50 towns in 50 days: History lives in Smythes Creek

ALTHOUGH Smythes Creek is well known as an area, rather than a town, its history makes it one of the most famous places in Victoria. 

Gold was reportedly discovered in Smythes Creek in 1848, well before the official discovery of gold in Victoria.

Now home to hobby farmers and retirees, Smythes Creek boasts a peaceful landscape and magnificent views of Mt Buninyong.

Only 10 minutes from Ballarat’s CBD, Smythes Creek offers residents the opportunity to enjoy the space of acreage whilst having the convenience of regional city amenities close at hand. And that is exactly what attracted retired teacher Ted Lynes to Smythes Creek 26-years-ago.

“It is a great place to live. We’ve got our own little place of dirt, we’re close to the city and we’re not bothered with traffic,” he said.

“I think people move to Smythes Creek because of the lifestyle that it offers - it’s fabulous.”

A member of the Smythesdale Historical Society, Mr Lynes said he has every ambition of staying in Smythes Creek forever.

“I’d like to stay here for the rest of my life. My wife loves it out here too. She loves the freedom. Nice people live in nice areas like this and I feel very safe out here.”

The basics:

Municipality: Golden Plains Shire Council

Population: 1428

First settled:1838 as part of an agricultural run

Main industries: Agriculture, forestry and fishing; rental, hiring and real estate services; manufacturing and construction.

Claim to fame: Gold was discovered in Smythes Creek in 1848, well before the official discovery. 

Five fast facts

1. The discovery of gold at Smythes Creek had been reported in 1848, well before the official discovery of gold in Victoria.

2. Smythes Creek takes its name from Captain John James Barlow Smythe the squatter who had previously had the Nintingbool Run. The Woady Yaloak Creek runs through Nintingbool and it was known as Smythes Creek at that time.

3. Smythes Creek is home to Ballarat’s mushroom farm which supplies local fruit and veg shops.

4. The original Smythes Creek is further south close to the area of the Old Cemetery. Gradually it moved southward as miners followed the gold along the creek.

5. Between 1851 and 1853 the population of diggers fluctuated between 200 and 1000. There was a large Chinese camp (Phoenix camp) on the corner of the Haddon‐Ross Creek road.  

Five things to do:

1. Enjoy a glass of Tomboy Hill Smythes Creek Pinot Noir.

2. Hobby farming

3. Horse riding

4. Cycling

5. Enjoy the space of large acreage whilst still being less than 15 minutes’ drive from the CBD of Ballarat.

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