Violet Town Heritage Walk

49 Cowslip St., Violet Town 3669

Violet Town Heritage Walk

49 Cowslip St., Violet Town 3669

Staff Pick
1 h 16 m
5.08 km
Very Easy

There is plenty of interest along this 5km Heritage Walk loop around Violet Town. Rich with historic features, services and amenities, it has something for everyone.

Violet Town Heritage Walk

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There is plenty of interest along this 5km Heritage Walk loop around Violet Town. Rich with historic features, services and amenities, it has something for everyone.


Find out more

Start and finish where you like. For the 5km walk, the suggested Lion's Park start / finish offers toilets, water, shelter and shops nearby.

Violet Town Origins
In 1838, the government surveyed the site ‘Violet Creek’. Land sales began in 1839. Named after prolific Native Violets seen by early explorers, it is the oldest surviving inland town surveyed from Port Phillip District of NSW. Mitchelltown was earlier, but no longer exists.

The Royal Mail Hotel opened in 1846, the village began to grow. Buildings went from bark huts to timber construction. By the 1860s it had 3 hotels, a bakery and school.

The main road was High St (Beechworth Coach Rd). The town was an important coach stop on the Melbourne to Sydney Road where it met the overland telegraph and tracks to Bendigo and the north-eastern gold fields. Some current High St houses were tea rooms & Inns.

Railway arrival in 1872/3 saw a CBD shift west of the line. Principal streets became Cowslip, Hyacinth, Tulip and Rose. In 1895 the Shire of Violet Town was gazetted. In 1994 it was amalgamated with adjoining Shires to become part of the Shire of Strathbogie.

The town has great tourism, recreation and sporting features. The shopping centre caters for visitor's needs. Swap a yarn or spot a bargain at the famous Violet Town Market held in the Recreation Reserve on the second Saturday of each month.

Walk, birdwatch or picnic at one of the delightful Bushland Reserves: Honeysuckle Creek Track or Shadforth Reserve. Watch for the very sociable, but threatened, Grey Crowned Babbler as you move around. The community efforts to improve habitat are worth experiencing.

Stay. When you have had a good look around town, tour the countryside. With plains and river country to the north and west, the mountains to the north and east, there are many fascinating places to be.

A sub committee of Violet Town Action Group, Violet Town History Group was formed to preserve and document the story of Violet Town. Information and photographs provided by current and former residents of Violet Town have been gratefully received and helped create this walk.

The History Group acknowledges the traditional owners of the lands, and pay respect to elders both past and present.

Violet Town Heritage Walk (short version)

Car parking
Picnic tables
Public toilets
Potable water
Historic features
Sports Reserves
Swimming Pool
Directional signs
Information signs
Sections suitable for mobility assist device access

Open water
Limbs may fall
Uneven ground
Snakes may be active
Beware of vehicle traffic
Carry food, water & be SunSmart

Dogs must be leashed & under control at all times
No camping
Historic relics are protected
Drivers/riders must: use formed roads only, be licensed, be registered

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Points of Interest

1. Violet Town Lion's Park

You can start anywhere. However, Lion's Park has advantages: public toilets, potable water, directional & information signs, shelter, seats, BBQ, gardens, shops, even a playground for the kids.

2. Boer War Memorial at Violet Town Community Complex

In memory of two local men, Pte C. Williams and Pte J.E. White, this memorial was moved from the centre of Cowslip St after an accident. Lamps commemorate WW1, WWII, the Korean & Vietnam Wars.

3. Site of Violet Town's first Post Office

Taken over by the PMG in 1891, in the late 1890s Violet Town had one of the first female mail contractors in Victoria.

4. Post Office

Built in 1910 after the former Post Office burnt, this building includes a three bedroom house that is now privately owned. It is the last of a number of Post Office sites in Violet Town.

5. Ellen Frances Hotel

The building was built as Underwood’s Railway Hotel in 1886. The upper storey was destroyed by fire in 1993. The external walls of the new building are part of the original structure.

6. Wheelwright, coach maker, blacksmith, undertaker, building, reaper & binder sales

In 1870, this was Riddell Bros store as described above. The Peacocks followed, adding a delivery truck doubling as a hearse. Today: Ian Errey Museum, a produce store, Babblers cafe & BackArts Gallery

7. The Mechanics Institute and Free Library

Built on this site in 1887, the Mechanic's Institute and Free Library were extended in 1929 and replaced with today's Memorial Hall in 1968.

8. The Butcher Shop

Now a Pharmacy, the butchery operated continuously on these premises for more than a century until January 2005. Previously a cordial factory operated in conjunction behind the main building.

9. Violet Town Hotel

From 1884, the site was John McShane's Kialla Hotel until it burnt down. The existing building, now named the Violet Town Hotel, was built in 1908.

10. Supermarket

The Hill's General Store was built on this site in 1896. Later ‘Goodfellows’ store, this has been the site for a grocery shop for over a century. Some people will remember it as P.W. Harcourts.

11. National Bank

The National Bank was originally a slab hut circa 1873, later a wooden structure, followed by this building constructed in 1910. It is now a private office.

