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Local Petition for Moorabbin Roads Board

The Government Gazette of December 20, 1861 informed readers that a petition had been presented to the Commissioners of Public Lands and Works requesting that the parishes of Moorabbin, Mordialloc and Dandenong should be declared a Road District. [1]

The landowners and householders of the Parish of Moorabbin forwarded a counter petition in which they ‘humbly prayed’ that the Parish of Moorabbin not be included within the boundaries of the proposed district. [2]

They gave six reasons for their objections:

1. The three parishes were too extensive to form a Road District.

2. The Parish of Moorabbin, without the Municipality of Brighton, was sufficient in size, population and revenue raising potential to warrant it being proclaimed a Road District in its own right.

3. The Parish of Moorabbin, excluding Brighton, consisted of about twelve thousand acres of purchased land of which about three thousand acres was under cultivation, supporting a population of upwards of two thousand two hundred people and about forty five miles of roads.

4. The township of Dandenong, situated at the farthest extremity of that Parish was the only Township within the three named Parishes and would probably be selected as being the place of elections and of Board meetings. Few residents in Moorabbin would find it convenient to travel twelve or fourteen miles to record their votes and the majority would be virtually disfranchised.

5. The meetings of the Board would probably be held at night and it would be difficult to obtain the services of representatives at the Board as few persons would be willing to incur the risk of travelling such a distance in all weathers along bush tracks and through a country absolutely dangerous to travellers in winter after dark.

6. As Moorabbin is principally inhabited by market gardeners it would contribute a much larger proportion of revenue than either of the Parishes of Dandenong or Mordialloc which consist principally of grazing paddocks and unfenced land.

The petitioners then described the area they believed should form the Moorabbin Roads District.

‘Commencing at the North East angle of the Brighton Municipality, thence East to the North East angle of portion 63 Parish of Moorabbin, thence South by the East boundary road of that Parish to the Shores of Port Phillip Bay, thence by the shore Westerly and North Westerly to the South West angle of the aforesaid Municipality, thence by the South road or South boundary of said Municipality East to the Main Road from Melbourne to Western Port thence by the North East and East boundary of said Municipality along said Main Road towards Melbourne Northwesterly and Northerly by Thomas Road to the North East angle of said Municipality being the point of commencement.’

The landowners and residents who signed the petition are listed in the table below. In some instances the signatures were indecipherable or covered by ink blots making their identification impossible or extremely difficult Note the various spellings for the Residence entry for Moorabbin: including Morabing, Morrban, Morrabbin, Moorrabbin and Morabine. In some cases it appears as if the petitioner adopted the spelling used by the previous person.

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Author

Graham J Whitehead

Footnotes

  1. Roads Boards were the precursors of Shires.
  2. With the government’s intention to sell land in the Port Phillip Bay District in 1837 Robert Hoddle the surveyor was instructed to establish parishes “as nearly as may be an area of 25 square miles and to be described by a clear and well defined natural boundary line” [Michael Cannon (Ed) Historical Records of Victoria , Volume III, page 102] Each parish was to be named using “a native appellation or any hill or place therein.” Each parish was then divided into portions. In addition, provision was to be made for a Town or Village as well as public roads and places for cattle where water was available. 
  3. A copy of the petition for the creation of the Moorabbin Road District was presented to the City of Moorabbin on the occasion of the Centenary meeting of the Council held May 16, 1962 by the Minister of Local Government, Murray Porter.

Article Cat. Land and Environment
Article Ref. 135

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