Foster Post Office now the Museum
Foster (including Fish Creek)
Small and quiet dairying and grazing town in
Foster is a dairying and grazing town 169 km
south-east of Melbourne on the South Gippsland
Highway. It is only about 20 km north of the
beautiful Gippsland coastline which includes
Shallow Inlet, Corner Inlet, Waratah Bay,
Yanakie and Wilsons Promontory.
Originally called Stockyard Creek, after the
stream which still flows through the centre of
the town, Foster was initially nothing more than
a resting place for drovers travelling from Port
Albert to Westernport.
John Amey, an ex-convict of Tasmania, took up
land at Bennison, several miles east of the
creek, in 1860. He established a profitable farm
which shipped produce to Port Albert via
packhorse and bullock dray. His daughter often
accompanied him on these trips and thus she met
and married Port Albert's Crown Land Ranger. At
that time, all logging was supposed to be
strictly licensed by the Crown and the illegal
logging of blackwood was being carried out
around the creek. When timber staves were found
washed up after a boating wreck the ranger
became suspicious and travelled to Stockyard
Creek to investigate. While he was resting at
Amey's, the father-in-law hurried out to the
loggers' camp and forewarned them. They cleared
the camp and, while pretending to be gold
prospectors, actually discovered a rich strain
of gold. The find was registered and a rush
followed. One of the most profitable claims
existed on the site of what is now the State
As there were no police at the site of the
rush, William Henry Foster, a magistrate, was
called in to adjudicate disputes in 1871.
Objecting to carrying out the Crown's business
at an undistinguished 'creek' he suggested a
change of name. Someone, with a wry sense of
humour or an eye on winning the favour of the
magistrate, suggested Foster and the suggestion
was unanimously carried.
A census taken in 1871 revealed 345 men and
24 women in the area. A mechanics institute and
bank were established that year while a school
and post office arrived in 1872. However, there
were no outstanding strikes and by the end of
the decade the gold was drying up and the locals
began to turn to dairying to support themselves.
Reef mining was taken up later in the century
and mining was abandoned altogether in the
The railway arrived in 1892 and two years
later the people of Foster successfully agitated
for the creation of the new shire of South
Gippsland. A butter factory commenced operations
in 1905 and the area received a boost in
prosperity immediately after the Second World
War, when the Soldier Settlement Commission
developed the Yanakie area, a narrow stretch of
land to the south.
Foster holds craft markets once a month,
during the holiday season, in the showgrounds.
Things to see:
|The statue of
the goldminer in Foster
Historic Buildings and the Museum
The old post office, near the former Victory
mine, is now an historical museum which contains
information about John Amey and memorabilia of
the gold days. The Exchange Hotel, built in
1907, with its unusual conical turret, was
modelled after a hotel which the proprietor,
Anastasia Thornley, saw in Ireland.
Foster North Lookout, 6 km north-west, provides
excellent views over Corner Inlet and Wilsons
Promontory. The roads from Foster to Fish Creek
and Yanakie are also quite scenic. Boating and
fishing are popular at Corner Inlet, which
possesses boat-launching facilities. The safe
waters and strong winds of Shallow Inlet are
also ideal for windsurfing. Further south-west,
Cape Liptrap is a popular spot for surfers.
To the south-east, along a road which runs
south off the highway, is the district's
original fishing village, Port Franklin, which
is a pleasant side-trip with nothing in
particular to offer the visitor, other than its
own pleasant self.
Windy Ridge Vineyard and Winery
5 km east of Foster, along Fish Creek Rd, is
Windy Ridge Vineyard and Winery. The vineyard
was established in 1978 and the winery in 1985.
It produces traminer, pinot noir, cabernet
sauvignon, malbec and port. To order wines or to
enquire about tastings ring (03) 5682 2035.