Broadford is located 72 km north of Melbourne and 216 m above sea level, in the sheep and cattle district of south central Victoria. Interestingly its emergence as a township was more a result of the northbound traffic from Melbourne rather than the needs of the local farmers.
In 1842, the Sunday Creek Inn (named after a nearby stream where the explorers Hume and Hovell camped one Sunday) and Stockyard Inn were built to cater for the passing trade. Blacksmiths and small stores soon appeared and the town was gazetted in 1854 with original allotments selling at £2 a piece. The area between the two inns became the focal point of the village's business and leisure activities.
Goldmining communities sprang up around Broadford after gold was discovered in Sunday Creek in the 1860s. The construction of the railroad from Melbourne to Albury-Wodonga caused an immediate decline in passing traffic which was so substantial that, in 1874, the Sunday Creek Inn closed. It later reopened as a general store.
In 1890 the town's huge paper mill was built by James McDougall - a relative of the noted publisher, Sands & McDougall. It is largely upon the paper industry that the town now depends for its prosperity, although there is also a clothing factory and a wool-scouring plant. The town's substantial reserves of fine white kaolin clay are used both as a medical absorbent and for the manufacture of pottery.
The Broadford Country Music Festival is held in February, the Broadford March Hare Fair at the local primary school in March, the Scottish Festival in October and the Broadford Country Show in November.
Things to see
Pioneer Cottage and Broadford Courier
Antiquated printing equipment can be seen in the Broadford Courier building, which was constructed in 1891. It was moved in the 1980s from its original site to one adjoining the Pioneer Cottage, beside the old Hume Highway. The latter building is a replica of the crude slab huts built by the early settlers. Constructed by the local historical society it offers an insight into the living standards and construction techniques of the past. The interiors of both buildings are open for public inspection between 2.00 p.m. - 4.00 p.m. on Sundays. The Reedy Creek and Glenaroua homesteads are more authentic monuments to the earlier days of settlement and are both classified by the National Trust.
Mount Disappointment State Forest
To the south-east of the town is the Mount Disappointment State Forest. The 796 m high mountain can be climbed and is best approached via Mountain Road at Heathcote Junction to the south. It was named by Hume and Hovell after they ascended it hoping to catch a glimpse of Port Phillip Bay. Nearby is Blair's Hut Picnic Ground where a walking trail follows Russell's Creek. The 50 m high Murchison Falls can be observed at the northern end of the park. A weir in the forest supplies Broadford with drinking water that is renowned for its purity.