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Historical building make up a large part of East Gippsland, so it is interesting toexplore and discover the past.... where we have come from helps us to seewhere we are headed.Take a walk around many of the local towns & admire what is left of thebygone eras
PaynesvilleAccording to the orginal inhabitants, the Gunai/Kurnai people, "Toonalook" isthe real name of our beautiful village. The koori term is translated as meaning"plenty of fish" and we can't argue with that.The village was settled back in the middle 1850's by fishermen, pastoralists & traders who took advantage of the number of steamers that stopped off to put down or pick up goods and supplies.If you walk around the town today, you will still see old fishermen's housesdotted along Langford Parade and Newlands Drive(the extension of The Esplanade)The Old Pub in town is a perfect example of mid to late 19th century Australian architecture, and is probably the only remnant old building left in themain town.On a walk around the foreshore past Sunset Cove you may still be able to spotthe remains of old jetty landings used by the steamers all those years ago.
Paynesville/Bairnsdale Road - Mitchell River Silt JettiesOn the drive into Bairnsdale, turn off to the Mitchell River Silt Jetties. The area was used to grow hops around the turn of the century, and you will stillbe able to see the old shedding, racks and also enjoy a beautiful drive out tothe end of this beautiful natura phenomenon.
BairnsdaleA number of interesting heritage sights can be found in Bairnsdale. Exploring onfoot is a great way to experience them.The Railway Station building in Pyke Street was built in 1891 and by 1909 it wasthe busiest station on the Gippsland line. By 1927 the Bairnsdale to Melbourne trains carried 29,927 passengers. The train line was extended to Orbost in 1916but this was deemed to be unviable in the '70's and was closed. Trains now terminate in Sale, but the building is utilised as the Coach terminalwhich connects with trains in Sale. The Gippsland Historical Museum is well worth a visit. It contains buildings and relics from the very vibrant past of not only Bairnsdale but the whole region.The main brick building was built in 1891 by William McKnockiterm for thePresbyterian Church. From 1891- 1901 it was George Bearhams BairnsdaleCollege, then St.Andrews College until 1912. Following years it was used as amanse, and private residence. Since 1972 it has been the home of the museum,with the grounds also displaying a variety of equipment, donated from farmsthroughout the district and even a log cabin reconstructed piece by piece, andtaken from the Calagero Station in Glenaladale.The museum overlooks a natural highlight, The Macleod Morass which was namedafter Bairnsdale's first settler, Archibald Macleod. It is one of the few remainingdeep fresh-water marshes in Victoria.A 440 metre boardwalk and bird hide enables visitors to experience the innerworkings of a wetland.Other great heritage spots like the Band Rotunda in the Main Street Gardens. Itwas built in 1911, and was a replica of a rotunda in Cairo, and cost 200 pounds tobe built.The Old Port down on the Mitchell River is a great spot to view the old landingare for the Paddle Steamers. The steamers would tie up and discharge passengersand cargo that were destined for the golfields in the High Country like Cassilis orOmeo. Wandering around Bairnsdale you will note a number of historical buildings, butfor more detail why not drop in to the East Gippsland Historical Society.They are situated at 40 Macarthur Street, Bairnsdale and are open Wednesday toSundays 1-4pm. 51 52 6363 (call to ensure open times are correct)
The Great Alpine RoadThe Gunai/Kurnai tribe and the Yatmathang tribe used the touring route betweenOmeo and Bruthen as their traditional travelling route, which we now call the GreatAlpine Road. Other routes used were via the Dargo High Plains & Mitta Mitta River.One of the major reasons why this route was travelled so much, was for the migrationto food sources, the Lakes in the cooler months, and the foothills in the Summer.The Bogong Moth or 'Cori' was one of the abundant delicacies that was sought.The tribes got together in this area also not just for feasting but for trade, song &story telling, betrothals and feuding. At least 2000 Aboriginal people were estimated in the early 1800's but this number was wiped out by disease and guns after the European arrival by about the 1830's.The area was first settled by European inhabitants around 1830-40. The droughtand disease north of the area, pushed the squatters south over the Murray into the Kiewa and Ovens Valley.Squatters played a large role in dividing up the land and clearing large areas. The squatters moved their stock into the "high country" between spring and autumn, enabling home pastures to recover. By the 1880's the annual migrationto the high plains was established, and the countryside was divided into blockswith annual grazing leases issued. Simple huts were built from timber, stone andiron to provide shelter and storage during the musters. Many are still in use and arelisted on the Historic Places register.
Gold was first discovered in the district in 1852 in Beechworth, and by 1854 Omeowas a thriving gold destination. By 1880 larger companies had moved in who introduced quartz reef mining in the hills and high country, until about 1920.In conultation with grazing families and other high country interests, the establishmentof the area as the Alpine National Park was undertaken in 1989. Controlled grazingis still allowed in some areas, but licenses prohibit it in high altitude sensitive areas.
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