From Hotels of Ballarat

Buninyong is a town 11 kms south of Ballarat.

Background[edit | edit source]

Buninyong was first explored by Europeans in 1837, and settled in 1839, becoming the first inland settlement in Victoria.

Hotels[edit | edit source]

The first hotel (and building) in Buninyong was the Buninyong Inn, built in 1842.

People[edit | edit source]

History[edit | edit source]

In August 1851 the Geelong Advertiser described Buninyong:

BUNINYONG. August 25, 1851. Buninyong lays west of Geelong some fifty miles. The approach to it is beautiful in the extreme, and common place indeed must be the soul, that could look unmoved on the queenly mount, o'er topping the surrounding country in wooded majesty, and clothed with dark foliage, to her utmost summit, flushed with the golden sunset, as with a diadem of light. From the meadows at its foot, the road gently rises, and curves, round the base of the mountain, until you attain an eminence overlooking the township, to which the mount has given its title. The first house built on this site was the Buninyong Inn, erected in 1842, by Mr. John Veitch. There are now twenty-two houses, independent of others to a short distance in the forest, comprising two handsome stores, two smithies, to which are attached the wheelwright branch of the business, a saddlery, and two shoemakers, independent of the inn just mentioned. But the first building, and the most important one that strikes the eye of a stranger is the school-house, which is used on the Sabbath as a place of public worship: it has been established about four years, and owes its institution to the meritorious endeavours of the Messrs. Learmonth, and other benevolent individuals residing in Buninyong. To the school, which is a spacious building, is attached separate dormitories, of comfortable and well devised construction, in which are placed baths for the use of children, besides these erections, there are store houses, and a private residence for the school-master ; and at a short distance is the residence of the Rev. Mr. Hastie, the resident minister. The school has been as successful as its most sanguine supporters could desire, -there are at present forty boarders residing on the establishment, beside twenty day scholars from the immediate vicinity. Without laying claim to high pretensions, this school is calculated to confer a great benefit on the surrounding country, as well as the town, and affords an example worthy of imitation in other parts of the colony. It professes to teach a sound practical information, and to bring that teaching within the reach of all, it has a scale of charges suitable to the circumstances of parents desiring to educate their children. Sixteen pounds per annum is the sum charged for education, board, lodging, and washing, to both sexes-whilst to render the institution available to parents of humbler means, ten pounds only is charged for the same objects, and all are treated on equal footing. The school is under the superintendence of Mr and Mrs Douglass, than whom it would be difficult to find any more efficient, kind, affable, and painstaking. The children are healthy, well behaved, and seemed devoted to the tasks apportioned to them. Divine worship is celebrated here every alternate Sunday by the Rev. Mr Hastie, that gentleman being called- upon to officiate on the intervening Sabbath at the Leigh.
Next to the Buninyong itself, the Green Hill may rank as the notability of the place. It may be termed a local Gretna Green, a journey thither generally resulting in a matrimonial engagemnent, so at least my 'chaperon' informed me. He himself had been married after a visit there, and a whole host of his friends had met with the same fate, with the exception of one, who escaped as a Benedict by galloping headlong down the main gulley. True, said my informant, that unhappy man endeavours to explain it away by stating that his horse took fright just, as he was about to pop the question, but Tam o'Shanter ne'er fled with half the speed from the witches as did poor R--- from matrimony. I mention this, thinking it may be useful to some guileless bachelor who might otherwise be induced to visit the fatal spot, which is about a quarter of an hour's ride from the Township, and a visit thither will repay a thousand-fold the dire perils I have referred to. Hidden among the forest trees, the Green Hill is not perceived until you arrive close upon it, nor even then does it convey the most remote conception of the glorious vista that bursts upon the view. Here from this hill-top, far as the eye can reach, extends a scene beautiful as the eye of man ever rested upon. Here mountain, hill, forest, and glade, stretch out to the extreme verge of the horizon, millions upon millions of tree-tops bow down to the passing wind, which surge as upon a vast ocean of verdure, and give to the undulating ranges the semblance of huge billows. What masses of light and shade, brightest sunshine and darkest gloom ; yonder hill is bathed in liquid light, the very traceries of the contorted branches of the trees growing on its summit are visible, whilst from the distant gulley the wreathed mist is curling in vapour, as though nature were offering up incense to her God. There is the Buninyong clad to its highest tier, towering haughtily, and the Warraneep, like a puny offspring; yonder is Mount Emu, Mount Mercer, Mount Cole with its glistening diamond, Mount William challenging observation some eighty miles off, the Maiden Hills and the Grampians extending far as the eye can reach until they are lost in cloud-lands and the far distant, the Burrumbeet, bounded by a silver thread, glistening in the sunbeams ; those are her lakes,looking a mere line of light, and many and many a headland, and fair scene, and lovely spot are there that I wot not of, and feel whilst my memory will hoard up their beauties, that my pen is powerless to describe them. The wind is rushing down the ravine with a hollow voice, betokening the coming storm, the clouds are gathering round the crest of the Buninyong, which is nearly hidden and veiled by the mist, the more distant objects gradually fade into the gathering gloom, and he who would escape a thorough drenching had better turn homeward and hie away as fast as horse can carry him.[1]

