Yea

Yea (including Ghin Ghin, Highlands, Caveat, Molesworth, Flowerdale and Glenburn)
Attractive small rural centre in the Yea Valley
Yea is an attractive town of around 1000 people situated on the Yea River in a fertile valley focused on pastoral activities and dairying. It is 109 km north-east of Melbourne via the Melba Highway, at the junction with the Goulburn Valley Highway, and 172 metres above sea-level.

The area was occupied by the Woiwurung people before white settlement. The first Europeans in the area were the party of explorers William Hovell and Hamilton Hume who crossed the Yea River near this point in 1824. Their favourable report of the grazing land they had seen led to the settlement of what is now Victoria.

The first settlers in the district were overlanders from NSW who arrived in 1837. Most of the good land along the Goulburn had been taken up by 1839. Yea would later develop on the Murrindindi run (the homestead is still standing to the south of town).

The future townsite was initially known to whites as the Muddy Creek settlement, as the Yea River was called Muddy Creek until 1878.

The town was surveyed and laid out in 1855 with town lots going on sale at Kilmore the following year. It was named after a Colonel Lacy Yea who was killed in the Crimean War.

Gold was discovered in the area in 1859 and a number of smaller mining settlements came into existence at this time, including Molesworth. Yea grew as a service centre to the diggers.

An Anglican church was erected in 1869 and Yea became a shire in 1873, at which time the population was about 250.

When the gold ran out the town survived on the back of farming and timbergetting. The railway arrived in 1883. Yea was promoted as something of a tourist centre in the 1890s with trout being released into King Parrot Creek to attract recreational anglers. A butter factory was built in 1891. There was a proposal in 1908 to submerge the town under the Trawool Water Scheme but it never went ahead.

By 1911 the town's population was 1126 and it is roughly the same today, despite two severe floods in 1934 and 1973 and a major conflagration in 1969.

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Things to see:

Tourist Information
Tourist information can best be obtained from the shire offices in High St, tel: (03) 5797 2209 or from the visitor centre at Alexandra, tel: (03) 5721 1000 or free-call (1800) 652 298.

Historical Buildings
There is a pamphlet which outlines Yea's historical buildings and it can be obtained from the shire offices or the visitor centre at Alexandra.

Start near the corner of High St (the main thoroughfare) and North St at the western end of town. At 16 North St is an intact private residence dating from 1876 when it was constructed of local handmade bricks.

Walk back to High St and head eastwards (in the direction of Alexandra). At High and Webster is one of Yea's earliest homes. The original kitchen is located to the rear of the house.

At 111 High St is Beaufort Manor, now a restaurant, built in 1876 of local handmade bricks. By the corner of High St and Melbourne Rd are the shire offices. Behind them is Yea's original schoolhouse, built in 1877 with extensions in 1885 and 1901.

Near the shire offices is the post office (1890). Duck down The Crescent which heads off High St back towards Station St. In a grassed area by the bowling green there is a monument to Hume and Hovell who crossed the Yea River near this point in 1824 on an expedition which would ultimately lead to the settlement of Victoria.

Nearby, at Lyons and Pelissier, is St Luke's Anglican Church (1869). Walk along Pelissier St then turn left into The Parade. Just along here, to the left, is the Sacred Heart Church which replaced the original timber building in 1902. The presbytery dates from the 1890s.

Return to St Luke's and cross over to the corner of Station and Anne St. The second-hand shop dates from 1889 when it was erected as a general store for a well-known Chinese resident, Mr Lee. Walk along Station St to the railway terminus (1889), considered a fine example of a Victorian Gothic station.

Return to High St and cross the road to the Grand Central Hotel, built in 1901 as the Caledonian Hotel. Next door is Baynes Furniture Store which was built in 1891 but relocated to this spot in 1920. Just past it is a side street. Walk along here to the recreation reserve where you will see an old-style pavilion dating from 1891.

Return to High St and turn left. The Westpac Bank was built in 1901 for the Commercial Bank, Purcell's commercial store was built in 1887, and the oldest section of what is now the Country Club Hotel dates from 1856 when it built as the Commercial Hotel. At High and Wood is the old police residence (1894). The stable and storage store were added in 1900.

Cross back over High St to the Shire Hall. Originally a single-storey structure it was rebuilt in its present form in 1894. Carter's Cafe, next door, was erected in 1887 as the Commercial Bank and it retains its original facade.

Scenic Drive - Ghin Ghin, Highlands, Caveat and Molesworth
To the north of town is a rolling granite plateau which rises to an elevation of 600 m. The acscent is along a narrow dirt road with a sheer drop to the left. However, it is a truly scenic trip through some quite dramatic gorge country.

