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Main Street, Buninyong
|Population||3,714 (2016 census)|
Buninyong was proclaimed a town on 27 June 1851 on the same day as Winchelsea, Portarlington, Longwood, Avenel, Cavendish, Euroa and Gisborne. All were preceded by Benalla and Wangaratta that were proclaimed on 7 and 11 April 1849 respectively.
Gold was reported "within a mile or two of the township of Buninyong" on 12 August 1851. Gold had been reported earlier at Clunes on 25 July 1851, The major gold rush to the Ballarat region had begun.
The name originates from an Aboriginal word also recorded as 'Buninyouang', said to mean 'man lying on his back with his knees raised', which is in reference to the shape of Mount Buninyong. European settlers named it Bunnenyong and the name later simplified to its current form.
Buninyong has an important place in history as one of the principal inland communities of pre-gold rush Victoria. It was explored in January 1838 by a party including Thomas and Somerville Learmonth, and then occupied by the Learmonths in February 1838 as a sheep station.
A Post Office opened on 1 January 1845 to serve the needs of the settlers and was known as Bunnenyong until 1859.
Although gold was being found in the area from about 1840 the 'official' finding of gold was when it was found 3 kilometres west of the town in 1851 by Thomas Hiscock, the local Buninyong blacksmith, at an area still known as Hiscock's. Evidence is slowly emerging that the early pastoralists were finding gold, but not making their good fortune known because of the fear the Colonial Government would confiscate their finds because the whole area was Crown Land. By 1871 there were 2281 people and 20 hotels at Buninyong.
A significant figure in Buninyong's gold rush era was Henry Joseph Desoza. Desoza was a wealthy philanthropist who made his fortune by both speculation and the leasing of both land and machinery to gold mining companies. One such enterprise was named the Desoza Freehold, from which Desoza received royalties. Desoza himself never held shares in The Desoza Freehold or any other mine he helped finance relying instead on the royalty system. In a peculiar ceremony in 1883 he was crowned with a circlet of gold mined from The Desoza Freehold. Thereafter Desoza was known as The Gold King of Buninyong. The Gold King title was celebrated in the township with a Gold King Festival held in February each year from 1975 to 2009.
The town's wide streets were planned in expectation of further growth, however prosperity ended with the gold rush and the town reverted to a small pastoral settlement.
A railway from Ballarat was opened in 1889 with the passenger station completed in 1890, although it is no longer used. The line ran from the Ballarat station stopping at Ballarat East Station, Eureka Station, Levy Siding, Canadian Station, Mount Clear Station, Reid Siding, Mt Helen Siding terminating at the Buninyong Station. Popularly named 'The Bunny' the line ceased to carry passengers in the late 1930s, and freight in 1947 when the line was closed.
There are several grand "boom style" homes in and around the town.
Golfers play at the Buninyong Golf Club on Learmonth Street.
Buninyong Bowling Club is one of the oldest bowling clubs in Australia (est. 1872) and is located in the beautiful township of Buninyong, which lies at the foot of Mt Buninyong, 11k south of Ballarat in Victoria. Address 708 Inglis St, Buninyong VIC 3357
- Australian Bureau of Statistics (27 June 2017). "Buninyong (State Sunburb)". 2016 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 7 July 2017.
- New South Wales Government Gazette (Sydney, NSW : 1832 - 1900), Friday 27 June 1851 (No.71), page 998
- New South Wales Government Gazette (Sydney, NSW : 1832 - 1900), Friday 13 April 1849 (No.54), page 635
- Geelong Advertiser (Vic. : 1847 - 1851), Tuesday 12 August 1851, page 2
- Geelong Advertiser (Vic. : 1847 - 1851), Friday 25 July 1851, page 2
- UBD Victoria Country Road Atlas, 14th edition, Universal Publishers, 2004.
- "Overland mail to Portland". Geelong Advertiser. 30 May 1844. p. 3 – via National Library of Australia.
- Bride, Thomas F., Letters from Victorian pioneers to His Excellency Charles Joseph La Trobe, Govt. Printer, Melbourne, 1898, p41.
- Premier Postal History, Post Office List, retrieved 11 April 2008
- Griffiths Peter M, Three Times Blest A History of Buninyong 1837 - 1901, Ballarat Historical Society pp13
- Henry Joseph Desoza from a paper presented to the Buninyong Historical Society by Robert W. Bell. Historian.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 26 February 2011. Retrieved 2010-12-01.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- Australian Railway Historical Society Bulletin, July 1983, pp145-160
- Sid Brown (March 1990), "Tracks Across the State", Newsrail, Australian Railway Historical Society (Victorian Division), pp. 71–76
- Full Points Footy, Buninyong, archived from the original on 24 July 2008, retrieved 25 July 2008
- Golf Select, Buninyong, retrieved 11 May 2009