Guildford, Victoria - History


The area was known as Yarrayne to the original inhabitants of the area, the Jajowarrung people. The first European to explore the area was Major Thomas Mitchell in 1836.

By the 1840s pastoral runs had been established and, in the following decade, gold miners flocked to the area during the rush at the Mount Alexander goldfields. The largest encampment of Chinese miners in Victoria (estimates vary from 5000-6000 individual miners) was situated at the junction of the Loddon River and Campbells Creek. Tensions ran high between the white miners and the Chinese which erupted in numerous local conflicts. This anti-Chinese hostility, combined with discriminatory taxation against Chinese miners, saw the Chinese population dwindle and eventually all but disappear by the end of the gold rush.

The first hotel opened in 1854 but was destroyed by fire three years later. The Guildford Family Hotel which also dates back to this era is still operational today. Other hotels in the town included the Farmers Arms Hotel (delicenced) and the Commercial Hotel (1865), the building now serving as a general store.

A school was built and a Post Office opened in 1860, followed by the Anglican Church the following year. The Catholic Church and the Wesleyan Chapel are now both private property.

In 1919 an avenue of honour was planted along the main road, using London Planes, to commemorate locals who fought in World War I.

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