Follow the highway west for 4 km and turn right. 6 km along this road is the former gold town of Ghin Ghin, now little more than a locality. Another 10 km will bring you to Highlands. On the way you will pass Mt Broughton (660 m), on the right.

From Highlands you can either head west to Seymour (32 km) or due east to Caveat (12 km). The latter route takes you up Wattle Hill (680 m).

At the 10 km mark, there is an intersection where the road to Caveat meets the Molesworth Rd. At this corner (2 km west of Caveat) is a stone circle created by sculptor Michael Hall. It is intended as a reference to the ancient stone circles of Scotland which were used to chart the movements of the heavenly bodies and was created to celebrate the centenary of Scottish settlement in the area.

At Caveat itself is the Catholic Lady of Seven Sorrows Church. Built in the 1920s, it reflects the Central European architectural heritage of the original Czech settlers. The bell was imported from Germany and the panel behind the alter was painted by a Czech artist from Sydney. Also at Caveat are Antcliff's Chase Wines (see next entry) and 'The Grotto', a memorial statue to those same settlers. Further north, along the back road to Euroa, are Dropmore Mineral Springs.

Return to the stone circle and follow the Molesworth Rd south for 14 km where it rejoins the Goulburn Valley Highway at Molesworth, 13 km east of Yea. Molesworth was settled by John Ridd, a direct descendant of the John Ridd who was the protagonist in R.D. Blackmore's famous novel, Lorna Doone. The property is still called Lorna Doone.

Antcliff's Chase Wines
Antcliff's Chase Wines, established in 1982, produces riesling, chardonnay, pinot noir and a cabernet ensemble. The cellar door is open from 10.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. weekends or by appointment, tel: (03) 5790 4333.

Scenic Drive - Railway Tunnel
Head east along the Goulburn Valley Highway for 2 km then turn right onto the Limestone Rd. 6 km along is an old railway tunnel which is allegedly the state's largest.

Murrindindi Homestead
8 km south of Yea, along the Melba Highway, is a turnoff on the left into Murrindindi Rd (signposted as 'Tourist Road 4'). By this corner is 'Murrindindi', a good example of an early vernacular homestead which was built in 1844-45 on the first pastoral run in the immediate area. There is a kitchen and stable block and a two-storey wing was added to the homestead in 1912. The woolshed dates from 1881 and the whole is set in fine gardens. It is occasionally open for inspection but remains private property. It is set back from the road somewhat but can be seen from the roadside.

Murrindindi Reserve
Murrindindi Rd heads south-east through Murrindindi Reserve. The road takes you by Wilhelmina Falls, 32 km south via the Melba Highway. Further along is another waterfall known as the Cascades. The reserve supports a range of fauna including wombats, lyrebirds and platypuses.

Murrindindi Vineyards
Murrindindi Vineyards, established in 1984, is located on the Murrindindi-Cummins Rd at Murrindindi, to the south of Yea (phone for directions). They produce chardonnay and cabernet and are open by appointment only, tel: (03) 5797 8217.

Flowerdale Winery
25 km south-west of town via the Whittlesea Rd (North St) is Flowerdale where you will find Flowerdale Winery, tel: (03) 5780 1432. The drive is quite scenic, passing over green hills and farmland.

Glenburn
28 km south along the Melba Highway is Glenburn where you can pick your own fruit (in season) at Berry King Farm, located on Two Hills Rd, tel: (03) 5797 8348.

Tartan Motel
17 High St
Yea VIC 3717
Telephone: (03) 5797 2202
Rating: ***

Yea Motel
8 Miller St
Yea VIC 3717
Telephone: (03) 5797 2660
Rating: ***

Grand Central Hotel
High St
Yea VIC 3717
Telephone: (03) 5797 2513

Yea Country Club Hotel
High St
Yea VIC 3717
Telephone: (03) 5797 2514

Cheviot Glen Cottage
Limestone Rd P.O. Box 125
Yea VIC 3717
Telephone: (03) 5797 2617 or 015 816 456
Rating: ****

Yea Family Caravan Park
Miller St
Yea VIC 3717
Telephone: (03) 5797 2972
Rating: **

Greenhills Restaurant
High St
Yea VIC 3717
Telephone: (03) 5797 2009

Marmalades Restaurant
High St
Yea VIC 3717
Telephone: (03) 5797 2999

Yea Butter Factory Restaurant
Rattray St
Yea VIC 3717
Telephone: (03) 5797 2304

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