Dove Cottage Events

Alexandra Historical Society is available to host private groups and bus tours at Dove Cottage, with light refreshments available by negotiation.

Alexandra District

The town of Alexandra is about 140km north-east of Melbourne where Maroondah Highway crosses the Goulburn River. It has a growing population of more than 2,000 and is the commercial hub for its district.

Surrounding hubs are Mansfield in the north-east, Eildon to the east, Marysville to the south, Kinglake to the south-west and Yea to the west.

Local industries are tourism, timber, cattle & sheep, cherries & olives and, increasingly, wine.

Shire of Murrindindi

The Shires of Alexandra and Yea were amalgated in 1994, and the new Shire named after a tiny village closest to its geographic centre: Murrindindi.

Alexandra Shire had previously acquired Marysville and Narbethong from Healesville Shire in 1984, and before that Buxton from same shire in October 1963.

Brief History

Bandowick or Baundaurrong (Mr Cotton), said to be aged 90, a headman or ngurungaeta of the Daung Waurrung people and co-founder of the Acheron Aborigine Reserve, wearing a possum coat.
Photographed in 1866 by Carl Walter, and sourced from the State Library of Victoria [H91.1/1, is000271]

The town of Alexandra began as the Red Gate, a name that connected it with a form of settlement already decades old. The gate painted red was on the banks of the Ultima Thule Creek, at a break in the fence between the squatting runs of Mount Pleasant and Eglinton that dated from about 1840. The town grew first as a gold settlement, around the track through the Red Gate on the boundary fence between the runs.

On 7 September 1869, the Council of the Shire of Alexandra met for the first time, its members newly elevated from their previous position as commissioners of the Roads Board. The town over which they presided was still prospering from the gold finds that had brought it into existence three years earlier.

While the township of Alexandra was founded upon gold, and gold drew in many people, the gold era did not last long, nor did it contribute much to the economic foundations of the district. The history of the district essentially is that of other forms of primary production, and of the associated social and commercial development of the community.

Pre-European Aborigines of the Kulin nation inhabited the district from the Yarra River to the Alps and north to the Ovens River. The local clan, the Warring-illum-balluk (which translates as river dwelling people) spoke the Taungurong language, Daung Wurring.
Squatter Era
First European arrivals were sheep graziers, following reports in 1836 of the explorers Hume and Hovell.
Gold Era
Following gold discoveries in 1860, towns developed at Alexandra and Yea, with smaller settlements around the gold diggings. When gold had petered out by 1880, the towns survived with closer settlement farming.
Timber Era
A railway off the Melbourne-Sydney line from Tallarook opened from 1890. Timber mills were established from that time in the mountain ranges. Butter was the staple product, with sheep, lambs and cattle grazing.
Modern Era
Tourism, primarily from Melbourne, was established from 1930's based on rivers and new weirs, for caravanning, fishing and water sports. The railway was closed in 1978 as industries no longer relied upon it. Meat cattle and sheep dominate the farming, along with cherry and nut trees and the like. Tourism continues to boom.

Source: "Alexandra and District" (2006) by Brian Lloyd.