Mitta valley

Mitta Valley Timeline

  • Period: to

    20,000 years of Aboriginal occupation

    For 20,000 years the Mitta valley was inhabited by the indigenous people of the Yaitmathang tribe. These people occupied the lower floodplains in winter using the rivers and creeks as and then migrated up to the areas around Mt Bogong in summer, to make the most of the abundant Bogong moths. The summer months were incredibly pivotal social and cultural events, as people from other tribes would come and engage in economic trades for the moths (Mitta Valley inc., 2017).
  • European Settlement

    European Settlement
    The first settlement occurred in 1835, when James and William Wyse set up the Mitta Station, which existed on the land that is now occupied by the Mitta Township. The Settlement of the valley naturally led to conflict between the Yaitmathang people and the settleers, and consequently led to the total displacement over the next 180 years (Mitta Valley inc., 2017). The fertile valleys of the area was used as a combination of pastoral agriculture and cattle up until the discovery of gold in 1851
  • Period: to

    Pastoral Period

    Post discovery from Hume and Hovell the Mitta Valley embarked of a period of pastoral occupation of the fertile lands of the valley.
  • Rocky start to the gold era

    In 1851 the face of the Mitta Valley changed forever as gold was found in the Mitta area (Mitta Valley inc., 2017). However, unlike other areas in Victoria the early alluvial diggings were relatively poor as heavy rain and snowfall restricted access to best gold down in the streams, so much so that over 100 diggers had abandoned the area within four months (Fairweather, 1983).
  • Period: to

    Mining Period

    Like most of Victoria the Mitta Valley endured a period associated to with gold rush as people flocked from all over the world to indulge in some of Victoria's natural resources.
  • Development of the Gold Fields

    Development of the Gold Fields
    In 1853 gold started to shape the area as more experienced minors from Canada and California migrated to the area and began to extract more gold. It was still not as substantial as in other areas due to its isolated nature, which led to extreme freight costs, and high cost of living. Even in 1857 the “ovens and Murray Advertiser” stated that the Omeo gold fields offered little activity as much of their gold fields needs extensive water races to be cut. (Fairweather, 1983).
  • Introduction of Commercialisation

    Introduction of Commercialisation
    In 1882, Henry Foster organised and funded the erection of the first battery in the area. This battery is referred to by either; the Omeo quartz crushing company or the Omeo crushing Machine. This was a pivotal point as it allowed the miners to go from solely alluvial mining, (through using watercourses) to hard rock mining (mining along quartz reefs). This development meant that there was no need for the extensive infrastructure which alluvial mining requires.
  • Union Gold Sluicing Company

    Union Gold Sluicing Company
    The Union Gold Sluicing Company was formed in 1884 and led to the major break for the region as they commenced open cut mining using hydraulic sluicing, which was a new technology imported from California. This mine yielded 441 kg of gold during its twenty year existence (Mitta, 2018).
  • The formation of Glen Wills

    The formation of Glen Wills
    Glen Wills is a town in the valley which was situated around an old mine field on the Wombat Creek. The mine field was firstly developed as a gold field, but heavy traces of tin were discovered. I prospecting party was dispatched led by Mr Mason as part of the Omeo Prospecting Committee who also made discoveries of substantial tin. These discoveries led to the formation of Glen Wills as a recognised town.
  • Period: to

    Growth of Glen Wills

    Glen Wills experienced a period of prosperity between 1888-1893 during the ‘Tin Boom’ occurred but as Tin didn’t become the next major metal and the deposits were not as lucrative as thought, the mine began to dwindle (Fairweather, 1983). As tin began to dwindle some new quartz reefs were discovered and led to gold mining sustaining the glen wills township of 500 people all the way till the start of the second world war (Steenhuis, 1998).
  • The Dairy Industry

    The Dairy Industry
    Due to the isolated nature of the area, there was a necessity for the area to be predominantly self sufficient which let to the initiation of the dairy industry, with the main plots at Himomunjie, Tongio and Omeo stations. The dairy industry remained one of the main industries of the area up until 2012(O'Kane, 2018).
  • Introduction of dredging

    Introduction of dredging
    By the turn of the century the majority of the alluvial and underground gold deposits had been exhausted which led to the introduction of bucket dredging techniques in 1906 (Kelly, 2007).
  • The End of the mining era

    The End of the mining era
    In 1913 with the closure of the Mitta Mitta dredge led to the end of any serious mining endeavours in the area. Small time fossicking and brief dredging operation in the 1980’s is the last recognised mining in the area.
  • Period: to

    Era of Recreation and Tourism

    The Mitta Valley area now relies on tourism as its main economic industry, with the area extremely popular with; White water paddlers, recreational camping, fishing hunting and bush walking.
  • Bushfire's

    In 2003 the area was engulfed by an intense bushfire spreading from the Hotham and Mt Bogong area. Four homes in Omeo were destroyed.
  • Beef industry

    Beef industry
    Currently the main agricultural industry in the 21st century has transferred from dairy to beef.