A history steeped in gold mining, cultivation, timber and farming, enjoy the peace of country living in this north-west gateway to the Gold Rush Centre of Victoria. Visit the beautifully restored railway station that proved a boon to local agriculture when it arrived from Dunolly in 1878. Grab a jar of some famous Cooper’s Capers to take home your own little piece of the region. The first Europeans in the Bealiba area were drovers in the 1840's, in 1845 George Coutts was the first European permanent settler.
The area was originally known as Cochrane's, after John and James Cochrane, who took up a pastoral run in 1853. When gold was discovered in 1855-56, the area was known as "Cochrane's Diggings". In the midst of the Victorian gold rush, gold was discovered in Bealiba in 1856 and for 18 months the town grew to a population of 18,000. The surveyor who laid out the township in 1862 adopted the name of the pastoral run, 'Bealaba', later referred to as Bealiba. It is believed the name derived from Aboriginal words meaning red gum creek. After the rush subsided, the area was pioneered by farmers.
A school opened in 1865, followed by a Post Office, a Petty Sessions Court, three hotels and three quartz crushing mills. Farm selections around Bealiba were suitable for grazing, fodder production and cereals. In 1878 the railway line from Dunolly to St Arnaud, via Bealiba, was opened. The line encouraged a firewood trade, and the Bealiba Box blocks were renowned for their burning qualities. The forest trees also yielded railway sleepers and fence posts. The present Anglican Church was opened in 1871, and the Wesleyan and Independent churches soon after.
Today you can view the historical facades including the Post Office and General Store, Evans Pub, Bealiba Library Community Hall Wall Memorial, The Town Hall, Courthouse, St David's Church of England, St Patrick's Roman Catholic Church and the picturesque Bealiba Railway Station.
Walking and driving tours of Bealiba are available and take you through the Red Ironbark forests of the neighbouring Bealiba Ranges and Tunstall State Forest. Bealiba Reservoir is fantastic for a quiet spot of fishing with free camping and amenities.
Mt Bealiba is a popular visiting spot, with an altitude of 479 metres above sea level. Once reaching the summit you have spectacular views of surrounding forest and farmland. If you have a four wheel drive you can take the steep track to the top or alternatively enjoy the walking track to the peak.
Don't miss seeing the Bealiba Ironbarks. As you drive through Bealiba/Barp Forest, keep you eyes open for the Bealiba Green Blue Ironbarks. There are two distinctive types of Ironbark in this area. One has bluish leaves and the other greenish leaves.