Hotham History

Hotham History

Mount Hotham is set in a unique and extreme natural landscape, an environment that has largely shaped its European history, a history that unique to the region and the State.

It must be acknowledged that human habitation of the area did not begin with the arrival of the first Europeans, and that an aboriginal presence in the high country had existed in the Mount Hotham region for many thousands of years previously.   The principal language groups in the Mount Hotham region included the Gunai Kurnai, Dhudoroa and the Jaitmathang. Aboriginal activity and occupation of the area would have largely been influenced by seasonal conditions. In the spring and summer month’s aboriginal people would have gathered in large numbers to exploit the fruit berries and Bogong moth, whilst in the winter the region would have largely been inhabitable.The regions European post-contact history has also largely been influenced by its climate, topography and geology. These natural influences have provided the opportunities, as well as setting the limits on its historical development. The topography has determined the regions form of rugged ranges and broad open plains, whilst its geology has also played a pivotal role in its natural distribution of gold deposits – which led to mining and exploration of this part of the Great Divide. The fertile basalt plains and cooler summer climate have offered favourable conditions for seasonal summer grazing. The elevation and climate allowed for the development of the ski field tourism. The history of the region has also been strongly influenced by strong-willed individuals, as well as political, economic and social influences.The history of Hotham has been affected by influences from both sides of the range. Mount Hotham (1868m) is the fourth highest, point in Victoria, atop the solid barrier that forms the spine of the Great Dividing Range. Both the Ovens Valley on the north and Gippsland to the south have played important influential roles in the history of the Mount Hotham region.For more History of the Mount Hotham region visit www.mthotham.com.au