heading.jpg (8022 bytes)







More info


Exploring Gippsland

Modern Australia is a relatively young country where Europeans only settled in 1788, at Botany Bay. It was only ten years later, in 1798, in an expedition to prove that Tasmania was separate from the mainland, that the adventurous young surgeon George Bass sailed his whaleboat from Sydney into Corner Inlet behind Wilson's Promontory, the southernmost point of mainland Australia, and returned home with enthusiastic reports of the potential value of the land he had seen in the area.

In the following years, small settlements (including one at Corinella on the eastern side of Western Port Bay) came and went, mainly to discourage perceived French ambitions, but Port Phillip, or Melbourne as it is today, was not settled until 1835.

Further east, the region that is now known as Gippsland was explored in 1839-41 by Angus MacMillan, who set up a cattle station on the lower Avon River in 1840. Seeking a suitable shipping point for his employer's cattle, MacMillan reached Port Albert on the coast to the east of Wilson's Promontory in February of 1841.

Gold at Stringer's Creek!


Concurrently with MacMillan's expeditions, in early 1840 a Polish adventurer named Paul Edmund de Strzelecki led his own expedition from Sydney to Western Port Bay in Victoria. Passing slightly to the east and south of the present site of Walhalla, Strzelecki's party could make no more than three kilometers a day through the mountain forests of South Gippsland, and only narrowly avoided starvation. In his official report of 26th June, 1840, he named the area Gipps Land in honour of Sir George Gipps, who was the governor of the colony of New South Wales from 1836 to 1846.

Get to Gippy!gmapb.jpg (24762 bytes)


Strzelecki's report and news of MacMillan's finds fuelled a land rush in the second half of 1840. Many other settlers drove cattle overland from New South Wales and by sea into the Port Albert and Corner Inlet areas to the east of Wilson's Promontory, in the earlier tracks of sealers and whaling crews, and the fortunate few convicts who had successfully escaped from van Diemen's Land (Tasmania), to the south.

The new settlements of Victoria prospered, and the Port Phillip District duly separated from the colony of New South Wales to become the colony of Victoria on July 1st, 1851. The settlers of the Gippsland district continued to make known their urgent needs for an overland stock route to Melbourne, and a cattle roadway 60 meters wide was surveyed through Gippsland to Melbourne in 1859.

Gold at Stringer's Creek!
letter.gif (7072 bytes) This page last changed: 10/08.  

Send your questions or comments about this web site to info@walhalla.org.au.

2004, 2013 Walhalla Heritage & Development League Inc.