Woodstock 3751

Woodstock is a rural locality 30 km. north of Melbourne on the road from Epping. The developing towns of Cragieburn and Whittlesea lie west and east respectively of the rural corridor occupied by Woodstock.

The name was given to the area in 1841, being the name of a farm. it is Anglo-Saxon for a clearing in the wood. The area attracted settlers in the 1850s, many of them Catholic. A Catholic primary school was opened in 1854 and a hotel two years later. A post office was opened in 1858, the same year as the formation of the Woodstock District Road Board. During the 1860s and 1870s the District had a population of between 500 and 700, with the village as the administrative centre. However, the incorporation of the District in the Darebin shire in 1870 overshadowed Woodstock's early prominence.

A mechanics' Institute and library were opened in 1911, to some extent compensating for the removal of the state primary school (1875-99), whose pupils went to Whittlesea and Wollert. The few buildings in the village disappeared during the postwar years: the hotel closed in 1948, the church and mechanics' institute were burnt down in 1968 and three years later the post office and store closed.

Woodstock is on soils mainly derived from sedimentary rocks, which are less stable than the basaltic soil on the adjoining plains. There is a Summer drought every six or seven years. By the 1940s constant grazing and rabbit infestation was causing severe erosion, particularly in undulating areas. The Soil Conservation Authority successfully assisted with the resowing of pasture and making contour banks to slow soil-wash.

Population depletion in the Woodstock area has been offset by rural subdivisions. Census populations were 221 (1911) and 57 (1933).


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