50 towns in 50 days: History lives on in Blampied

Blampied livestock farmer Neil Lafranchi. PICTURE: ADAM TRAFFORD
Blampied livestock farmer Neil Lafranchi. PICTURE: ADAM TRAFFORD

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STANDING in his garden, lifelong Blampied resident Neil Lafranchi can see much of his family's history.

His brother lives down the road and their childhood home is a stone's throw away on the busy Midland Highway.

Mr Lafranchi, a livestock farmer, says the introduction of a single piece of technology brought the biggest change to Blampied.

"The motor vehicle has been the biggest change," he said.

"You know, when I was only five or six years of age there were little old cars that would do about 60 ks or 30 miles an hour and now its go like the blazes."

Mr Lafranchi said the Swiss Mountain Hotel's planned reopening will be a big event for the town, attracting visitors and drivers on their way through.

"When the pub was going, a chap by the name of Sonny Little was in it," he said.  

"He was a very good publican ... you'd be driving along the highway 200 ks from here and people would see my truck and say "you're from Blampied, you know Sonny Little."

He said visitors could enjoy the potato farming landscape or the nearby Kangaroo Hills.

"It's not a very well known place. It's only a few years ago a sign was put up to say you were

going through Blampied itself," he said.  

The Basics

Municipality: Hepburn Shire

Population: 174

First settled: 1860s

Main Industries: Agriculture

Claim to fame: The Swiss Mountain Hotel established in 1865 was one of regional Victoria's oldest licensed hotels.

Five fast facts

1. The town is named for Louis Blampied who built the hotel now called the Swiss Mountain Inn

2. The walls of the hotel display historic photos, including one from 1910 showing horse and carts travelling to Daylesford to Ballarat.

3. Blampied Post Office opened in November 1879 and closed in 1971

4. The historic St Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church was built between 1874 and 1869

5. Blampied-based lawyer Stephanie Hodgins-May will contest the seat of Ballarat against MP Catherine King at the next election.

Five things to do

1. Visit Captain's Creek Organic Winery for organic wine, cider, regional cheeses and farm produce.

2. Enjoy the picturesque scenery during a bush walk in the nearby Kangaroo Hills

3. See the inside of St Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church during mass at 6.30pm on the 1st, 3rd and 5th Saturday of the month

4. See the historic Swiss Mountain Hotel, expected to be reopened in 2013

5. Go fishing in one of the local waterways and creeks.




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