Tonight’s Ringwood Historical Society meeting included a presentation from a former Ringwood East resident who discussed the history of Ringwood’s railways.
The rail line from Hawthorn to Camberwell was completed in April 1882 and later extended to Lilydale in December of that year. The 1st of December 1882 marked the opening of Ringwood Station and operated as both a goods and passenger service.
The extension to Upper Ferntree Gully occurred six years later in December 1889 and the line was extended to Belgrave in 1962.
The construction of Ringwood Station, between Wantirna and Warrandyte Roads, was chosen due to its flat land despite not being the centre of activity in Ringwood at the time. The chosen site had major ramifications for the development of Ringwood, with it refocusing the centre of Ringwood around the railway station and away from the antimony mines of Ringwood East.
Croydon Station was also opened on the 1st of December 1882, however it was known as Warrandyte until 1884. The renaming occurred to prevent confusion when passengers realised they still had to catch a coach service from the station to arrive at Warrandyte.
The other stations within Maroondah were opened after electrification, which began in 1924 and was completed by 1926. Ringwood East Station was opened on the 18th of May 1925 and Heathmont was opened on the 1st of May 1926. The grade separation of Warrandyte Road occurred as part of the electrification works.
The history of Ringwood has been dramatically shaped by the railways and it was rather fitting that the proclamation of the Borough of Ringwood (severed from the Shire of Lilydale) occurred in 1924 during the time that the Ringwood line was being electrified.
Following the history of Ringwood’s railways, the Society’s presentation Russ Haines provided a history of antimony mining within Ringwood. Mining had a huge impact on the settlement of Ringwood, with extensive antimony mining occurring from 1869 until 1892. Antimony was used extensively during that time for the manufacturing of rubber, pewter, paint pigments and within the print industry.
Approximately 3,600 tonnes was mined between 1873 and 1889 with mining occurring during Summer months. The antimony was processed during Winter months due to the 30 feet (9.1 metre) deep mines being susceptible to rising water tables.
A number of mines existing within Ringwood with the most prominent being Boardman’s Antimony Company, which was located on the current site of the Maroondah Civic Centre. The company briefly resumed operating between 1920 and 1934 due to the Great Depression.
The many layers of Ringwood’s history provide a diverse and unique history for the area. The Ringwood Historical Society meets on the fourth Tuesday of each month at Federation Estate. For further details visit www.rhs.org.au.