abandoned the copper mines in South Australia and switched to gold seeking in Victoria. Many folk in Melbourne were appalled to see Vandemonians streaming into Victoria from Tasmania to look for gold, fearing increased crime and social unrest.

But perhaps the most significant population movement was the migration of thousands of people from overseas countries to the Victorian goldfields. The influx led to dramatic changes in Victoria’s population, and more importantly, to its society and culture. This group of people is described as the ‘gold generation’, a generation that left a profound and lasting impact on the colony and on the Australian nation. Continue reading “The Victorian Gold Rushes 1851 and Immigration Australia”