The south-eastern suburb of Carnegie has a hidden history which is not shown on any maps from the last century. The only clue to its past is a disused railway line, converted into a walking trail by the Glen Eira Council. Carnegie Railway Station was formerly named Rosstown Railway Station, and the suburb of Carnegie originally named Rosstown, after entrepreneur William Murray Ross, who bought land extensively upon settling in Melbourne in 1852.
The Rosstown railway line.
The Rosstown railway line was the failed pet project of Ross, who built the private track to straddle three suburban railway lines - Sandringham, Frankston, and Cranbourne/Pakenham. Part of his failed Rosstown Project, he intended for the Rosstown railway line to connect his sugar beet mill (which never went into production) to Elsternwick railway station. Construction of the railway line began in 1883 and was finished, to a poor standard, just two months later. Four years after its opening, more work was done on the tracks in an attempt to make it viable, however even this did not bring Ross's dreams to fruition. The ill-fated railway line only ever had one train journey, on the 14th of November, 1888, according to unverifiable claims made by Ross.
The sugar beet mill.
Despite the wealth of history that accompanies the Rosstown railway line; the rail trail is modern, sealed ground with few remnants of the railway track. Spanning nearly nine kilometres, the trail begins where the line branched off from the Cranbourne and Pakenham lines, near Hughesdale Railway Station.
The rail trail meanders through several parks, including Princes Park and Packer Park. Of interest on your Rosstown journey is the Marara Road Reserve, which features a plaque pertaining to the rail trail. The site of Ross's former sugar beet mill is located on the Rosstown route, however there is not much to see there, with the land now being used for houses and a small reserve with a modern playground.
Rosstown Rail Trail is an easy walk or bike ride, being on mostly flat ground. You can even drive along it if you are feeling particularly environmentally unfriendly. It takes about three and a half hours to walk, or one and a half to cycle.
The Glen Eira City Council publishes an informative brochure with a detailed map and guide to the rail trail.