Creek runs into Lake Nagambie west of
Tiny historic township which was once an
important coach stop for Cobb & Co.
Located 114 km north of Melbourne between
Seymour and Euroa and just to the west of the
Hume Highway, Avenel was established as a
stopover point on the road from Melbourne to
The area was settled in the 1830s and Henry
Kent Hughes named his property 'Avenel' after a
village in Gloucestershire, England. It was used
in the title of a popular novel at the time -
'the Maid of Avenel'.
The township was established in 1849 when the
government offered land for sale adjacent a ford
over Hughes Creek which had, for some years,
been used as a camping place by drovers and
teamsters travelling on the Old Sydney Road,
established in 1839 as the overland mail route
between Melbourne and Sydney.
Avenel grew rapidly as gold prospectors
poured north driven by dreams of riches on the
goldfields. By 1859 a substantial stone bridge
had been built to meet the needs of the
increased traffic. Around this time the Royal
Mail Hotel was built near the bridge.
Avenel's most famous citizen was Ned Kelly.
|The grave of
Ned Kelly's father
Kelly's father took the entire family to live
in Avenel in the early 1860s. Ned lived in the
town from the age of 8 until his father died
when he was only 12. Ned's father is buried in
the town cemetery. There is a popular story of
how the young Kelly saved a boy from drowning in
the local creek. It is said that he was rewarded
with a green sash which he wore the day he was
shot. Certainly there is evidence that Ned Kelly
recorded his father's death at the local Court
The railway reached the town in 1872 and, for
the next few decades, it enjoyed importance as a
location where wheat from the surrounding area
was shipped out to Melbourne. By 1880 the town
had a flour mill and a grain store.
Today it is typical of town's which have been
by-passed. A small town with a few historic
Things to see:
The first Overland Mail from Melbourne to Sydney
was established in 1839. The route it traversed
was known as the Old Sydney Road which was also
used by drovers and bullock wagons. It crossed
Hughes Creek at a shallow, sandy ford which
became a camping place for teamsters and, in
1849, the village of Avenel.
|The six arch
stone bridge stands beside the modern
In 1859 a six-arch stone bridge was built by
Hugh Dalrymple for the Victorian Board of Land
and Works. This major upgrade was largely the
result of the goldrushes and, in its early
years, would have been used extensively by Cobb
& Co. It was retired in 1969 when a new bridge
was built but its historical value was
recognised and it has been preserved with a
plaque to denote its significance.
Royal Mail Hotel
Dating from the 1850s this small brick and
rubblestone house was a coach house for the
changing of Cobb & Co. horses for some decades
after its original construction. It then
reverted to a domestic dwelling. It is located
near the stone bridge across Hughes Creek.
Plunkett Wines was established in 1968 although
the present vineyard got under way in 1991. It
is located at the corner of the Hume Freeway and
Lambing Gully Rd and produces riesling,
sauvignon blanc/semillon, chardonnay, shiraz,
merlot and cabernet merlot. The cellar door is
open seven days from 11.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m.
with dinners available on Friday and Saturday
nights at the restaurant, tel: (03) 5796 2150.
The Harvest Home Country House Hotel at 1 Bank
St is situated within a lovely and very
well-kept 1860s hotel with a grand Victorian
dining room. It is now a 'boutique hotel' with
dinner and bed-and-breakfast packages. The
garden pavilions and al fresco poolside dining
is an attraction, tel: (03) 5796 2339.