When coronavirus cases across the state closed borders in western Victoria, south-west communities asked why infections occurring at times hundreds of kilometres away were imposing restrictions on their lives.
Despite the majority of infections occurring in metropolitan areas - and in some rural communities not at all - smaller communities languished under state-based policies.
Polices designed to stop the virus spreading across states divided cross-border communities including Portland and Mount Gambier.
But what if the region's borders were drawn differently?
Well, a group of landowners in Portland almost made that happen in 1861 - proposing a new state called 'Princeland' that could have taken in Warrnambool, Port Fairy and Hamilton.
Princeland would have linked the Western District, Wimmera and the Mallee with its natural neighbours, the Limestone Coast and Riverland regions of South Australia.
Introducing Princeland, Australia's 'ninth' state
Princeland, named after Queen Victoria's consort, Prince Albert, would have roughly covered country below the Murray River to the sea, possibly as far west as Salt Creek in South Australia to Ararat in the east.
The new colony was to cover 42,000 square miles (108779.5 square kilometres) with 40 townships, five ports and about 61,150 people.
In area, Princeland would have been larger than Tasmania, about ten times the size of Jamaica, and exceeding the whole of the West Indian colonies put together.
Dr André Brett, the Vice-Chancellor's Postdoctoral Research Fellow in History University of Wollongong, is one of Australia's foremost experts on Princeland.
He said the new colony was designed to bring together neighbouring communities divided by an arbitrary line, otherwise known as the South Australian-Victorian border.
"Princeland was a proposal to establish a new self-governing colony within the British Empire," Dr Brett said.
"The SA border was set out in the 1830s when Europeans knew very little about the area through which it passed.
"By the late 1850s, it was clear that the border divided communities with fairly similar economic and political interests.
It is well known that in the 1850s, Victoria was rapidly growing, thanks to an economic wildfire fuelled by the gold rush.
Goldfields in Stawell and Ararat, combined with some of the nation's best meat, wool and wheat producers in the Wimmera, gave the Princeland proposal the foundation it needed to grow.
"The movement was often depicted as the idea of pastoralists who just wanted to make themselves rich," Dr Brett said.
"Some commentators from outside the area exaggerated this to cast the movement in a bad light.
"It began among Portland townspeople, and it remained most popular in Portland.
"They were unhappy about how little the government in Melbourne spent on western Victoria - they wanted roads, railways, harbour works, better access to courts and other public services.
"They claimed that for every £3 of government revenue from western Victoria, only £1 was spent in the region; if Princeland were its colony, it would control all this revenue.
"Pastoralists were unhappy with various land laws, hence the impression outside the region that the movement was just a way for squatters to make their own laws and get as much land as cheaply as possible."
Thomas Elliot Richardson, the editor of the Portland Guardian, was a leading figure in the Princeland movement.
"Thomas Elliot Richardson toured much of western Victoria and southeastern South Australia to promote the cause, undertaking one especially long tour with the poet Richard Henry Horne of "Orion" fame," Dr Brett said.
"Pastoralists were important though, especially for financial support: the Henty family participated, and Edward Henty was president of the West Victoria Separation League."
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