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Swifts Creek

Swifts Creek is a town in the Tambo Valley of East Gippsland, Victoria, Australia.

Details

  • Area:282.863 km2
  • Elevation:296 m
  • Population:278
  • Local Government Area:East Gippsland Shire Council

Description

Swifts Creek is a town in the Tambo Valley of East Gippsland, Victoria, Australia. The town is on the Great Alpine Road between Omeo and Ensay, 379 kilometres (235 mi) east of the state capital Melbourne and 300 metres (980 ft) above sea level. The area was originally settled by Europeans in the gold rushes of the mid-1800s. At the 2011 census, Swifts Creek and the surrounding area had a population of 419, with a median age of 47. # History The Aboriginal name for the site of Swifts Creek was Bun Jirrah Gingee Munjie, which translates as 'big kangaroos go to that place'. True to this name, mobs of large eastern grey kangaroos still frequent the town, especially at night when they are often seen feeding by the roadside, and on the local football ground and primary school oval. The town of Swifts Creek is located at the confluence of Swifts Creek and the Tambo River. The creek was reputedly named after an otherwise unknown gold prospector named Swift who worked the creek panning for alluvial gold in the 1850s. The townsite itself was originally known as "Swifts Creek Junction", as it was at the road junction alongside Swifts Creek. Swift's Creek Post Office opened on 1 January 1867 and closed in 1879. Swift's Creek Junction Post Office opened on 1 May 1874 and was renamed Swift's Creek in 1926.In the 1870s McLarty's Junction Hotel was established, and a small town with stores, service facilities, and a butter factory slowly grew up around the site. The butter factory was constructed in 1907 and eventually produced 50 tonnes per annum, with the majority being sent for sale in Melbourne. Due to unreliable seasons, the factory eventually closed down in 1946. The building is no longer in existence, however Factory Lane just past the creek at the northern end of town marks its former location. A flour mill was also planned, but was instead installed in the nearby town of Ensay in 1913. These factories were constructed as a result of local demand for flour, milk, butter and cream. The cost of transporting goods was high as wagons from the nearest large town of Bairnsdale took a week in good weather to travel the distance (now approximately an hour by car).Around this time, Ian Ezard built the Swifts Creek sawmill, which provided the stable economy the town needed to move on from its gold mining beginnings. In contrast, the surrounding towns of Cassilis and Tongio West collapsed, as the area lost its potential for gold mining. # Weather # Things to do The district is also increasing in popularity as a tourist destination due to its central location in an area of outstanding natural beauty. The town itself offers limited tourist accommodation, including flats associated with the hotel and a newly renovated caravan park on the Tambo River (book through the IGA store). But there is plenty of accommodation in the district including cottage style accommodation approximately five kilometres from town heading towards Cassilis and many houses available for holiday rental on accommodation websites. The township is regarded as a gateway destination to the Alpine area, and the snow fields of Mt Hotham, but also is a target area for cyclists, hikers, anglers, walkers, photographers, painters and hunters. The Great Alpine Gallery on the Great Alpine Road, Swifts Creek, was founded in 1998 as a non-profit community art-space operated entirely by volunteers. The Gallery is open five days a week, Thursdays to Mondays. Entry to the Gallery is free for all visitors, and everyone is welcome. The gallery promotes and sells arts and crafts by local artists, and has regular events such as the Great Alpine Arts Trail, workshops and open studios, as well as a regular exhibition and three special exhibitions per year. The Poet's Walk is a 1.2km stretch of Crown Land that forms a walkable track beginning at the Police Station off the Great Alpine Road at the northern end of the township and following Swifts Creek to the junction with the Tambo River.In 2017, a group of local volunteers began the work of reclaiming the track from years of neglect, and it is now an enjoyable walk suitable for most abilities.New specialised areas are being introduced, including a rain forest section, as well as craft resources, with an Indigenous section due shortly.Park benches and seating is being installed in August 2020, as well as a laid track. There are also six new stone cairns with a verse on each from the late John Butler's poem, The River.Another cairn also marks the height of the 1998 flood.

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