Towns of the Upper Goulburn
Situated at the junction of the Goulburn and Big Rivers, Darlingford was named for Governor Darling.
The town was flooded when a dam wall was built across the valley between 1914-27, to provide water for irrigation & power generation creating Sugarloaf Dam.
By the 1940s it became apparent the wall was not safe and more water was needed for irrigation. Work commenced in 1951 on a larger, stronger wall to increase the capacity of the dam, creating what is now Lake Eildon.
One of the tasks to be carried out before the valley was flooded was the removal of those buried in the old Darlingford Cemetery and their re-interment in the Jamieson, Eildon and Mansfield cemeteries.
Darlingford c 1920
Located upstream from Darlingford on the Big River, this early settlement site was named for Enoch Hall, an old prospector known to have lived here in 1855.
Enoch was probably the first to find gold in the district, but he was illiterate and so never made any reports of finds, nor did he ever claim any reward.
Populated today by a few holiday houses, indications of the existence of this once thriving gold town can be seen in the alluvial diggings which line the river bank, the old cemetery with its handful of graves and the dry stone walls and chimneys scattered around the area.
Enochs Point can reached on a dry weather road which leaves the Jamieson-Eildon Road at Big River.
Enochs Point C1870
The results of the new Eildon Weir altered the face of this district forever, swallowing up fertile land, farmhouses and towns. The experts said the Weir would take around five years to fill, but after unusually wet winters in 1955-56, the Weir filled in less than twelve months. Workmen were forced to work 24 hour shifts by hurricane lamp to complete the new bridges at Howqua and Jamieson to prevent the area from being completely cut off by the water.
The original township of Howqua had included a Post Office, School, Staging Post and the Carriers Arms Hotel, reputedly once a favourite watering hole for Ned Kelly. One of the few buildings saved, the Carriers Arms was moved from the lake floor before the waters rose drowning the town.
Originally owned in the 1880s by Thomas and Bridget Hennessey following the death of Thomas at the early age of 29, Bridget carried on alone for 3 years until she married Thomas Barnett, the couple then ran the Hotel until it closed in 1929. Mrs. Attwater then ran it as a guest house in the 1940s, a popular place remembered with affection by the many fishermen who stayed there. In later years it became a holiday house. Even though it had been de-licensed for many years it still contained the old bar and many reminders of the past. Sadly the building was burnt to the ground on January 27th 1992.
The new settlement at Howqua Inlet is a popular
spot for boating, water skiing & fishing.
In drought years many of the old ruins emerge from
the water. A site of interest is the ruins of the Peachy
barn & machinery sheds on the banks of the Goulburn
River at the bottom of Peachys Road.
Today Kevington is a rural area, following the Goulburn from Hickeys Flat to Burns Bridge. From around 1860 this area was known as Macs Creek.
The original settlement of Kevington was situated high above the valley, about a half mile up Macs Creek. The ruins of the old settlement can be reached by 4WD and foot from the Mansfield-Woods Point Road, just north of modern day Kevington.
At modern day Kevington, the Poplar Hotel, built in 1862 as Garretts Beerhouse, is the last remaining hotel from the days of the gold boom. It is known affectionately by locals and visitors alike as the Kevy Pub or the Kevington Hilton. As Kevington is situated on the sealed road, beside the Gouburn River and with its own pub, it has a vibrant, if small, community.
The only indication today of the size of the once thriving village at Ten Mile appears in spring when the daffodils and snowdrops bloom in long forgotten gardens. The first building here was a log and canvas dwelling/store erected in 1864 by Tom & Mary Allen as a staging point on the road to the Woods Point goldfields.
By the 1880s the Ten Mile House complex had a reticulated water supply and consisted of the Hotel with 12 guest rooms, a bunkhouse, General Store, Post Office, butcher, blacksmith, bakery, stables, grain store, chaff cutting plant and slaughter house. The hotel had acetylene lighting opderating from a carbide plant and in 1898 the telephone was connected.
Ten Mile, including Ten Mile House, was all but destroyed by the horrendous Black Friday Fires on the 13th January 1939.
Gaffneys Creek today covers the areas surveyed in 1864-65, known then as Paradise Point, Drummond Point, Raspberry Point and Lauraville. It was named after Thomas Terrance (Red) Gaffney, one of the first to discover gold here in 1860.
Today it is virtually a ghost town, containing some of the few surviving buildings of the gold towns that once existed in the Victorian alpine region. Exploration of the area on foot or 4X4 will uncover many old mine sites and disused mining equipment, remnants of countless ruins such as dry stone retaining walls, terraced sites and stone chimneys.
A1 Mine Settlement
About 3 KM further on from Gaffneys Creek is the A1 Settlement.
The area once known as Castle Point, got off relatively lightly in the 1939 fires with only the loss of the Post Office.
A1 settlement is still home to the A1 Gold Mine. This extremely rich mine on the Castle Reef was worked to a depth of 2300 feet. Operating almost continuously since 1881, it closed in 1976 due to a decline in profitability, but with rising gold prices in 1978 rehabilitation work began and the mine resumed operation under the name of Gaffneys Creek Gold Mine NL.
A1 had remained in operation until it closed on June 12th 1992. Some houses still remain, although the last residents moved out in 1999. The machinery site was demolished and the mine was sealed in June 2000. However, to everyone's surprise, the mine was reopened and recommenced mining in March 2016. As of 2019 the mine is still in operation.
School at A1 settlement
The old township site is now a barren ridge with little evidence of the once thriving gold town, which in 1866 boasted 7 Hotels, 7 Stores and 2 Banks, or of the busy timber town of later years, which was totally engulfed by the 1939 fires.
However, beautiful scenic views greet you whichever way you look. Winter brings good sight seeing, snow and chains should be carried.
At the top you will find public conveniences, a picnic area and a snow shelter.
The road forks here with the Walhalla-Moe road to the left and Warburton-Noojee-Marysville road to the right.