The High Country Local History
The High Country, located in the northeast of Victoria, Australia, is a beautiful and rugged region with a rich history dating back to the traditional owners of the land, the Indigenous tribes of the Kiewa, Mitta Mitta, Ovens, and Goulburn rivers.
European settlement in the region began in the 1830s, with the establishment of grazing runs and the discovery of gold in the 1850s. This led to a significant increase in population and the growth of towns such as Bright, Mansfield, and Beechworth.
The area is also notorious for the bushrangers who roamed the region in the mid-1800s, including the notorious gang led by Ned Kelly.
The gold rush of the 1850s brought a vast influx of migrants from all over the world, including Europe, America, and China. Many built businesses and prospered in the towns and cities of the region.
However, the Indigenous population suffered greatly during this time, as their land was taken from them, and their access to food and water became increasingly compromised. The Indigenous population was decimated by disease, violence, and forced removal to missions and reserves.
The region played a significant role in the development of Victoria's railway network, with the construction of the now-iconic Mansfield railway line in the late 1800s and the development of the Bright Railway Station and Kiewa Hydroelectric Scheme in the early 1900s.
During the World War II era, The High Country became home to various training camps for soldiers, including the now abandoned Puckapunyal Military Training Area.
The High Country region is also the birthplace of the iconic Australian country singer, John Williamson, who grew up in the town of Quambatook.
Today, The High Country is a popular tourist destination, with visitors enjoying the area's picturesque landscapes, stunning mountain ranges, and outdoor recreational activities such as bushwalking, fishing, skiing, and mountain biking.
Various festivals and events are held each year, including the Bright Autumn Festival, which celebrates the beautiful autumn colours of the region, and the Man from Snowy River Bush Festival, which honours the unique cultural heritage of the area.
The High Country also remains a significant agricultural region, with a focus on beef, sheep, dairy, and horticulture.
In conclusion, The High Country in Victoria, Australia, boasts a colourful and diverse history, shaped by Indigenous culture, gold rushes, bushrangers, railway expansion, World War II, and agricultural prosperity. Today, it continues to charm tourists with its stunning beauty and rich cultural heritage.