First settled in the 1830's by squatters and pastorlists, with a number of their beautiful original homesteads still occupied today, Golden Plains became a hive of activity when gold was discovered in the region in 1851 near Napoleons. The northern townships exploded as people came in their droves from far and wide to find their fortune. At the southern end, townships became a major thoroughfare as the preferred route from Melbourne to the Ballarat goldfields, via a paddlesteamer to Geelong.
Victoria's final gold rush occurred in the township of Berringa in the first decade of the 20th century, providing more than 50 years of rich historical mining story that is still being told by the remnant townships, buildings and mine sites found in places like Steiglitz, Smythesdale, Scarsdale, Linton, Jubilee Mine and Enfield State Park.
As gold was being taken from the ground in the 19th century, grape vines were being planted, with the Moorabool Valley regarded as Victoria's oldest vineyard and wine producing area.
When the gold rush ended, people left almost as quickly as they came and Golden Plains returned to its agricultural roots. The broad acre farmlands were later allocated to returned service men through the solider settlements program and the legacy of this agricultural history can be witnessed through the bluestone farmhouses, stone wall fences, small townships and soldier settlement memorials.
Living so closely to the land, Golden Plains has become a gourmet paradise with its produce renowned across Australia, and can be experienced through various cellar doors, farm gates and the Golden Plains Farmers' Market. The winemakers of the Moorabool Valley have continued the passion of the early settlers, incorporated skills from around the world, and nurtured their vineyards to produce some of Australia's most sought after and awarded cool climate wines.
Rolling down from the edges of the Great Dividing Range to the grassy woodlands and native grasslands of the volcanic plains, Golden Plains is home to diverse ecological systems with various State and National Parks and rivers winding their way through the region. The stunning natural beauty of the region still remains visible and accessible.
In recent times, Golden Plains has developed a vibrant arts and cultural scene, hosting the Meredith Music Festival, Golden Plains Music Festival, Warrambeen Film Festival, Bluestone Blues Festival and Golden Plains Art Trail. Public art is part of the experience of exploring Golden Plains, with places like Corindhap displaying large wooden sculptures to help share and uphold the purpose of an Avenue of Honour.
So, like many before you, come taste, see and explore Golden Plains. We're glad we did.