Route: Bowman's Track (VIC, Australia)
The Route was submitted by Tim Bowman (no relation):
Bowman’s Track, constructed in 1862, was instigated by publican Janet Bowman to facilitate access for travellers from Beaconsfield to the Jordan Goldfields in the Yarra Valley. This year is the 30th anniversary of the opening of the interpretation plaque and way finding markers for Bowman’s track erected in 1988 as part of Australia’s bi-centenary celebrations.
Janet Bowman Boulevard in Beaconsfield, off O’Neil Road is close to the original Bowmans track. Janet Bowman came to Victoria from Scotland in 1840 with her husband David and then to Beaconsfield in the early 1850’s. In 1855 David took up the lease for the title to 200 acres on the Panty Gurn Gurn lease, covering what is now the township of Beaconsfield. Later in the year he was granted a licence for the “Gippsland Hotel” which was known as “Bowman’s Inn”. David and Janet had 6 children and built a homestead believed to be near where Villa Mar now is on O’Neil road.
After her husband died in 1860, this enterprising woman became the licensee for the Hotel, a remarkable achievement for a woman of her time. Even more remarkable and innovative was her achievement of having a track cut through rugged terrain from Beaconsfield into the Yarra Valley linking to the Jordan goldfields. Her 4 sons and some other men worked on the track in 1862. It started behind the Hotel and then travelled eastward to where O’Neil Road is today and then north. The track now has the present day names of Hughenden Road, Telegraph, Split Rock Road, Downey, Bourke’s Creek Road, Paternoster Road and Mt Burnett to Boyd Road, East Beenak to Basan’s corner.
Over time the signs have fallen into disrepair or gone missing. So, now 30 years from the Bicentenary, Cardinia Shire Council are replacing the signs along the track and have made a new interpretation plaque with a map and story of Janet Bowman and the history of the track.