As you travel along Cape Otway Road towards Winchelsea you might notice three roads not far from each other on the left side — Raglan, Lyons and Cambridge Streets. Panmure and Russell Streets run parallel to Cape Otway Road. Mary Synot and brother Simon ran a store. Permanent fresh water was available from the swamp however this swamp dried up in 1902 and eighteen residents partitioned the Winchelsea Shire council to further excavate it.
The township of Layard, as it was then known, was planned by the government and sold in the 1860s mainly to speculative buyers. It was near the southern boundary of the Parish of Modewarre, close to the neighbouring Parish of Gherang Gherang.
In 1891 a railway station was opened on a short branch line eleven miles long diverging from the Colac line about half a mile from Moriac station and running in a south-westerly directiontowards Wensleydale. It passed through the properties of Henry Larcombe, William Crutch and George McConachy, then after the township of Layard through two miles of John Rout Hopkins' land (Wormbete) and after that through the properties of Thomas Hunter, Mrs Mary Field and the Wormbete Wattle Company's selection, finally stopping in about the centre of this company's property. It was uncultivated land, and was only used for sheep grazing and for most of the way it was uncleared, the surface being partly hidden by a mass of fallen timber. There are sixteen bridges in the short line, the largest of which is 83 feet in length, situated about half a mile from the junction with the main line. This line provided plenty of jobs with about 220 men working on the line while about 150 men were employed in the forest in cutting and carting timber for the work. This line, known as the Saddle Line, attracted much criticism as the stations were not in the centres of populated areas but it was in the centre of a forest and trucks full of wood kept the Geelong industries supplied. There was also gravel at Gherang to move. The end of the line was within a few miles of Aireys Inlet and it was envisaged that during summer coaches would connect with
Wensleydale. As a passenger service it was sadly not up to scratch. The Age reported that passengers could travel in the guards van, but not in comfort: "It is no exaggeration to say that a journey to Wensleydale by train would kill a delicate woman". Coal was first discovered in the area in 1856 by Wesley Anderson. It was loaded onto the rail trucks at Wensleydale. When the line closed coal was transported to Geelong in trucks, mainly to the power station in North Geelong and also loaded at Winchelsea station to go to Melbourne, Ballarat, Bendigo and Western District centres. When the mine closed in 1957 and the mine was flooded to create a lake and is used for water skiing.
About a quarter of a mile from Layard station on the Moriac side were railway gates. John O'Donnell was the gatekeeper. Close to the gates was a house which was left open for the accommodation of rail travellers. This line was hoped would be the beginning of a line to Lorne. The line had very few passengers and closed about 1948 after train frequency was down to one per fortnight.
The old bluestone school at Modewarre is just up the Cape Otway Road near the corner of Considines Road. On the opposite corner of Considines and Batsons Roads Henry Lawrence operated a store and post office from 1861 which he upgraded in bluestone in 1864. The store was replaced by Lawrence's son, George, in about 1900, after the earlier building had been destroyed by fire in 1899. This building survives at Modewarre today.
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