Lose yourself in the history of the High Country

The Omeo Region has a complex and intriguing history.  

Indigenous Australians inhabited the High Country and the Omeo Region for many thousands of years prior to European settlement.  Among the best known of their activities was the late autumn Bogong Moth festival with neighbouring groups gathering to feast on the fat-rich insects in the High Country.

The pioneering cattlemen of the High Country and the Chinese miners of the Livingstone diggings have all left their mark and reminders of each era can be found across the region.

The first European to visit the area was Lhotsky in 1832 where it is believed he reached as far as Mt Hotham.  It was his reports of the grazing possibilities on his return trip that saw the area become established from 1834.

The ‘official’ discovery of gold in 1851 forever changed the region bringing a large and multicultural population to the area.

The vastness of Australia’s largest alluvial gold diggings is breathtaking, with cliffs looming more than 100ft high and a maze of underground tunnels crisscrossing the Oriental Claims near Omeo, some of the richest in the state.  The claims are heritage listed and set around the beautiful Livingstone Creek.  

The wealth from mining provided the historic architecture found in the towns today, while relics from the many mining sites have left a wealth of fascinating places to explore and visit.

The High Country Cattleman is iconic for his horsemanship, bushcraft skills and resourcefulness: the region started with agriculture and returned to it after the gold rush was over.

Today the region is sustained by a mix of farming, tourism, timber and, to a small degree, mining. Take care of what you discover, leave it for others to see and please take your rubbish with you.  

Must See and Do

  • See local tribes' artifacts on display at the Parks Victoria office, Omeo
  • Relive the region’s history at the Omeo Historical Museum and Justice Precinct
  • Explore the historic mining sites of Cassilis, Glen Wills, Victoria Falls
  • Retrace the miners' footsteps along pathways around the historic Oriental claims and uncover the history of the gold rush
  • Visit High Country Huts such as Wallace, Kennedy and Davies Plain
  • Stroll down the main streets of the High Country towns, where the interpretive signage provides an insight into the history of the region and its buildings
cassilis

Cassilis was named after a small township in Scotland. In the 1800s at the peak of the gold boom.

justice-precinct

The museum is housed in the old courthouse, and contains many artifacts of the region's history.

oriental-claims

The name "Oriental Claims" projects the image of a large area occupied by those of Asian descent in vast numbers.