From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Bairnsdale Victoria Aust Mit1.jpg
Bridge over the Mitchell River in Bairnsdale
Bairnsdale is located in Shire of East Gippsland
Coordinates 37°50′0″S 147°37′0″E / 37.83333°S 147.61667°E / -37.83333; 147.61667Coordinates: 37°50′0″S 147°37′0″E / 37.83333°S 147.61667°E / -37.83333; 147.61667
Population 11,820 (2011)[1]
 • Density 494.6/km2 (1,281/sq mi)
Postcode(s) 3875
Elevation 49 m (161 ft)
Area 23.9 km2 (9.2 sq mi)[2] (2011 Census UCL)
LGA(s) Shire of East Gippsland
State electorate(s) Gippsland East
Federal Division(s) Gippsland
Mean max temp Mean min temp Annual rainfall
20.1 °C
68 °F
8.3 °C
47 °F
643.6 mm
25.3 in

Bairnsdale (/ˈbɛərnzdl/, locally [ˈbeːnzdæɪl])[3] is a small city in East Gippsland, Victoria, Australia. With an urban area population at the 2011 census of 11,820, it is a major regional centre of eastern Victoria along with Traralgon and Sale.

Bairnsdale is the commercial centre for the East Gippsland region and the seat of local government for the Shire of East Gippsland.

The origin of the city's name is uncertain. It would have almost have certainly been Bernisdale, with "Bernis-dale" originating from "Bjorn’s dale", or glen which indicates the Viking origins of the Skye Village. Legend has it that Macleod was impressed by the number of Children on the run, the children of his stockmen, that he called it Bairns-dale, or "valley of the children".[4]


Bairnsdale is sited on a bend of the Mitchell river, with the river flowing from the west along the northern edge of the town, before turning south to flow along the eastern edge, although suburbs are now found across the river to both north and east, e.g. Wy Yung, Eastwood and Lucknow. The river floods at frequent intervals to a minor level with major flooding experienced approximately every 10 years, inundating areas of the town close to the banks and closing major transport routes including the Princes Highway during significant flood events.

The Mitchell River flows into Lake King and Jones Bay at Eagle Point Bluff. Extending beyond Eagle Point Bluff are the Mitchell River silt jetties (a type of digitate River Delta), second only in length to those formed at the mouth of the Mississippi River in the United States, although now the longest in the world since Hurricane Katrina reduced the length of the Mississippi River delta.

Bairnsdale's commercial centre is laid out along the wide avenue of Main Street which is a continuance of the Princes Highway and contains the beautiful and historic Main Street Gardens and St Mary's Catholic Church.


Bairnsdale Shire[edit]

Bairnsdale was first proclaimed a shire on 16 July 1868 [4] and it was proclaimed as a city on 14 July 1990.[5]

In 1876 the Bairnsdale Shire, which went on to become one of the largest in Victoria in the 1880’s, was led out of administrative chaos by former shire auditor and shipping agent Herman Bredt. He had also acted as a mine manager for the nearby Sons of Freedom mine. German born Bredt was the father of Bertha Bredt who married the famous Australia poet and writer Henry Lawson. Prior to this she had worked at the Bairnsdale Hospital. In this period the Main Street was fashioned but was unsealed thereby causing extensive problems of dust in the summer and mud in the winter. Asphalting didn’t take place until 1883. Nicholson Street was formed in 1877 and McLeod Street followed in 1879.[4]


One of the greatest infrastructure developments in the 1870’s was the addition of the main street drain that proved effective against some of the common water borne diseases. However in the 1880’s the wear and tear of the system saw diphtheria increase. Better drains were created in the 1890’s but not before outbreaks of typhoid.[4]

Water Supply[edit]

Plans were floated in 1884 for the town’s water supply. Tanks were erected in Main Street from which residents could draw water. Later John H. Grainger who designed the new Princes Bridge in Melbourne delivered plans to build a reservoir west of the township and for this to be connected to a pumping-plant and an elevated tank in the town itself. Contracts totaling £6,132 were made for Potter and Roberts to build the reservoir. The pipes were laid by soon after with John Jefferson appointed the engineer of the works. By 1890 reticulation of the town was ready to take place.[4]

