The first official discovery of gold on the Woods Point gold field was made by William Gooley in 1861, in the creek that would be named after him.
In 1864 his partner, Colin McDougall, had a small battery constructed in pieces to be transported to the claim. Unable to get a carrier they were forced to pack the machinery themselves. It took 3 long, hard months to get it to the site. Soon others followed and among them was a storekeeper by the name of Wood who set up a business on the largest point of the spur. As the town was built around it the site became known as Woods Point.
By 1865 Woods Point had become a Borough, and Patrick (Paddy) Perkins of Jamieson, was the first Mayor.
Paddy was a brewer and entrepreneur and he later moved to Queensland where he became a member of the Queensland Parliament. On Dec 14, 1869 Queensland's first brewery was opened by brothers Thomas and Paddy Perkins in Toowoomba. The business grew and in 1872 they purchased the City Brewery in Mary Street Brisbane. In 1928 both breweries were taken over by the Castlemaine Brewery which had been established in Queensland by the Fitzgerald brothers in 1878. A new company was formed called Castlemaine Perkins Ltd.
By the mid 1860s about 50 large mines were in full swing in Woods Point and hundreds of smaller claims were producing gold. The towns population had increased to around 2000. Woods Point now had 3 suburbs, Richmond, Piccadilly and Gooleys Creek, with about 30 hotels, dozens of grog shanties, Perkins Brewery, a Courthouse, a Police Station with a log lock up, a Hospital, several doctors, a chemist, 6 banks, Post and Telegraph Office, business offices, stores, livery stables, churches, dancing saloons, The Mountaineer newspaper, soap factory, ginger beer & cordial factory, abattoirs & slaughterhouse, a Town Band and Mr H. Richy, the Town Crier.
Everything had to be carted along the narrow winding pack routes from Jamieson, including human cargo, children were carried in gin cases strapped to pack saddles, wives, barmaids and dancehall girls rode in panniers. Supplies could also be transported over the Yarra track by wagon, but this was impractical from late autumn until early summer as during this time of the year the track was either snow bound or an impassable sticky mire of mud.
As is the fate of all boom towns, Woods Point went into decline until the Morning Star Mine was the last operating goldmine. But it too finally closed in December 1927. It was worked sporadically after that but with very little result.
New life was breathed into the Morning Star in the 1990s and hopes were high for a revival of fortune for the district, however it was not to be and with the falling of gold prices once again work came to a standstill.
Much of Woods Point as you see it today is the new town built in 1940. The Black Friday fires of 1939 swept through Woods Point leaving devastation in its wake, incredibly only one person, Miss Nellie OKeefe, lost her life but most of the town was destroyed. Today the permanent population is about 40 people.
However there is still much to see throughout the town and hidden away in the hills around Woods Point. A chat with Barb & Des Miller, the volunteers who run the Woods Point Museum and a visit to the photo display at the General Store, is a great place to start.
Woods Point 1907-1912
Woods Point 1860's
Woods Point 1907-1912