BEECHWORTH DEMOGRAPHIC/TOWN PROFILE
Founded on gold in 1852, the town was originally known as May Day Hills, so named by Lt.-Governor Charles La Trobe on 1 May 1852. The rush of hopefuls seeking their fortunes transformed a quiet rocky outcrop into a bustling, sometimes lawless gold town. The wild goldfields saw characters such as Robert O'Hara Burke, of Burke and Wills fame, providing policework to the community. Later other well-known characters including Ned Kelly and Harry Power roamed Beechworth streets. As the gold declined major institutions including three hospitals and a gaol flourished.
The gold legacy is widespread throughout Beechworth with many fine examples of 19th century architecture still present in the town of 3200 people. One of Victoria's best preserved towns it was classified as the State's second "Notable" town by the National Trust. Today it is a prosperous community consisting of a number of heritage buildings, a university and a host of retail businesses offering everything from antiques to fine wine and food.
Located three hours north-east of Melbourne and five and half hours away from Canberra, Beechworth is easily accessible by the Hume Highway and Hume Freeway. At 550m above sea level, the town overlooks the plains of the Ovens and Murray Rivers with the Victorian Alps a beautiful backdrop both east and south of the town. Beechworth is the golden heart of north-east Victoria.