Road and Rail[edit]

The 1880’s were seen as the ‘Golden Age’ for steamer traffic on the rivers and Bairnsdale was seen as one of the major colonial ports. The brick railway station opened in 1890 with other platforms and railway infrastructure being completed at the same time. The contractor R. Kreokel won the contract for the work to be carried out for the amount of ₤2,322.[4]

Shipping services from Bairnsdale to metropolitan areas linked with the railway so local primary producers could send their goods off to the markets in the major centre of Melbourne. As a consequence of the more frequent use of rail and the advent of refrigerated carts in 1890 which allowed dairy farmers and fishermen to appropriately transport their produce, the last coach service between Sale and Bairnsdale ran in 1889.[4]


The Mitchell river flats were always prone to flooding and 1891 bore witness to the flood that was only second in extent to the great floods of 1870. The biggest floods recorded were in 1893-94 with them being 76mm higher than the 1870 water levels. All floods caused the township great suffering with loss of life, infrastructure and crops. The flooding that occurred in the 1893-94 was notable for the gallantry of Patrick Piggott and George Brooks who both worked to rescue people. However, on their last trip their boat tipped as they moored it and both men were swept into the river and drowned. A witness remonstrated that; the very last, they fought bravely for their lives against fearful odds.

Both men are remembered upon a marble tablet installed at the Mechanics’ Hall (The Bairnsdale Library).[4]


The Bairnsdale cemetery is now located off Forge Creek road opposite the race course. Its original location was situated at punt flat, now the site of the Mitchell Gardens Holiday Park beside the river. A plaque in acknowledgement of the site is located at the south-east corner of the Caravan Park.

As a result the major flooding in 1870 the site experienced erosion and reports were made that that remains were washed downstream. Peter Moroney, Shire Secretary at the time, instructed William Jefferson to retrieve the remains and they were re-interred at the present cemetery.[6]

A monument to Eliza Anne Archer who died 28th October 1847. Wife of John Archer - Manager of Lucknow Station and earlier pioneer of the area. Erected at Crooke Street, East Bairnsdale

Frederick Jones was the earliest of the squatters in the Bairnsdale Shire. Jones had previously been a school teacher in Castlereagh Street, Sydney. In the early 1840s Jones joined one of the early pastoralists in the Gippsland area, William Odell Raymond, at Omeo – he was traveling south from the Wellington area where he owned land on the Macquarie River across the border in New South Wales. They arrived at the Mitchell River crossing on 20 June 1842. Once in the region Jones decided to take up the area of Lucknow. He named it such, in contrast to the other settlers Frederick Taylor and John M. Loughnan who had taken up Lindenow – the reason being that Jones had left Sydney a poor man and he felt auspicious about his new life and hence felt his ‘luck’ was on the ascendancy.[4]

In 1848 John Archer who was a retired sea-captain was appointed manager of Lucknow Station. Jones traveled back to New South Wales to visit his run on the Murrumbidgee. Archer had been a master on the Letitia which operated between Sydney and Hobart and later, traded cattle between Port Albert and Hobart. In 1845 Archer married a young girl named Eliza and brought her to Gippsland, settling at Lucknow in 1847. Eliza died in childbirth and her grave can still be seen to this day by the roadside in Crooke Street, East Bairnsdale. The inscription on the headstone reads ‘Sown in weakness, to be raised in power’.[4] The monument is not on the original burial position, several house blocks to the west, and has been moved down the street as houses have been built.[7]

It is thought that this headstone is the only remaining evidence that there was indeed a cemetery in this location in the 1800's.[6]

Post Office[edit]

The Post Office opened on 2 February 1858 at Lucknow and was relocated to the township and named Bairnsdale on 3 April 1862.[8] Lucknow remains as a suburb of Bairnsdale.


Climate data for Bairnsdale (Bairnsdale Airport 1942-2013)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 44.0
Average high °C (°F) 25.8
Average low °C (°F) 12.8
Record low °C (°F) 4.2
Rainfall mm (inches) 47.5
Avg. rainy days (≥ 0.2mm) 8.7 8.4 9.0 11.1 13.1 13.4 14.1 13.2 13.7 13.5 12.1 11.0 141.3
Source: Bureau of Meteorology[9]


The spectacular murals adorning the interior of St Mary's Church
The historic Band Rotunda in Main St

One of the most notable landmarks of Bairnsdale is the St Mary's Roman Catholic Church in Main Street known for its distinctively tall tower and murals on its ceiling and walls. These murals were painted by out of work Italian artist Francesco Floreani during the Great Depression and remain a fascination to this day.