In October 1855 the Geelong Advertiser described the town, which at the time was just about deserted as everyone had left for the Ballarat diggings:

In a geographical point of view, Buninyong to the colony of Victoria, may be considered the key to the western district, all traffic passes through it from Geelong to the Pyrenees, Avoca, Fiery Creek, Creswick's Creek, Ballarat, Smythe's, and Linton's diggings, and as Geelong advances so do I believe will also Buninyong. It must be recollected, that from its position, long before gold fields were discovered, Buninyong was a township. The Buninyong gold field, one of the first discovered in this colony, and that by poor Hiscock, from whom it takes its name. Hiscock's Gully was the forerunner to Golden Point, Ballarat, and from thence has sprung the wonderfully rich diggings, and gold fields, which we see and read about in this district. For now nearly two years Buninyong has been deserted, Ballarat being the place of attraction for mining and business transactions, Buninyong, only seven miles from Ballarat, it consequently lost (for a time) its place amongst townships of importance. Each day Buninyong is making wonderful strides to regain is position, as may be seen from the enterprise of its inhabitants. In the dense Forest of Buninyong, underneath the Mount, may be seen the "Trial steam saw mills," extensively carried on by a company, and conducted by Mr C. Marrow, which affords work to about 40 persons daily. Close to Buninyong may be perceived extensive and tasteful farms of the inhabitants, abounding with vegetables and grain of various descriptions. The soil naturally producing such abundance of grass allows the settlers to boast of well stocked runs, affording plenty of sheep and cattle for a large and populous neighbourhood. The excellent spring water which abounds in the township, together with the large and commodious hotels (four in number), the main road macadamized, two excellent breweries, several lemonade and gingerbeer manufacturies which supply Magpie Gully with their delicious beverages. Stores which sell provisions, apparel, &c., at Geelong prices, bids fair, that should Buninyong become what we fully expect it to be, a large and populous town, there will be found in it ample provision to afford comfort to its inhabitants. Together with all, we have three schools for the education of children, and a Presbyterian church, where on each Sunday we can hear an edifying sermon from the Rev. Mr Hastie. There are cottages in abundance, and to let, which no doubt would be tenanted long since by business people from Ballarat, only for the inaccessible road which intervenes, and last, not least, will be found here social enjoyments and comforts which are but little known in a small town in a new country.[2]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1851 'BUNINYONG.', Geelong Advertiser (Vic. : 1847 - 1851), 29 August, p. 2. (DAILY and MORNING), viewed 15 Nov 2018, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article91919989
  2. 1855 'BUNINYONG.', Geelong Advertiser and Intelligencer (Vic. : 1851 - 1856), 23 October, p. 2. (DAILY.), viewed 30 Mar 2018, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article91870063