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Violet Town

Violet Town

Violet Town is on the route between Melbourne and Albury and is 150 km., north-north-east of Melbourne. It is between Euroa and Benalla and is bypassed by the Hume Freeway (and former Hume Highway) which are to the south.

Major Thomas Mitchell, Surveyor-General of New South Wales, passed through the Violet Town area in Spring, 1836, on his Australia Felix expedition. He noted in his account of the expedition that several streams and chains of ponds were crossed and one, from which flowers were growing, was called Violet Ponds. That site was one of two (the other being Mitchelltown) which were surveyed in 1838 as sites for townships. Violet Ponds was chosen as a site for policing the overland route to Melbourne, particularly after the Faithfull massacre in 1838. (The police post, though, was placed at Benalla.)

Not withstanding Violet Ponds’ official township status, pastoral entrepreneurs were soon acknowledged as being competent to choose settlement places, and Violet Town became only one among many along the Sydney road. However, the surveyed site was flood prone, and a more suitable location to the south-east was settled in 1852 for the township, by when the area was being crossed by travellers to the north-eastern gold fields. It was also known as Honeysuckle, adopting the name of Honeysuckle Creek (formerly Violet Ponds, but being noted for Banksia/honeysuckle rather than violets) and the name of the Honeysuckle pastoral run.

Violet Town was at the conjunction of the Sydney road, the overland telegraph and the tracks to Bendigo and north-eastern gold fields. By the1860s it had three hotels, a Wesleyan school, bakery, several tradesmen and numerous selectors on the former Honeysuckle run. When the railway line was opened in 1873 the commercial area moved northwards from the old High Street to a few blocks away.