Common - 1861
A declaration of war did happen in Keilor town. The war
was between a few stock dealers. There was a battle placed
out on the hills of the village with young men rolling down
cobble-stones from the tops of the hills onto the invaders.
Then it really got serious when the sheep-owners and shepherds
came to protect their flocks armed with guns. They were
disarmed finally and the battle concluded on this eventful
There were restrictions on the number of horses and cattle
able to be grazed. The children of the commoners protected
their parents rights when neighbouring people deliberately
leased agistment on one side (their land being on the other)
so that they could move their animals across the common.
The children did protect their parents stock by throwing
stones and rocks, which were plentiful in the area, at the
shepherds accompanying slow moving flocks
The Gold Rush period of the 1850s
This was a prosperous time for the innkeepers along the
Mt Alexander Road (Calder Highway). "There flowed
the miners and their followers... the little village had
never known, with gold the lure... escorts, bushrangers,
stage coaches". Hotel
profits were high. One hotel on this road banked 4,000 pounds
in hotel takings for ten days of trading in 1852.
A fortune in gold was transported along this roadway. The
gold transported back from the goldfields to Melbourne was
The Argus 30th July, 1852
"The Ballarat Escort had not arrived in town at
a late hour last evening. We were informed at the treasury
that it would not be in until today. The Mt Alexander Pack
Horse Escort may be expected in this day and it will be
the precursor of another monster escort conveying some 80
or 90 thousand ounces of gold." (14 million pounds).
A number of gold escort robberies occurred.
First police station in Keilor was established in 1853
An iron clad prefabricated single room building was established
as the first police station. Upper Keilor police station
- Keilor Plains, (Sydenham Park).
'Constables' newly registered traveled through Keilor to
quell the riots. They stopped at the Keilor Hotel but only
the officers got shelter, the others had to sleep outside.
"All persons sworn in as special constables during
the late disturbances on the Ballarat Gold Fields are requested
to return the baton supplied to them to the Inspector of
Police, Swanston Street, 26th May 1855." (Source:
Police Gazette 1855)
Crimes in Keilor C19th
Stolen from Lower Keilor; 1 black mare, branded PC
on off shoulder, lump on forehead from a kick; "A
reward of 100 pounds is offered upon conviction of the thief
or thieves or 10 pounds if strayed". (Source:
Feb.17, 1854 Police Gazette)
Richard Clay charged with highway robbery at Keilor, has
been apprehended in Sydney, NSW 28th Sept. 1854 Police
18th April 1858
Patrick Ryan was fined two pounds and 4/6 costs for "furious
driving over Keilor Bridge" 18th April 1858 Court
Records Cause List books 1858-1869.
Built on Crown Land in 1859.
Keilor Court of Petty Sessions heard cases of debt, assault
and minor theft. After the formation of the Keilor Roads
District in 1863 the court house also served as the municipal
Keilor Road Station (Sydenham)
1861 The Age Aug.12
"Information has been received of a daring robbery
under arms, committed at the Union Hotel on the Ballarat
Rd, on the evening of the 9th inst. It appears that at about
6pm 3 men entered the parlor of the inn and called for ale,
which was served them, and for which they paid. They sat
there till 8 o'clock, when they all 3 suddenly entered the
bar, presented pistols at the landlord (Mr Harvie) and the
other inmates, demanding their money or their lives.
Having got what they could, they tied the hands and feet
of their victims, and proceeded to ransack the house, and
having taken all they could to a sum of 14 pounds 4 shillings,
3 silver watches, 1 lady's gold ring and 1 gentleman's signet
ring. The police are on the alert and are vigilantly prosecuting
the search for the marauders." Two of the robbers
were identified and arrested that same month for this crime.