platform at the New Crossing Place on
the Goulburn River
Seymour (including Mangalore)
Attractive rural centre on the Goulburn
Seymour is a substantial small town of some 6900
people which is situated by the Goulburn River
at an elevation of 141 metres. It is located on
the Goulburn Valley Highway, 97 km north of
Melbourne via the Hume Freeway. The town
functions principally as a service centre to the
army base at Puckapunyal and to the agricultural
Prior to European settlement the area was
occupied by the Natrakboolok people who
continued to camp and hold corroborees on the
townsite into the 1860s.
The first white men in the area were
explorers Hume and Hovell in 1824. More
critically, Thomas Mitchell's party passed by to
the north of the townsite in 1836. Overlanders
followed in his wake, arriving in 1837 with
their cattle. By 1839 much of the land in what
would become Seymour shire was taken up.
The overland mail route from Melbourne to
Sydney was established in 1838. It followed
Mitchell's route and so crossed the river at a
point to the north (see entry on Nagambie).
However, in 1839 it was found that 16 km could
be saved by fording the river at a site to the
south which became known as the 'New Crossing
Place' (the future townsite of Seymour). Thus
hotelier John Clark moved his business from the
'Old Crossing Place' at Mitchellstown and set up
a punt service and a crude inn at the new ford.
A blacksmith set up shop later that same year.
The government regarded the new location as a
more promising townsite than Mitchellstown and
so carried out a survey in 1841. A police
paddock was established that year and in 1843
Thomas Mitchell named the hamlet after British
parliamentarian Lord Seymour, of the house of
Somerset which spawned Jane Seymour, the third
wife of Henry VIII. Town allotments went on sale
As traffic on the Sydney Road increased a
second hotel emerged. It was located on the
western bank of the river but this side of the
village never really developed. It initially
housed the first post office and was besieged by
bushrangers in the late 1840s (they again
harried the town in the 1860s). Faced with
competition, John Clarke built a two-storey
stone hotel in 1848, known as the Royal and it
now forms the rear (and larger) portion of
today's Royal Hotel.
Seymour's first schoolhouse was built in
1846. By the following year there was a flour
mill, along with stores and tradesmen's shops.
When the goldrush era began in 1851 traffic on
the Sydney Road greatly increased to the town's
benefit and the population began to increase.
Small farms emerged around the settlement,
adding to the prosperity of Seymour which had a
population of 138 in 1854.
A national school and the first church
(Methodist) were built in 1860. In 1863 Seymour
was declared a town. That year witnessed the
construction of an Anglican church, the first
bank and the first bridge over the Goulburn. By
1865 the population had increased to 450 and
Seymour continued to grow in the era of free
selection which began in the 1860s.
The arrival of the railway in 1872 had a
profound impact on the town. It made Seymour the
goods receival centre for the district and,
being at an important rail junction, it became a
railway town with workshops and an
administration centre providing employment and
economic activity. Consequently the town started
to expand demographically, commercially and
geographically with the 'new town' developing
around Station St.
The association of the area with army
training camps really began in 1904 with the
establishment of a troop of Light Horse at
Seymour. The rail connection, local terrain,
good water supply and agreeable property owners
made the area a convenient assembly point for
military trainees who met annually for field
exercises and official inspection. Thus when
Lord Kitchener came to Australia in 1910 to
advise the government on military matters he
inspected a major encampment at the racecourse
and recommended it as a permanent military
training area. When World War I arrived a few
years later that permanent camp was set up and,
in 1920, Seymour shire became the chief military
area in the state. This ultimately led to the
establishment of the Puckapunyal camp in World
The Seymour Alternative Farming Expo is held
in February at the Kings Park Showgrounds, the
Rafting Festival in March and the Seymour Show
Things to see:
The town's information centre is located in the
old courthouse which was built in 1864. It is
located in the historical precinct at the corner
of High and Emily Sts and can furnish a walking
guide of the historic precinct. It is open daily
from 9.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m., tel: (03) 5799
0233. Within the building is an art gallery ,
tel: (03) 5792 3285.
lockup behind the Seymour Information
Adjacent the courthouse is a log lock-up (1853),
originally built beside the river. A typical
gaol of its period, it is made of rough-hewn
logs stacked 14 high and crossed at the corners
with a heavy door and lock. It was used as a
temporary holding pen for those awaiting trial
and was relocated to this site in 1994.
