The last town before Mt Hotham on the Great Alpine Road, Harrietville is an old gold mining town that was settled in 1852. The quest for gold, first by alluvial mining then reef mining and finally dredging, went unabated until the mid 1950’s. It ended when the mammoth dredge, the Tronoh, was sold to Malaysia in the 1950’s.
The rich soil of the valley floor and the river that flows through ensures bountiful crops and produce for the local farmers. Tobacco, vegetables, trout, salmon and berries thrive in the unique conditions. Many of the locals make their living by providing finest rate produce that lends itself to tourist attraction.
Tourism has always been a vital component to the continued existence of Harrietville as a township. Harrietville has been a vital part of the valley community since the beginning because the town has provided a host of alpine services that cater for those who wish to travel in the mountains. By 1884 there was a road to Omeo that allowed the development of travellers’ facilities further up the mountain. The Great Alpine Road was finally sealed all the way from Harrietville to Omeo in 1998.
Harrietville gave skiing a boost in the 1930’s and 40’s by providing a service that escorted groups to ski at Hotham or Feathertop. In the years before World War Two, mountain or snow tourism on foot and horseback were arranged from Harrietville. Today ski hire, accommodation and 4WD hire encourage visitors to explore the high country.
Harrietville’s history is a rich one with still much to be told and the rivers and the mountains continue to hold a fascination for those who care to enjoy them.
Attractions and Activities in Harrietville
Harrietville’s history is captured in Pioneer Park and there’s a 45 minute Riverside Walk that starts in the park, then loops along the river and back to the Great Alpine Road
Harrietville has a trout farm, lavender farm, local made produce, Harrietville Museum, 2 Hotels, Pioneer Park, Markets, walks (some Alpine hikes begin or end at Harrietville), and loads more!