Below Except From: "Reminiscences Of Early Dandenong"
In 1858 the Government undertook the formation of a road from Melbourne to Sale, and made an allocation of £30,000 for the section from Melbourne to Bunyip. This road started from the old Star Hotel, Windsor, which was then a celebrated hostelry, and gradually it crept through the bush on its way to far-off Gippsland. Messrs. Cox and Bennett were the contractors, and a first-class job they made of it.
I remember well the piece from the (now) intersection of the Cranbourne and Berwick roads towards Hallam. It was an atrocious quagmire in winter, and an appalling gridiron in summer. The countless droves of bullocks from Gippsland had made ridges across the track, and these in time had become so deep that the cattle had to step high negotiating them. Vehicular traffic, represented by bullock drays, could not travel over it, but had to make other tracks through the adjacent bush. Tho difficulties that the contractors had to face and overcome were stupendous. But surmount them they did, and the road-bed, as it shows up in places to this day, testifies to the thoroughness of (the work of these pioneer road-malcers.
But this is getting on too fast.
When the squatting runs which embraced Dandenong and district were cut up and thrown open to the selectors, the question of a main road through to Gippsland was one of much talk and of great Importance. Even so early in the History of the colony as this (1854) there was that procedure which was then inelegantly termed "duck-shoving,” meaning that underground influence was brought to boar on the question of running the line of road along the course most favored by, and of most benefit to, the persons who had the power to so direct it. That applied to the road through the township.
There were three routes surveyed from Melbourne as far as Dandenong. One went through Brighton, and is that now known yet as the “Brighton road," the existing line being almost identical with that of the original survey. In those days Brighton was regarded as a sort of semi-terminus to the road from Melbourne, in the direction of Gippsland.
Tho second track took ‘‘the route of the hills,” by way of Prahan and Caulfield, and then diverged through the flats between the latter place and Dandenong. But this was soon abandoned, on account of the heavy, sticky country through which it led, it being literally a series of glue pots.
The third was a continuation of the hill route, diverging from the “glue pots” at Caulfield, and so on through Oakleigh and Springvale, and is the main Gippsland road to-day.
The intention at that time of the surveyors, and the wish of' those who had axes to apply to the grindstone, was that the main road should go to Gippsland straight along McCrae street; and, anyone coming into the town from Melbourne will see at once the fitness of that decision; but the wire-pullers got to work, and, instead of a straight and good road over suitable and firm country, the track was swerved around the corner opposite the market, past the hotels, through a swamp from Walker street to the creek, and so on to the intersection of the Berwick and Cranbourne roads.
The swampy ground was filled in at enormous cost, and which fact possibly in small measure contributed to the crushing burden which our beautiful little town has carried since its infancy, and is still carrying.