TAK­ING A TOLL GOES WAY BACK

Herald Sun - - NEWS -

FOR those who thought the an­swer to yes­ter­day’s trivia ques­tion about Mel­bourne’s first toll road was the West Gate Bridge in 1978, you’re more than a cen­tury off.

Tolls were a fact of life in Mel­bourne long be­fore the in­ven­tion of the automobile.

As Kevin Cas­sidy, of West Pre­ston, was the first to tell us, tolls were in­tro­duced in 1847 on Hei­del­berg Rd in Clifton Hill at the bridge over Merri Creek — the first in Vic­to­ria.

Tolls were wide­spread around Mel­bourne by the mid-1850s, in­clud­ing St Kilda Rd, a bridge over the Yarra River con­nect­ing Church and Chapel streets and, as Teresa from Pak­en­ham notes, out­side the old Sarah Sands Ho­tel on Syd­ney Rd, Brunswick.

By 1870, there were a stag­ger­ing 190 toll gates through­out Mel­bourne and sur­rounds. But the deeply un­pop­u­lar tolls were de­rided as a “relic of bar­barous ages” — while keep­ers of toll gates were slammed as “li­censed high­way­men” — and were abol­ished in 1877.

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