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The Bellarine Peninsulas First Road Board and Toll Gate

In 1854 one of the first Government sponsored and locally elected bodies on the Bellarine Peninsula was formed--the Portarlington Road Board. This board was remarkable for the fact that its first Chair was Caroline Newcomb who along with other large landholders took a considerable interest in the development of roads in the district. They also invariably assisted the work by supplying men, horses and carts and materials when work was going through their land. The initial Road Board had only limited means of funding. Toll gates were their main source of funding. Even Melbourne had toll gates (See sketch done in 1853 showing Princes Bridge in the background.) The first toll gate on the Bellarine was at Moolap and would have been designed to pick up all traffic to and from Geelong and possibly from Point Henry

The following are excerpts from “The Geelong Advertiser and Intelligencer” (Vic.: 1851 - 1856), Saturday 14 July 1855, page 2

“. Owing to this being the first Board formed in this district, they have had considerable difficulties to encounter, and expenses to incur, which will not it is to be expected fall to the lot of their successors……

The toll-house and gates have been erected at an expense of £135, from which a considerable revenue was expected. But on account of the lateness of the season, when it was opened, and the ease of evasion, by crossing over to the Queenscliff Road, on which there is no toll-gate, the revenue from this source, has not equalled the expectations of the Board; but the revenue derivable from the toll-gate being for the benefit of the whole district, the Board doubt not, that a considerable increase in the receipt will soon be apparent. Application was made to the Central Road Board and to the Town Council of Geelong, for the erection of a tollgate on the Queenscliff Road

“With the small amount of means at their command, which they trust has been laid out as judiciously as possible, tie Board have been enabled to carry out the following works, viz. :I. Road formed, 1 mile, 416 yards; road partially formed, 1 mile, 144 yards--making a total of 2- miles improved. 2. Making a portion of road with metalled track, and dam at Bellerine, at an expense of £275. This work is considered to be of essential benefit to the inhabitants in that locality, and one urgently required, so that the amount of £71 ls has been subscribed by private individuals to have it carried into effect. 3. The putting down a portion of plank road at the toll-gate, at an expense of £113 10s. “