Also of note are the gardens maintained on the median strip of Main Street. This very wide median strip stretches from the Mitchell River to the western edge of town, a distance of about 4 kilometres (2 mi). The main garden section runs for over 500 metres (550 yd) through the central commercial district and features beds of flowering annuals and perennials, numerous mature deciduous and evergreen trees, war memorials and a restored historic band rotunda. The rotunda was constructed in 1910 and restored to its present condition in 1993.


Educational facilities in Bairnsdale include two high schools, Bairnsdale Secondary College which has approx 1600 students (Government) and Nagle College which has about 1000 students (Catholic Private), a number of primary schools and kindergartens, and limited tertiary education facilities mainly consisting of the East Gippsland Institute of TAFE.


The road bridge over the Mitchell River, at the eastern entrance to Bairnsdale

Bairnsdale's main form of transport is the automobile. The city is near the junction of the Princes Highway and the Great Alpine Road. Bairnsdale is 285 kilometres (177 mi), or approximately three hours drive, east of the state capital Melbourne.

Rail transport is facilitated by the major railway station in Bairnsdale railway station which is the terminus of the Bairnsdale railway line. V/Line provides rail services.

Bairnsdale Cabs provides a local taxi service around the city.

Bus service is facilitated by Gillicks Bus Lines, Dysons Bus Lines (V/Line) and Goodalls Bus Lines as well as a number of others in Bairnsdale and surrounding areas.

The East Gippsland Rail Trail begins in Bairnsdale. Almost 100 kilometres (60 mi) in length, the multi-use trail permits walking, cycling and horseriding as it follows the alignment of the former railway line to Orbost.

Bairnsdale also has a small regional airport.



Bairnsdale's local newspapers are the Bairnsdale Advertiser for sale on Mondays and Fridays and East Gippsland news delivered free on Wednesday every week. Both publications along with several others are owned and published by East Gippsland Newspapers.[10]


Commercial television networks Prime7, WIN and Southern Cross Ten all broadcast into Bairnsdale from the Latrobe Valley transmitter at Mt Tassie as well as local relay transmitters located at Mount Taylor approximately 12–13 km NNW from Bairnsdale. All the commercial stations are based in Traralgon and have local commercials placed on their broadcasts. WIN TV also broadcasts a local news bulletin from Monday to Friday at 6.30pm. Both national public broadcasters, ABC (ABC1) and SBS (SBS ONE) are broadcast into Bairnsdale as well, relayed from Melbourne via Mount Tassie.

New channels broadcast by all the networks in addition to the ones listed above are available on the digital service called Freeview (Australia) to viewers in Bairnsdale and the Gippsland \ Latrobe Valley region. These channels include ABC2, ABC3, ABC News 24, SBS Two, One HD, Eleven, 7Two, 7mate, GEM and GO!.


Local commercial radio services TRFM 99.9, 99.5 and Gold 1242 are operated by Ace Radio and broadcast to Bairnsdale and most listeners in the Gippsland as far east as the town of Orbost. The Gold 1242 AM 1242 kHz transmitter is located in Myrtlebank between Maffra and Sale. ABC stations Triple J and ABC Classic FM are broadcast from Mount Tassie. ABC Radio National and ABC News Radio are rebroadcast locally from Mount Taylor. ABC Gippsland radio station 3GI broadcasts into Bairnsdale on 828 AM from Longford, near Sale.


Motocross racing in Bairnsdale

The town has three Australian rules football clubs, with Bairnsdale Football Club (the Redlegs) competing in the Gippsland Football League and Lucknow and Wy Yung competing in the local East Gippsland Football League.[11]

Bairnsdale has a horse racing club, the Bairnsdale Racing Club, which schedules around eight race meetings a year including the Bairnsdale Cup meeting usually held on the first Sunday in January.[12]

The town has two field hockey clubs in the East Gippsland Hockey Association. The Bairnsdale Hockey Club is based at the WORLD fields, while the Nagle Hockey Club is based at Nagle College, just out of town to the west.

