Central - Heritage
Before European settlement, the Central FMA was inhabited primarily by the Kulin nation, consisting of the Woiworung, Tuangurong, Bunurong, Watherong and Jajowrong people. The Tuangurong occupied the largest portion of the Central FMA, including the Goulburn and Acheron valleys.
Europeans first set foot in the area in 1824 when Hume and Hovell entered from the north near the present site of Molesworth, and squatting runs were soon established. Wool production was an important industry in the Central FMA between 1838 and 1851, and towns such as Broadford, Seymour, Avenel and Pyalong were established as small settlements.
Gold was first discovered in the area in 1851. Gold discoveries in the late 1850’s at Strath Creek, Reedy Creek, and fields near Yea resulted in the establishment of the townships of Alexandra, Mansfield, Yea, Jamieson and Marysville.
Mining gradually gave way to sawmilling in the mountainous regions, however, in 1939, much of the area was devastated by severe bushfires. The townships of Narbethong and Woods Point in the east of the Central FMA were virtually destroyed. Almost 2 million hectares across the State were burnt, spelling the end of the forest-based sawmills.
Mining has more or less disappeared from the area, however, timber harvesting is still conducted sustainably in forested areas around Alexandra and Marysville, and much of the area is still utilised for agriculture.
Important reminders of the past are still evident in the forest today, with mine sites, sawmill remains and remains of forest tramways providing a vital link to the past.