Rubicon, the town

Rubicon - a small town on the Rubicon River in the back-blocks of Victoria Australia; 838 meters above sea level; Longitude 145deg 52min 51.7sec East Latitude 37deg 15min 19.7sec South

Rubicon is often mentioned in reports as the wettest or coldest weather station in Victoria; Rainfall 1654mm/annum; Temperature range -5.6C to 37.5C

Home of the Taungurong people for thousands of years. They had been largely exterminated by disease, violence and social dislocation by 1900.

But it wasn't until 1905 that Anglo-celts started logging near Rubicon. Whole families lived in very rough conditions; the logs were taken to the closest town, Alexandra by horse drawn wooden track trains. The last logging company closed down 1953.

hydro-electic generator

The high rainfall and steep hills made the area perfect for hydroelectricity generation; this started in 1924. They leased the railway from the logging companies.

The bushfires of 1939 killed eight loggers in the bush; this saw an end to living in the bush and more people moved into the town of Rubicon.

By the early 1950s the town of Rubicon had 20 or so houses. My mother was post-mistress and my father worked in the Thornton General Store making deliveries to the out-lying villages such as Rubicon and Royston. My mother was only able to get out of Rubicon on Sundays to go to mass.

The summer of 1950/51 was very hot. Mum sat under the bridge with her feet in the frezzing water to keep cool. I was born in April 1951, nine days late.

SEC/Logging Railway, Rubicon 1951

I was the first infant to ride the State Electicity Commissions' maintenance railway. We left Rubicon when I was very young.

I visited the town in 1972. I followed all the maps and was lost; I just couldn't find Rubicon. I got out of my car. Another car stopped just near-by. I must have looked confused. The woman getting out of the other car asked me was I lost. I said I was looking for Rubicon.
She said "You're here".
Oh! This is a town?
"Why are you looking for Rubicon?"
"I was born here."
"Really! How old are you?"
"21 ... You must be the Cogan boy."
"... yes."
My brother Patrick, who was with me, almost fell over.
"... so which house did we live in?"
"That one just over the bridge."

Now in the late ninties, everyone has left Rubicon. The generator is still putting power into the Victorian electicity grid. All the houses have been sold off and carted away except ours.

Historic Reference
"Rails to Rubicon" Peter Evans, LIGHT RAILWAY RESEARCH SOCIETY OF AUSTRALIA Inc. Melb. 1994.

Copyright Julie Peters 1999