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Location: East Gippsland, Victoria, Australiamap
Surname/tag: Australia
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Paynesville is a small town in East Gippsland, Victoria, Australia. It is situated between Lake King and Lake Victoria, just south of Eagle Bay (where the world's second-longest silt jetties are located). The town is connected to the major regional city of Bairnsdale, 16 Km to the north, and these days is a centre for sailing, fishing and other water sports. The Gippsland Lakes are fed by a series of rivers that drain the Southern Victorian ALps: The Avon, the Nicholson, The Mitchell and the Tambo and their higher tributaries, and open to Bass Strait at the town of Lakes Entrance. Fishing has been a major industry and sport throughout the lakes and rivers and since Paynesville's earliest days have provided it's reason for being. Where the town of Paynesville is now situated a small settlement, not much more than a collection of tents, was a centre for commercial fishing. It was known as Toonalook, a Kurnai Aboriginal word apparently meaning 'plenty of fish' (although another suggestion is that the name means 'long narrow water')[1] then, for a time, Lyonsville[2] and was re-named officially in 1888 after the visit of Capt. Charles Payne to select the site for a wharf. In addition to fishing the town developed as a centre for boat building and repairs, with many of the lakes steamers being hauled out on the Paynesville slipway for regular maintenance.[3][4][5]

In this time of road and rail transport being the usual and rapid modes for transport of agricultural and marine produce, it is possibly easy to underestimate the importance of water transport in the past. From their access to Bass Strait at Lakes Entrance, the Gippsland Lakes provide a transport route to the major town of Sale, where a port was constructed. A railway line was constructed between Sale and the Melbourne suburb of Oakleigh, allowing the free and rapid flow of goods and services between Melbourne and Gippsland and, as noted in 1886, Steamers leave there daily to convey passengers in time to leave Sale by the afternoon train for Melbourne, and thus every convenience is afforded for residents of the locality to travel to and from the busy scene of metropolitan life to the quietude of their waterside villas, and likewise for communicating by post and telegraph.[6]

On 12 Feb 1938 electric power was switched on in Paynesville for the first time, an extension having been run from Bairnsdale. The switch was operated by Paynesville's oldest resident, Miss Annie Digney, aged 80.[7][8]

Note: Further family history information connected to Paynesville can be found on the Paynesville Cemetery, Paynesville RSL, Paynesville Returned Services League and Paynesville Mens' Shed profiles.

Croll-284 03:32, 3 February 2021 (UTC)


  1. Saxton J G. 1907. Victoria Place-Names: Their Origin. Clifton Hill: Saxton and Buckie.
  2. National Library of Australia: Trove Bairnsdale Advertiser and Tambo and Omeo Chronicle (Vic. : 1882 - 1918) 26 Jun 1884 p2; accessed 15 Dec 2021.
  3. Victorian Places: Paynesville
  4. Wilkinson L. 2015. 'Paynesville - Named After Captain Payne' The Paynesville Maritime Museum Journal Issue 2, December 2015
  5. Wikipedia: Paynesville; accessed 23 May 2021
  6. National Library of Australia: Trove: Bairnsdale Advertiser and Tambo and Omeo Chronicle (Vic. : 1882 - 1918) 22 Jun 1886 p2; accessed 30 Nov 2021.
  7. National Library of Australia - Trove: The Age (Melbourne, Vic. : 1854 - 1954) 15 Feb 1938 p14
  8. National Library of Australia - Trove: The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957) 6 Feb 1938 p12


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