Bacchus Marsh (Wathawurrung: Pullerbopulloke) is an urban centre and suburban locality in Victoria, Australia located approximately 50 kilometres (30 mi) north west of the state capital Melbourne and 14 kilometres (9 mi) west of Melton at a near equidistance to the major cities of Melbourne, Ballarat and Geelong.
- Area:10.949 km2
- Elevation:107 m
- Local Government Area:Moorabool Shire Council
Bacchus Marsh (Wathawurrung: Pullerbopulloke) is an urban centre and suburban locality in Victoria, Australia located approximately 50 kilometres (30 mi) north west of the state capital Melbourne and 14 kilometres (9 mi) west of Melton at a near equidistance to the major cities of Melbourne, Ballarat and Geelong. The population of the Bacchus Marsh urban area was 22,223 at June 2018. Bacchus Marsh is the largest urban area in the local government area of Shire of Moorabool.
Traditionally a market garden area producing a large amount of the region's fruits and vegetables, in recent decades it has transformed into the main commuter town on the Melbourne-Ballarat corridor.It was named after the colonial settler Captain William Henry Bacchus, who saw the great value of this locality as it was situated on two rivers — the Lerderderg and Werribee.
Bacchus Marsh is on the border between the Woiwurrung and Wathaurong territories of the Kulin Nation. The local clans were the Marpeang balug of the Wathaurong, and the Gunung-willam-bulluk (Wurundjeri) of the Woiwurrung. Bacchus Marsh was a meeting ground for anywhere between 150 and 400 Aboriginals even after white settlement, and corroborees were held quite regularly. While there do not appear to be any records of open hostilities between whites and indigenous people, by 1863 there were a total of only 33 Aboriginal people left in the Bacchus Marsh district, and apart from a handful of recollections of the original inhabitants preserved by pioneer settlers, sadly little remains apart from present-day locality names, mainly of watercourses: Coimadai, Djerriwarrh, Korkuperrimul, Lerderderg, Merrimu, Myrniong, Werribee. The Wathawurrung name for the area is Pullerbopullokewith 'buluk' meaning lake.
## European settlement
One of the first white men to reach the Bacchus Marsh valley was pastoralist Kenneth Scobie Clarke (c. 1806–79), a native of Sutherland in Scotland. Clarke was a manager for the Great Lake Company of Van Diemen’s Land and arrived in the Port Phillip District from George Town on 25 March 1836. Captain Bacchus credited Clarke as being the first man to shear sheep in Victoria, although the Hentys had arrived in Portland with their sheep some two years earlier.
On 29 November 1836, Clarke headed west from Port Phillip with a large flock of sheep, arriving in the Bacchus Marsh district a few days later. He built a hut on the west bank of the Lerderderg River near Darley, and lived there until early 1838. According to pastoralist George Russell, Clarke had acted on information obtained from Mr Aitken, an Edinburgh man, who was most put out when he discovered that Clarke had beaten him to the Pentland Hills run.
In 1838, Englishman Captain William Henry Bacchus (1782–1849, originally of the 2nd Royal Surrey Militia) and his son William Henry Bacchus junior (1820–87) also brought sheep from Tasmania and came to the district which now bears their name. On their arrival, Clarke made an arrangement with them and ceded his run, moving to the nearby hills known as the Pentlands. The then very swampy valley was not really suitable for sheep, as they were prone to footrot. Clarke stayed in the district until 1840 or 1841, and later went to New Zealand, where he died in 1879.
As all land within 3 miles (5 km) of a squatter’s hut was considered to belong to him, Bacchus and his son immediately set about consolidating their land holdings. By 1839–40, they had a homestead and four outstations on the Lardedark run, which in 1845 covered about 22 square miles (57 km2) and carried nearly 3,000 sheep. Between 1845–47 Captain Bacchus built the Manor House, a two-storey Georgian brick building that still stands in the township today. Captain Bacchus died in 1849 and was buried in what later became the grounds of Holy Trinity Anglican Church, Gisborne Road. By 1851, Henry Bacchus junior had sold his holdings in Bacchus Marsh and moved to Peerewur (orPerewerrh) run near Ballarat.Situated roughly halfway between Melbourne and Ballarat, Bacchus Marsh was a popular stopover for travellers during the Victorian Gold Rush. Diarist Charles Evans described the location in 1853:
We passed through a delightful valley called Bachus's Marsh[sic], the first cultivated land we have seen since we left Melbourne – barley and oats were flourishing in the richest luxuriance. There was a steam flour mill, three good looking inns, and a number of houses and stores.
## 19th century to present
The township was originally known as Ballan, a Post Office opening under that name around July 1844 (Bacchus Marsh from 1 July 1850).
The Bacchus Marsh Road District Board was proclaimed on 30 September 1856, with one of its first tasks being to construct a gravel road through the town, as at that time the road was barely passable in winter. Bacchus Marsh was created a district on 14 October 1862, and the Road Board was the governing body until the Shire of Bacchus Marsh was proclaimed on 23 January 1871. The railway came to Bacchus Marsh on 15 February 1887, and the through line to Ballarat was built in 1890.'
During the 1970s and 1980s it was home to the Bacchus Marsh Lion and Tiger Safari.In 1994 the Shire of Bacchus Marsh was amalgamated with the Shire of Ballan and parts of the Shires of Bungaree and Werribee to form the Shire of Moorabool.Bacchus Marsh and its suburbs form the largest settlement in Moorabool Shire.
Bacchus Marsh grew rapidly from the 1990s.
## Heritage listed sites
Bacchus Marsh contains a number of heritage listed sites, including:
Bacchus Marsh Road, Bacchus Marsh Avenue of Honour
123 Main Street, Bacchus Marsh Court House
8 Gisborne Road and 8 Church Street, Bacchus Marsh Express Office and Printing Works
119 Main Street, Bacchus Marsh Police Station and Old Lock-Up
100–102 Main Street, Blacksmith's Cottage and Shop
12 Ellerslie Court, Ellerslie
28–32 Manor Street, Manor House
37 Grant Street, Millbank
6 Gisborne Road, Residence
10 Gisborne Road, ResidenceIn addition, a Pioneer Women's Memorial Avenue commemorates the lives of the women of the Bacchus Marsh area.
# Things to do