WANGARATTA 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.