Bylands is a locality 50 km north of Melbourne on the Northern Highway, formerly the Hume Highway. It is about midway between Wallan and Kilmore.

The origin of the name is unclear. The name was given to an electoral division (1865), a parish and to the Bylands and Glenburnie Road Board, which was absorbed into Kilmore shire in 1874 after a life of 10 years.

In 1853 farm subdivisions were offered for sale in the Bylands locality, and in 1858 the settlers succeeded in having a school opened. It was named Big Hill, a reference to the Pretty Sally Hill, about 3 km south, over which the Melbourne to Sydney Road passed. In 1880 the school’s name was changed to Bylands.

When the railway to Seymour was opened it ran several kilometres east of Kilmore. In 1888 a connection was made to Kilmore and beyond by a branch line from Heathcote Junction (near Wandong), running via Bylands. The locality thus had a school, a hotel, a post office and a railway station. The railway line was closed in 1968.

In 1970 a Tramways Museum was established at the old station and goods yard. It is staffed by volunteers at weekends. Apart from that (the school was closed in 1984) Bylands is a rural/residential area.

Byland’s census populations were:

census date population
1911 437
1921 324
1933 189
1947 126
1961 104

Further Reading

J.W. Payne, Pretty Sally’s hill: a history of Wallan, Wandong and Bylands, Kilmore, 1981