Omeo is a pioneering mountain town on the Great Alpine Road known for its gold mining history, high country cattle grazing and historic buildings. Now a quiet and relatively sleepy township of around 300 people, it was once a rugged, unruly frontier town.
The area was first sighted by Europeans when pioneer naturalist, John Lhotsky, claimed, in 1834, to have seen, from the southern alps, a wide plain that the Aborigines called 'Omeo'. The indigenous peoples gathered quartz crystals, which they believed to possess supernatural qualities, from the Omeo River. The Omeo Highway follows the route they used for making contacts with other groups.
The goldrush reached its peak in the 1860s. Land settlement began in 1870 and Omeo was declared a municipality in 1872. However, the stock of alluvial gold began to disappear and with it went many of the miners. Chinese people moved into the area to work the tailings and established market gardens.
The town suffered earthquakes in 1885 and 1892 and considerable damage was caused by the infamous 'Black Friday' bushfires of 1939.
Places of interest
The Private Racecourse on Annie’s land
Flynn Shearing Shed at Ensay
Blue Duck Hotel
Wild Irises at Riley’s Creek
Miles’ Shearing Shed
A range of accommodation options are available in Omeo ranging from hotels, motels, farmhouse stays and caravan parks.
|Distance from Melbourne||428 kilometres, 265 miles and 5 hours driving time|
|Road access||Great Alpine Road|