Over the road is a building erected in 1869
as Henshall's Pharmacy. Next to it is the old
post office which was built in 1872-73. It now
contains an art gallery and licensed restaurant.
Adjacent, at the Emily and Robert St corner, is
the Prince of Wales Hotel (1863).
Turn left into Tallarook St. To the left are
the police offices, built as a residence for the
chief superintendent of police in 1880. Slightly
further along, on the same side of the road, is
the old primary school (1860). Almost opposite,
at Tallarook and Edward, is the old free library
(1875). It is now home to the local historical
Return to Emily St and turn left. To the left
is the old Methodist parsonage (1860s). Adjacent
is a BP service station. To its rear is the old
Anglican rectory (c.1863), now privately owned.
- setting for Russell Drysdale's 'The
Walk along to the north-eastern corner of Emily
and Manners St where you will find The Royal
Hotel which dates from 1848. The middle section
of the hotel was built in 1852 and the front in
the 1890s. The upstairs ballroom was once a
centre of community activity.
The original hotel is now only a part of the
larger Royal Hotel. It was here in 1941 that the
artist Russell Drysdale set his famous painting
The Cricketers. If you look at the painting you
can see the similarity but then you will notice
that Drysdale's pub was named Moody's Hotel. In
fact this was the name of the hotel at the time
when Drysdale was painting his famous work.
Next to the Royal Hotel is the first shire hall
(1872), currently derelict. Beside that is an
automobile wreckers which was built in 1872 as
the Bank of Victoria. A few doors along is the
Town and Country Hotel which was erected in 1865
as the Canadian Hotel. The original verandah was
removed and replaced in 1939.
The Terminus Hotel at 28 Station St is a
two-storey red brick building erected in 1897 to
replace the original hotel which was erected in
1873 to capitalise on the arrival of the railway
The old railway station (1872) is located in
Station St and has recently been subject to
major restoration work.
Railway Heritage Centre
The Seymour Railway Heritage Centre is located
off Victoria St. It is primarily a restoration
workshop and hence has limited visitor
facilities, but those interested in seeing
restored steam and diesel locomotives are
welcome. The centre is attended on Tuesdays,
Thursdays and weekends. The steam trains only
run on a very occasional basis but they are
available for charter, tel: (03) 5799 0515.
Picnicking and swimming can be enjoyed at
Goulburn Park, which is located on the riverbank
off Progress St.
Somerset Crossing, established in 1969, is a
family winery which produces shiraz,
cabernet/merlot, chardonnay, sauvignon blanc,
riesling and ports. It is situated at the
western edge of town at the corner of Emily St
and the Old Hume Highway, by the Goulburn River.
The cellar is open Friday to Sunday and public
holidays from 10.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. and there
is a restaurant which is open from Wednesday to
Sunday for lunch and from Wednesday to Saturday
for evening meals, tel: (03) 5792 2445.
Hankin Estate, established in 1976, is
situated in a pleasant rural setting. It
produces shiraz, cabernet sauvignon and blends
with merlot, malbec and cabernet franc. There
are also rose, sauvignon blanc and semillon
verdelho blends. The cellar door is situated in
a bluestone building located in Johnsons Lane
which runs off Northwood Rd at Northwood, 9 km
north of Seymour. It is open weekends and public
holidays from 10.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. and there
are picnic areas and barbecue facilities, tel:
(03) 5792 2396.
Haywards Winery, established in the 1970s,
grows cabernet sauvignon, shiraz, pinot noir,
malbec and riesling grapes. It is located in
Hall Lane, 10 km east off Kobobyn Rd which heads
off the highway at the southern end of town. It
is open daily, tel: (03) 5792 3050.
10 km south-east on the Goulburn Valley Highway
is Yucanoe at Trawool which offers leisurely
canoe rides along the Goulburn River. You can
hire your own canoe or go on a half-day,
full-day or weekend trip with an instructor,
tel: (03) 5795 3307.