Wonnangatta Station

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All that remains today of the Wonnangatta Station homestead. The stones outline the original floorplan.
Wonnangatta Station is located in Victoria
Wonnangatta Station
Wonnangatta Station
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Wonnangatta Station location

The Wonnangatta Station was a cattle station located in a remote valley of the Victorian Alps, Australia. According to writer Harry Stephenson the station, while it operated, was “the most isolated homestead in Victoria.” [1][2]

Location[edit]

The nearest population centres were the goldfield towns of Talbotville, about 20 miles (32 km) away, Grant and Dargo to the south-east, and the larger town of Mansfield, about 80 miles (130 km) away over the Great Dividing Range.

The Wonnangatta Station homestead was accidentally burnt down by bushwalkers in 1957. Some stockyards and the old cemetery, which has been restored to something resembling its original form, survive. Today the area is part of the Alpine National Park, and is only accessible by Four-wheel drive, dirt bike, horse or on foot. The station remains a popular offroad destination and has numerous facilities for campers, including septic toilets and concrete fire pits.

History[edit]

The station had been established in the 1860s by Oliver Smith, a North American who came across the valley while prospecting for gold. Smith’s common law wife Ellen or “Nancy”[3] and her son Harry joined him and a homestead was built near the junction of the Wonnangatta River and Conglomerate Creek.[4]

Some time later Ellen died in childbirth,[5] and soon after Smith sold out to William Bryce before eventually returning to the United States.

The Bryce family then occupied the station while Ellen’s son Harry Smith moved down the valley and established himself at Eaglevale. The Bryce family remained a presence at Wonnangatta until Mrs Bryce died in 1914 at the age of 78. Ten Bryce children were brought up at Wonnangatta. As the children grew up they moved away and after Mrs Bryce’s death the property was sold to Mansfield owners in 1916, who installed a manager to run the station.

The Wonnangatta Murders[edit]

The station and surrounding area are the site of the still-unsolved Wonnangatta murders which occurred in late 1917 and 1918.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Stephenson, Harry (1980) Cattlemen and Huts of the High Plains. p. 69. Graphic Books, Armidale, Victoria, Australia ISBN 0-949847-00-3
  2. ^ Homestead location 37°12′29″S 146°49′50″E / 37.207950°S 146.830665°E / -37.207950; 146.830665.
  3. ^ Mortimer, Wallace. (1980) The History of Wonnangatta Station. p.10-11, Spectrum Publications, Richmond, Australia ISBN 0-909837-90-2.
  4. ^ Stephenson, Harry (1980) p.57
  5. ^ Stephenson dates this event as 1866, Mortimer as 1873. Her headstone at the station cemetery is apparently indecipherable

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 37°12′30″S 146°49′52″E / 37.20833°S 146.83111°E / -37.20833; 146.83111