Baillieston is a rural locality and former mining area in central northern Victoria, 12 km north-west of Nagambie. It was named after the Baillieston pastoral run (1840) which extended westwards from the Goulburn River.

The settlement of Baillieston came about from a gold discovery in 1864 by M. Coy and others, leading to the creation of Coys Diggings. The Coys Diggings school was opened in 1866. Shortly afterwards farm selections were also taken up, and the incoming farm population partly offset the loss of population as the easy yielding mines closed. Coys Diggings became a mixture of mining, timber cutting and agriculture, enough to maintain a general store and two hotels.

One of the early farm selectors was Otto Opperman, grandfather of Sir Hubert Opperman, parliamentarian and champion cyclist. Hubert attended the Baillieston school, and his grandmother was postmistress. The post office at Coys Diggings was renamed Baillieston in 1874, but the school kept the old name until 1903.

In 1903 Coys Diggings (Bailieston) was described in the Australian handbook:

The change of the school’s name appears to have coincided with the decline of mining, as the Welcome mine (1866) finally closed in 1910. Antimony has also been mined at Baillieston, although Victoria’s principal source of the mineral is westwards at Costerfield.

There were also schools at Baillieston East, North and South. Two closed in the early 1900s, Baillieston closed in 1943 and Baillieston South in 1953.

Baillieston’s census populations were:

census date population
1881 165
1911 244
1933 153

Further Reading

Harley Forster, Waranga 1865-1965: a shire history, F.W. Cheshire, 1965

Joyce Hammond, Bridging the gap: Shire of Goulburn 1871-1971, Shire of Goulburn, 1971