From Hotels of Ballarat

Avoca is a small community about 60kms north west of Ballarat

Background[edit | edit source]

History[edit | edit source]

Avoca was a gold field settled in about 1854. In September 1858 the following description was printed in the newspaper:

This place is one of the most beautifully situated townships on the gold-fields. It has, amongst its many advantages, abundance of wood and water; and standing as it does on the banks of the river of the same name, and at the foot of the splendid Pyrenese mountains, surrounded with valuable agricultural lands on which numerous persons have erected pretty homesteads and created delightful gardens, it assumes more the character of a fashionable suburb to some great business mart than the centre of a large mining district. There are but few villages or towns of any importance in the bush, except on the gold-fields This place forms an exception, for the present mining operations going on there, scarcely entitles it to the character of a gold field. It owes the circumstance of its now retaining the Resident Warden and the police station, to its pleasing position more than to any other cause. It has, however, been the scene of extensive mining operations, as since the place was first established —about four years ago—till now, it has from time to time been the home or temporary residence of little short of one hundred thousand people- forty thousand of these were camped on it at one time. At present, there are probably one thousand miners on Avoca, and the immediate workings surrounding it, Many of these are engaged in puddling. There have been twenty-five permits for puddling machines taken out this year. Altogether there are probably fifty machines at work. Many more are engaged in the various old workings, and a few are laying new ground. The cutting of water races is becoming quite the rage, and within the past two months, parties have cut to the extent of twenty-five miles. Could a plentiful supply of water be introduced, there is not a shadow of doubt that Avoca presents hundreds of hills and gullies which would support many thousand miners for twenty years; but the distance of these from Avoca river prevents parties working them.

Although we have stated this place scarcely deserves the designation of a gold field, we make the statement in reference to the works at present going on there. But with water and machinery, there is hope that Avoca may again equal its busiest days. We must also do it the justice to say it is not as quiet in a business point of view as it might appear to a casual visitor. It is situate on the high road to the western gold fields, and has its Amphitheatre, Glenpatrick, Sardine, Four-mile Flat, Musquito, and other branch diggings to support it, in addition to the traffic constantly passing through it. In proof of this, we have only to look at the many extremely well built brick stores, hotels, &c., which line its ample street. As wholesale houses, we might name those of Messrs. Meyers and Co., Mitchell and Harnett, Harrison and Co., and T. Holland. And amongst the hotels, the " Avoca," " Locomotive," " Union," " Victoria," " Caledonia," and "Digger's Arms." The " Avoca " particularly deserves our notice, as being an extremely handsomely built house; to it is attached a ball-room, 85 feet long, provided with a roomy stage. The banking interests of the place are represented by a branch of the Bank of Victoria, the business of which is conducted in a handsome brick building, which with its well arranged garden, is one of the town ornaments. Though this place has for so long a time been the "seat of government," a camp more deficiently provided with public buildings we are not acquainted with. The fact, however, speaks favorably for the resident Warden, as many placed in so powerful a position, would long since have been surrounded with those thousand advantages which follow official standing. The wants of the place are, however, on the point of being more adequately provided for. A bridge is to be built across the river in the centre of the township.

A new Gold-office, a County Court, a Telegraph Station, and Post-office, are to be erected on the Camp Reserve, and we believe a new barracks for the police. The whole staff of government officials consist of,— W. Templeton, Esq,, Resident Warden; J. Webster, Esq., Warden; Mr. B. Alexander, Gold Receiver; Mr. McArthur, Warden's clerk; F. K. Orme, Esq., Police magistrate; Mr. Lempriere. Clerk of Petty Sessions and County Court. The least said about the police department the better; it consists, however, of a gentleman who acts as district Inspector and Paymaster; two mounted troopers, and about five foot. We had almost forgotten the most important matter claiming our notice,—the educational institutions. These consist of a handsome Episcopalian Church and School, a Methodist Chapel and School, and a National School, in which something over 100 children receive education. We wish for its own sake we could see Avoca under the care of municipal government, as with such an institution to watch and push on its various interests, we are bound to believe it would rapidly take that position amongst its neighbours its many natural advantages entitles it to. "Adieu sweet Vale."[1]

In October 1866 another article contained information on the early days of settlement:

"...In 1854, with the exception of a few tents pitched near the Avoca River for the sake of water supply, and the Police Camp buildings, the present site of Avoca was covered with timber, and the only place of business was that of Mr Henry Knott, whoso calico tent occupied the centre of what now forms the High-street. In the latter part of that year town lots were laid out, and the first land sale took place, but for a long time little was done towards the erection of buildings. Denuded of the great portion of its inhabitants, Avoca, in the year 1855, was looked upon as a worked out goldfield, although a number of miners continued to occupy the old workings and in many instances wero very successful. The first comers, in their hurry to proceed to newer fields, having only partially worked their claims. In the last named year the first public house was erected by a Mr Beazeley (the Avoca Hotel of the present day) ; this was followed by the Union Hotel, erected by Messrs Campbell and Mathewson ; and the Locomotive, by Mr Trevithick...In the year 1859, March 25th, Avoca was first declared a municipal district, and remained as a borough up to 1864. The members of the first Borough Council of Avoca elected on the 20th of April in the same year, were Messrs. Edward Boyce, Henry Knott, William Barnett, Charles K. Pearson, William Goodshaw, Henry G. Trevithick, and John Downie, Mr Boyce being elected chairman. Under the Council the existing streets and permanent levels were formed, and the town in a short time assumed a very respectable appearance. The pathways were formed, and a Town Hall and Public Baths erected..."[2]

Hotels in Avoca[edit | edit source]

List of hotels[edit | edit source]

People[edit | edit source]

Lists of people[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1858 'AVOCA MEMS.', Maryborough and Dunolly Advertiser (Vic. : 1857 - 1867 ; 1914 - 1918), 10 September, p. 1. (Supplement to the Maryborough and Dunolly Advertiser), viewed 30 May 2019, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article253588930
  2. 1866 'THE PAST AND PRESENT OF AVOCA.', Avoca Mail (Vic. : 1863 - 1900; 1915 - 1918), 6 October, p. 2. , viewed 30 May 2019, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article190701836

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External links[edit | edit source]