Jim Quillinan’s book documents the important history of Bylands, including the first European settlers who came in search of a better life. ​

A new book on the history of a Mitchell Shire township documents the people, places and stories of the Bylands area and surroundings.

‘The Story of Bylands’ was written by Jim Quillinan, a former Bylands resident, who said he felt it was important to document the history of the area, as specific historical documents were hard to come by.

Mr Quillinan said much of the book came from his own experiences growing up in the area, as well as from memories, anecdotes and photos contributed by people connected to Bylands.

“Living in Bylands in my time was almost like having an extended family but in different houses,” he said.

“The Quillinans were in a fortunate position because, for close to 90 years, we managed the post office. That became the unofficial community centre.

“We knew every family, and pretty much all about them and their daily business.”

The book includes the stories of the early settlers, the Belle Vue estate, early hotels, as well as the history and decline of the area, the Union Hotel, and the Bylands State School, which would have celebrated its 150th anniversary this month.

Also acknowledged are the Taungurung people, the traditional owners of the land, as well as the period from the arrival of the first European settlers in the early 1800s to 1994, when the Bylands Post Office was closed. Pretty Sally and the difficult journey caused by the nearby hill are also mentioned.

Mr Quillinan said there was a diverse story about the history of Bylands that should be told.

“Above all, it is a story of a community and the people who made it. It is their story in a time of change in transport, land reform, agricultural methods, in communication and technology,” he said.

“The community had an enduring influence on those who lived there but, largely because of government decisions and prevailing economic rationalism, places such as Bylands … are becoming distant memories.

“While Bylands had its own unique story, many other small communities such as this helped build the Australia we know today.”

People interested in getting their own copy of ‘The Story of Bylands’ can contact Mr Quillinan by emailing jquillinan@dcsi.net.au.

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