Golfers play at the Bairnsdale Golf Club on Paynesville Road, Eagle Point [13] or at the course of the Goose Gully Golf Greens on Balfours Road.[13]

With its close proximity to the Gippsland Lakes and Ninety Mile Beach, along with easy access to the Mitchell, Nicholson and Tambo Rivers; Bairnsdale proves to be a popular destination for recreational anglers and good catches are reported regularly. Bait and tackle supplies, along with the required angling licenses are readily available in Bairnsdale.

Bairnsdale is also home to the Bairnsdale aquatic and recreation centre (BARC) which is the largest indoor sports complex in country Victoria and contains 2 swimming pools, 3 basketball courts, several Gym rooms and the Forge theare.

The Riviera triathlon club, based in Bairnsdale, run events all year round including the popular "mini tri's" on Wednesday nights at the BARC between October and March.

Bairnsdale Cycling Club run road races most weekends throughout the year taking in the scenic terrain around the Gippsland lakes and foothills of the great dividing range, the club is home to talent such as Daniel McConnell a 2 time Olympian and mountain bike world cup winner. The Gippsland Mountain bike club holds many events around the area. Bairnsdale is an excellent mountain biking destination with Mt Taylor downhill and cross country trails only 10 minutes drive North, Colqhoun park 15 minutes East and Mt Nowa Nowa only a 35 minute drive.


Curtis Australia is a pen manufacturing business that originated in, and is based and operated in Bairnsdale.

Notable people[edit]


  1. ^ Australian Bureau of Statistics (31 October 2012). "Bairnsdale (Urban Centre / Locality)". 2011 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 2013-05-05. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ Australian pronunciations: Macquarie Dictionary, Fourth Edition (2005). Melbourne, The Macquarie Library Pty Ltd. ISBN 1-876429-14-3
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Adams, John (1987). Path Among The Years - History of Shire of Bairnsdale. Bairnsdale: Bairnsdale Shire. ISBN 0731605527. 
  5. ^ Victorian Municipal Directory, Brunswick: Arnall & Jackson, 1992, p. 292  Accessed at State Library of Victoria, La Trobe Reading Room.
  6. ^ a b Tim Gibson (1996). Monumental Memories - Bairnsdale Cemetery. Bairnsdale: Kapana Press. ISBN 0947071210. 
  7. ^ "Eliza Archer Monument". Victorian Heritage Database. Retrieved 17 February 2014. 
  8. ^ Premier Postal History, Post Office List, retrieved 2008-04-11 
  9. ^ "BAIRNSDALE AIRPORT". Climate statistics for Australian locations. Bureau of Meteorology. Retrieved 20 March 2013. 
  10. ^
  11. ^ Full Points Footy, Bairnsdale, retrieved 2008-07-25 
  12. ^ Country Racing Victoria, Bairnsdale Racing Club, retrieved 2009-05-07 
  13. ^ a b Golf Select, Bairnsdale, retrieved 2009-05-11 
  14. ^ "The strange tale of the first royal stalker". Retrieved 30 January 2014. 
  15. ^ Mail, Daily. "The world's first celebrity stalker unmasked: The 14-year-old boy who broke into Buckingham Palace and stole Queen Victoria's knickers". Mail Online. Retrieved 30 January 2014. 
  16. ^ "Henry Goodenough". Retrieved 30 January 2014. 
  17. ^ "List of Men at Eureka". Retrieved 30 January 2014. 
  18. ^ "Eureka Stockade:Goodenough's testimony". Retrieved 30 January 2014. 
  19. ^ "Jonathon Kendall". Linked in. Retrieved 22 February 2014. 
  20. ^ "Terry Bourke 1940-2002". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 30 January 2014. 
  21. ^ Rec, Box. "Will Tomlinson Global ID: 460117". BoxRec. Retrieved 30 January 2014. 
  • Gardner, P.D. (1997) Names of the Great Alpine Road Between Bairnsdale and Omeo. Ensay: Ngarak Press.
  • Land.vic Vicnames

External links[edit]