History and Heritage
The great explorer Major Thomas Mitchell crossed the Goulburn River in October 1836, where Mitchelton Winery stands today, thus opening a trail to the northern Victorian Goldfields. The discovery of gold at Spring Creek (Graytown) and Whroo brought thousands of miners into the area, the Balaclava mine alone producing some 20,000 ounces of gold.
The region has an intimate connection with the Kelly Legend through two towns in particular – Avenel and Euroa (see details in each town’s listings above). At both towns there are markers to indicate where the action happened and trail maps to find the various sites that are part of one of Australia’s most notorious legends.
The first paddle steamer from Echuca arrived in 1875, followed by rail in 1881, providing the region with direct links to Melbourne. On completion of the Goulburn Weir in 1891, the Nagambie Lakes were formed. Water transport allowed a prosperous trade in red gum timber, which was brought to Nagambie by barge, milled into blocks and sent to Melbourne for road making.
From being the domain of bushrangers, goldminers and loggers; the Strathbogie Ranges became a major wool growing area thanks to the pioneering prowess of the legendary Eliza Forlonge in the 1850’s. Her cottage is still a prized asset of Euroa and is located within the Farmers Arms Museum complex, while a memorial to her is situated off the Euroa-Strathbogie Road.