This blog provides information, stories, links and events relating to and promoting the history of the Wimmera district.
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Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Vanishing Ashens

An addendum to the Railways - Melbourne to Adelaide line post, adding in the tiny siding of Hopefield (or Ashens).
The information comes from Vida Roberts, whose grandfather Henry W. Aumann selected 317 acres of Ashens Parish in 1872. He named the land ‘Hopefields’.
Ashens Parish showing the diagonal rail line passing through Allotment 220
When the railway pushed through the 10 mile section from Lubeck to Murtoa in 1878, it passed through Henry’s Allotment 220, and being the nearest landowner to the siding, the siding became Hopefield. By 1920 the siding took on the name of the Parish and had become Ashens.
Rail line from Ararat to Serviceton in 1890
The siding had a platform with a shelter shed of roofing iron with wooden benches, and a gatehouse occupied by a railway fettler and his family, who manned the railway gates at the Jackson Road intersection. The trains ran at least half-hourly in its heyday (except on Sundays), with 2 north-bound and 2 south-bound passenger trains daily. Potential passengers flagged down the train by waving a red flag stored in the Flag Box in the shelter shed. By 1900 the gates were replaced by ‘Railway Crossing’ signs, but the fettler remained.
The line in 1920 (the Riachella/Wal Wal Ballast branch line already closed)
The siding was changed to ‘Ashens’ after protests of mail and goods bound for Hopetoun were off-loaded at Hopefield.
Today the railway still passes by, but traces of the siding have vanished.
Satelite view of the Hopefield area

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