12. Shire of Violet Town, proclaimed 11 April 1895

Now an Antique Shop, the Shire Offices were built in 1899 by Humphrey and Firth of Footscray for 480 pounds. Earlier meetings were held in the Mechanics Institute. These Shire Offices closed in 1979.

13. Home of Sawmiller Mr McDonald

This Federation period home was built about 1912. The family lived here until the late 1980s.

14. Honeysuckle Regional Health

Violet Town Bush Nursing Hospital was built in 1929. By 1963 the demand for acute and obstetric care had declined, leaving the site without a Doctor. It became an aged and community care facility.

15. Honeysuckle Health Wetlands

You can choose to walk straight up Rose St to continue or take a detour around the ponds of the wetland created next to Honeysuckle Health instead.

16. Site of the former Violet Town sale yards

Livestock sale yards were constructed here in 1891. A small section of fence on the south side corner of Rose St and Mary Lane still stands.

17. First surveyed inland block in Victoria.

On the south east corner of the Rose and Tulip Street intersection is the first inland surveyed block in the state. It is Allotment 1, Section 1 Violet Creek, survey map September 1838.

18. Site of the original Flour Mill and later the Butter Factory

Opposite 6 Tulip Street, on the Honeysuckle Creek bank, sat George Gordon's flour mill and later Isaac Wallace's butter factory in 1891. This was the district's first butter factory.

19. Violet Town School

A National School opened in 1849 with 19 students. State School No 604 opened in 1875 and was enlarged in 1908. The original building still stands. Many students rode more than 10km to school.

20. Violet Town Recreation Reserve Memorial Gates

The iron gates date from 1884. The ‘Lest We Forget’ motto was added in 1957. The cannon are 28 pounders from World War II. This Reserve is home to Violet Town market and many other activities.

21. Site of former Presbyterian Church

The original Church was built in 1893 at this location. The current building houses St Andrew's Uniting Church with a raised bed community garden that is worth visiting on Mary's Lane out back.

22. Major Mitchell historic marker

This memorial rock and plaque commemorates that Surveyor General Major Mitchell and his party camped at this site on October 11, 1836 on their way back to Sydney.

23. St Dunstan's Church & Parish Hall

Built in 1874, this Anglican Church gained a rectory in 1906 and a Parish Hall in 1910. The complex features a scaffolded bell tower, memorial wall and scratching chickens in the attractive garden.

24. Masonic Temple

Construction began in 1929 and the Temple opened in 1931 in support of the Masonic Lodge formed in 1923. The building is now a private residence.

25. St Attracta's Catholic Church

In October 1898, this brick church replaced a wooden one (moved to Rothesay near Tatong). Previous mass service sites were a private home, the National Bank slab building and a wooden chapel nearby.

26. Southern Aurora Memorial Garden

This garden was created to remember those who died or were injured on February 7, 1969. The Southern Aurora crashed head on into a goods train approximately 1km south of Violet Town.

27. Honeysuckle Creek Walk eastern entry

This lovely 3km loop walk through the bushland park along Honeysuckle Creek is not described as part of the Heritage Walk, but make sure you don.t miss it. Get the brochure via the link below..

Find out more

28. Hume and Hovell historic marker

This rock pyramid and crossed cairn commemorates that explorers Hume and Hovell passed through this area on December 29, 1824. They camped some 6km away. Until 1980, High St was the old Hume Highway.

29. Police Station site

The Police Station was the site of the Farmer's Arms Hotel, built in 1889 and burnt down in 1968.

30. Avenue of Honour

Violet Town's World War I Avenue of Honour lines the western end of Cowslip St. Each tree has a plaque memorialising a local fallen soldier.

31. Grogan's A1 Cash Warehouse

Now a pharmacy depot and Hairdresser, this building was a general store and drapery called "Grogan's A1 Cash Warehouse" and later Wingfilelds and Hazels - originating around 1890.

32. Once home to the Sentinel newspaper press

Recently a greengrocer, hospital cottage shop, formerly Henry Trewella’s Hairdressers (1937), Violet Town Sentinel newspaper, Estate’s Milk Bar and Strone's Shoemakers. These shops date from 1925.

33. Community swimming pool

Built by the community and opened in 1957, this was the first public swimming pool in the region.

34. Violet Town Garage

Opened in 1931 by George LePage after EW LePage obtained his Automotive Engineering Certificate, the garage was still being run by the LePage brothers in 1951.

35. Violet Town Railway Station

Operating since 1938, the original building opened in 1873 further down the platform. The station is well maintained, including lovely garden beds, by the Violet Town Stationeers community group.


Public Transport Public Transport
Playground Playground
Picnic spot Picnic spot
Drinking water available Drinking water available
Seating available Seating available
Public toilets Public toilets
Pram friendly Pram friendly
Historical interest Historical interest
Local treasures Local treasures
Art and culture Art and culture
Nature trail Nature trail
Lake, creek, river Lake, creek, river
Park / Garden Park / Garden