Anglers Rest, Victoria
|Population||Nominal (part of Omeo) (2006)|
|Elevation||670.0 m (2,198 ft)|
|LGA(s)||Shire of East Gippsland|
|State electorate(s)||Gippsland East|
Anglers Rest is a locality in Victoria, Australia. It is on the Omeo Highway, 28.5 kilometres (17.7 mi) north of Omeo in the Shire of East Gippsland, almost totally surrounded by the Alpine National Park. At the 2006 census, Anglers Rest had a nominal population, being counted as part of Omeo.
The name Anglers Rest is descriptive, indicating that the location is a good spot for anglers, being close to the confluence of several noted trout fishing rivers, the Cobungra River, the Bundara River, the Big River, and the Mitta Mitta River. The Bundara River flows into the Big River a few kilometres north of Anglers Rest, and where the Cobungra River joins the Big River just south of Anglers Rest they become the Mitta Mitta River. Besides fishing, the area is also popular for white water rafting, bushwalking, camping, horseriding, and mountain biking.
The Blue Duck Inn
Perhaps the most notable feature of Anglers Rest is the historic Blue Duck Inn, standing alongside the Omeo Highway crossing of the Cobungra River. The local area is in fact commonly referred to simply as 'the blue duck', rather than Anglers Rest, in reference to the prominence of this hotel.
The original 1900 timber slab building operated as a butcher shop, servicing gold miners on what was at the time a walking track from Omeo to the gold fields around Mount Wills. In 1912 a successful miner called Billy O’Connell purchased the establishment and obtained a hotel licence on the understanding that the main road would pass the building. After the road was surveyed this did not eventuate, and the inn gained its name when O'Connell nailed a panning dish out the front and wrote 'Blue Duck' on it, blue duck being the term for a failed gold lease.
In the 1920s O'Connell relocated the hotel to its current location by moving two houses through the bush from Omeo on horse drays; one of these is the current main building of the inn, while the other was placed further up the hill as his home, on the site of the existing cabin accommodation. O'Connell also built a small log building behind the pub, which was staffed for a time by the Education Department as Anglers Rest Primary School (State School Number 4286), mainly to educate O'Connell's own children.
The Blue Duck Inn soon became popular with anglers, who even in those days travelled from as far away as Melbourne for the fishing, including the Chairman of Commissioners on the Victorian Railways, Sir Harold Clapp. Clapp became so enamoured with the inn he arranged for apprentices at the Newport Railway Workshops to cast the bronze blue duck that still stands at the entrance.
The O'Connells moved on in 1946, and the inn went through several hands before declining trade resulted in it relinquishing its liquor license in 1967. The Blue Duck Inn was eventually refurbished and re-licensed in 1998.
The Anglers Rest area was severely impacted by the massive 2003 Eastern Victorian alpine bushfires. While hundreds of square kilometres of the surrounding region was directly affected by the fires for close to two months, an especially intense fire devastated the area around Anglers Rest on 26 January 2003, with several homes being lost, and The Blue Duck Inn barely being saved.
- Australian Bureau of Statistics (25 October 2007). "Omeo (State Suburb)". 2006 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 2007-10-01.
- "Place Names Search: Anglers Rest". Geoscience Australia. Commonwealth of Australia. Retrieved 28 December 2010.
- "Welcome: The Historic Pub on the banks of the Cobungra River". The Blue Duck Inn Hotel. Blue Duck Inn. Retrieved 28 December 2010.
- "History: The Blue Duck Story". The Blue Duck Inn Hotel. Blue Duck Inn. Retrieved 28 December 2010.
- "Anglers Rest Glen Wills Omeo Valley". Omeo Region Business and Tourism. Omeo Region Business and Tourism Association. Retrieved 28 December 2010.
- Noble, Tom (2 February 2003). "Razing Heaven". The Age. Retrieved 29 December 2010.
- "No end in sight for Victorian bushfires". The Age. 27 January 2003. Retrieved 29 December 2010.
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