Amazing as it seems, Buninyong was settled long before Ballarat was even thought
of. In 1838, the Learmonth brothers established a sheep station
nearby. Sawyers and wood splitters built its first huts in 1841 and
an eating-house was established the same year.
Today's Buninyong, an easy 15-minute drive south of Ballarat,
retains splendid colonial architecture. As one of Victoria's first
inland settlements, Buninyong has kept a strong sense of its past
and heritage. Its gracious old buildings set in wide serene streets
are testament to boom times during the 1850s gold rush, when the
population reached 10,000 people.
Many of the town's historic buildings have been faithfully
restored and the town boasts a range of art and craft galleries,
tearooms and boutique shopping stores. Nearby Mount Buninyong
overlooks the township and offers breathtaking views of the region
and an abundance of walking tracks.
Start at the Old Library in Warrenheip Street for information,
maps and things to see (open Tue and Wed10am-12.30pm; Sun
10am-3pm). Or visit the Historical Society at the Old Court
House in Learmonth Street (third Saturday of each month
9.30am-11.30am). Or just ask a local.
Blacksmith strikes gold in Buninyong
Stroll down the main street and look up at the old buildings, some
of which date to the mid-1800s when many of the town's 10,000
residents were chasing riches associated with the goldfields. Local
blacksmith Thomas Hiscock was the first, in August 1851, to
discover a piece of the lustrous metal, just where a memorial marks
the spot - on the north side of the Midland Hwy 2km west of the
village, just before the cemetery. Other historical plaques can be
found 400m along Hiscock Gully Road.
Town Hall and Court House (1886)
The Italianate-style Buninyong Town Hall is an excellent example
of impressive colonial goldfields architecture. Originally
the building was of three sections, with the hall in the centre,
the council offices to the right and the courthouse to the
left. Today, the hall hosts the annual film festival and
other events, while the old courthouse is the home of the Buninyong
& District Historical Society.
National Bank (1866)
Banking services started in Buninyong in 1859 when the National
Bank of Australasia opened an agency near the corner of Learmonth
and Warrenheip streets. The bank purchased the site from John
Adams who conducted the bakery and general store next door.
The present fine building was opened in 1866. It was closed
as a bank in 1974.
Library/Mechanics' Institute (1859)
One of the oldest buildings in Buninyong. It was a gift to the
town by local mill-owner and five times Mayor Robert Allen, to be
used as a library and Mechanics' Institute. Now provides visitor
information, displays local history and maintains cemetery records.
Heritage-listed and owned/operated by the Cemetery Trust.
Crown Hotel (1851)
Selleck's Hotel was destroyed by fire in 1884, and the present
two-storey gabled building replaced it in the same year.
The Eagle Hotel (1858)
Ornate gold-boom building, classified by the National Trust, with
columns and various carved heads on facade. Since closing as
a hotel it has been a store and offices.
Whykes Butcher's Shop (1893)
The Whykes family purveyed meat to the residents of Buninyong from
1864 until 2000. The two-storey brick building is now a
The old Police Court House (1858)
Built of sandstone on the site of the early police camp set up to
administer law and order on the local goldfields, it fell into
disuse when the new Court Houses opened in 1886. Later used
as a butter factory and then a council works depot. The restored
Court House was opened in 1995.
The old Post Office (1874)
Replacing many smaller unofficial post offices, this building
served as the Buninyong Post Office from 1874 until it closed in
2000. The current post office is in Warrenheip Street.
Adam's Store (1852)
Iconic weatherboard building, a store and bakery built by John
Adams who from 1855 was also Buninyong's postmaster. Other
owners were J.W. Wilson, Percy Lyne, and the Earns family who
operated the bakery and store from about 1930 to 1989.
If you would like more information on
Buninyong please click here.