A Fragile Link
Director of Post and Telegraphs for Victoria, M.S. Gowan’s report 1864:
The only line showing an excess of interruptions beyond the usual average is that between Geelong and Cape Otway on which section the interruptions during 1863, the damage was occasioned in each instance by falling trees, blown over by the hurricanes which visited the district in the months of January and December of last year.
On the last mentioned occasion upwards of three miles of the line were destroyed, when it was estimated that nearly 200 trees were prostrated by the violence of the gale, a fair idea may be formed as to the difficulty attending the maintenance of this line if it be remembered that its course lies through some of the most rugged and densely timbered portions of Victoria; that it crosses eleven precipitous ranges, varying from 1000 to 1500 feet in height, that the route is in several places during the winter season, quite impassable even for packhorses; and that long fully sixty miles of the route, the wire and other materials used in constructing the line, had to be transported on the backs of the workmen as the only practicable means of performing the service required. (Source: Beacons of Hope)