Boisdale 3860

Boisdale is situated on the Avon River ten kilometres north of Maffra and about 212 kilometres east of Melbourne. The Boisdale run, taken up for Lachlan Macalister in 1842, stretched from the Avon River west to the Macalister River. It is thought to be named after a Scottish location. In 1850, the lease was secured by John Foster, one of many runs he held in Gippsland. After selection in 1861 he still controlled about 6,000 acres at Boisdale.

In 1892 a son, Askin Foster, took over the management of the property. Previously thousands of cattle and sheep had been grazed on the undulating plains. From 1896 Askin Foster subdivided part of the property into smallholdings of 120-160 acres for dairy farming. Each farmer was provided with house, sheds, dairy herd and tools. By 1901 there were thirty one farms and eventually thirty five. Advances in technology in the dairy industry assisted their success. This private settlement scheme brought an influx of population, establishing many families who are still represented in the area.

A butter and cheese factory was built in 1900 to process the milk and cream, and village of Boisdale was built around the factory to house its employees. There was a store and bakery, butchery, confectionery shop, stables and blacksmith. A hall was built in 1904. It contained a library and was used as church and school until a school was built in 1910.

In 1911 a portion of the Boisdale Estate was purchased for closer settlement. Blocks were taken up immediately, but the settlers suffered several poor seasons and drought. One of the conditions of settlement was a committment to grow sugar beet to supply the the beet sugar factory at Maffra. After poor crops and a scarcity of labour during the First World War, the compulsory beet growing clause was removed. Also the need for a permanent water supply had become apparent. Glenmaggie weir was constructed on the Macalister River, providing the first irrigation water in 1925. By the early 1940s, dairying had become more profitable and the beet sugar factory closed in 1946.

In 1892 Askin Foster had a new house built on a ridge overlooking the plain. It was constructed of Hawthorn bricks and Marseilles tiles, with red pine used internally. Its modern design included electricity, running hot water and drainage. The stables were equally modern, and of the same brick and tiles. Seven acres of garden and orchard surrounded the homestead. The estate is now reduced in size, and managed by a great grandson of Askin Foster.

Boisdale is the location of a Consolidated School formed by the amalgamation of six small schools, including Boisdale and Boisdale Estate. The Consolidated School opened in 1951 with 265 pupils, providing primary and secondary education with an emphasis on agricultural interests.

In 1911, the population was 274 and in 1933 was 479. According to the 1994 Victorian Muncipal Directory Boisdale is only a small township, but has many social organisations to serve its closely settled farming community, including a consoilidated school, mechanics' institute, general store and shops hall, churches, fire brigade, Red Cross, and scouts, football,netball,cricket, tennis clubs.

Boisdale's census populations have been 274 (1911), 479 (1933) and 198 (1966). The estimated town and district population in 1994 was 550.


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