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Broadford, VIC

Quiet rural town in south-central Victoria

Broadford is a small service centre for the surrounding sheep and cattle district. Historically it started life as a mining town with gold being discovered in 1852. Unlike many gold mining towns that died, it has been sustained because, until it was bypassed, it was an important stopping point on the Hume Highway between Melbourne and Sydney. Today it has a small number of well-preserved historic buildings and nearby Mount Disappointment State Forest offers panoramic views and good picnic locations.

Location

Broadford is located 216 m above sea level and is 89 km north of Melbourne, just off the Hume Freeway.

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Things to See and Do

Broadford Courier
The Broadford Courier building in the main street was built in 1891. It operated continuously as a hand type set printing office until it closed in 1978. The interior remains the same as it was in 1978. It is a rare opportunity to see the printing process before the arrival of computers. A report on the building and its pre-linotype printing process observed "In terms of printing heritage, the Broadford Courier collection is of historical significance because it provides an intact and representative example of the kind of small-scale printing office that once proliferated in rural Australia, remnants of which have become exceedingly rare." Part of the reason for its importance is the unusual fact that the paper was still set and printed by hand as recently as 1970. It is possible to inspect the building by calling (03) 5784 1970 or checking out http://www.broadfordhistorical.org.au/ and http://www.broadfordhistorical.org.au/historical-significance/.

Pioneer Cottage
Next door to the Broadford Courier building is the Pioneer Cottage, a carefully created replica of a drop slab, three room hut which were constructed by the early settlers. It was built by the Broadford and District Historical Society (both buildings are located at Alison Tomkins Reserve, on the corner of High Street and Murchison Street) and provides an important insight into the construction techniques and the living conditions of the past. The interiors of both buildings are open for public inspection between 2.00 p.m. - 4.00 p.m. on Sundays. For more information contact (03) 5784 1970. It is possible to inspect the building by calling (03) 5784 1970 or checking out http://www.broadfordhistorical.org.au/.

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Other Attractions in the Area

Mount Disappointment State Forest
Some 38 km south-east of Broadford is the Mount Disappointment State Forest. The 794 m high mountain was named in 1824 by the explorers Hume and Hovell who, having climbed to the summit, were unable to see Port Phillip Bay. It is the highest point on the Hume Range and can be approached on South Mountain Road which lies to the south of the tiny town of Heathcote Junction. The forest has been degraded over the years. In the 1860s it was used for poles, posts and pit props for the surrounding goldmines and, when the gold ran out, it became an important source of commercial timber. This continued until 1939. At its peak there were 420 timber workers processing the timber from the State Forest. It is still possible to climb to the top of Mount Disappointment. The forest is known for the Forest Drive Circuit, a number of walking tracks and picnic sites. It is worth noting that it was severely damaged by the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires and is still recovering. Check out http://wandong.vic.au/have-your-say/mt-disappointment-state-forest for more details.

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History

* Prior to European settlement the Thagungwurung Aborigines lived in the district for thousands of years.

* The first Europeans in the area were Hume and Hovell who passed through in 1824. They were exploring a possible stock route from New South Wales to Westernport. They named the creek where they camped Sunday Creek for the simple reason that they camped there on a Sunday.

* By 1842 the tiny settlement had two hotels: the Sunday Creek Inn and Stockyard Inn which were catering for the trade between Sydney and Melbourne.

* Gold was discovered in Sunday Creek in 1852 and miners flocked to the area. A post office was built that year. A blacksmith set up and small stores appeared

* The town was gazetted in 1854 with original allotments being sold for £2. The area between the two inns started to grow.

* In 1874 the Sunday Creek Inn closed. It later reopened as a general store.

* In 1890 the town's huge paper mill was built by James McDougall - a relative of the noted publisher, Sands & McDougall.

* Today the town's substantial reserves of fine white kaolin clay are used both as a medical absorbent and for the manufacture of pottery.

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Visitor Information

Broadford has no visitor information centre. The closest is the Kilmore Visitor Information Centre, 12 Sydney Street, Kilmore, tel: (03) 5781 1319.

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Accommodation

The Broadford & District Historical Society have a useful website. Check out http://www.broadfordhistorical.org.au.

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