In the early years of settlement, carriers transported goods from Melbourne to Bonnie Doon by horse drawn carts. This mode of transport was tedious and quite dangerous. In 1885, tenders were called for works on a railway line between Yea and Mansfield much to the delight of local farmers who envisaged easier transport of their produce to the city and better supplies from Melbourne to their homes and stores. The Yea to Mansfield line was constructed in stages, completing the first stage to Molesworth in1889 and finishing in the last stage to Mansfield in October 1891. Incidentally, it was the same year Doon changed its name to Bonnie Doon.

Bonnie Doon’s railway station served the township for more than 60 years until Melbourne’s growing population demanded an ever-increasing supply of food, which could easily be supplied by the Goulburn Valley, if it had adequate irrigation water.  In order to ensure a dependable water source for that purpose, it was decided to enlarge the Sugarloaf Reservoir (renamed Lake Eildon). This of course, meant flooding the Bonnie Doon township and part of its railway line. Subsequently, houses were moved to higher ground and the works on a rail line diversion, which included the building of a new rail bridge, commenced. In 1955, the rail bridge across the now flooded old township and farming land was completed with the first train moving across.

The rail service continued for 23 years, to be replaced by bus services for public transportation and by trucks for hauling stock and other freight. Following closure of the line in 1978, dismantling occurred very quickly, allowing the track to revert back to nature and becoming overgrown. In 1999, after $65.000 of Government funding financed the construction of handrails and a path, the Bonnie Doon Rail Bridge was opened as a walking and cycling trail. 

In 2004 the Mitchell, Murrindindi and Mansfield Shires developed a Business Plan for the Goulburn River High Country Rail Trail’ covering the entire line from Tallarook to Mansfield. After securing funding of $14M from federal and state coffers, the construction work of one of the longest rail trails in Australia began and was completed in 2011

 BD station early 1900s

Bonnie Doon Station Early 1900s 

BD Station 1973

Bonnie Doon Station 1973

 Old Bridge

Original rail and road bridge

New Bridge relic

Relic of original road bridge with current bridges in the background-looking south

Bridges Bonnie Doon 1912

The original road bridge with the rail bridge in the background-looking north (1912)


Railway Department Memo 1893

BD Station 1913

Bonnie Doon Station 1913

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