Hume & Hovells’ 1824 exploration of the North East opened the door for European settlers to begin to move to the North-East in large numbers. It was the discovery of gold at Beechworth and in the Ovens Valley in the 1850s that spurred a temporary population boom that included thousands of Chinese migrants seeking their fortune.
Predominantly originating from the Guangdong Province, the miners brought their own customs and culture with them. Their encampments contained places of worship, as well as shops, opium dens, and market gardens.
Unfortunately, the arrival of Chinese migrants was not always met with welcome and tensions mounted causing a number of incidents, most notably The Buckland Riot of 1857, which occurred when a large number of Europeans violently stormed a Chinese camp. In reponse, the Victorian Government provided compensation to the miners after the riot and encouraged them to return under the protection of police and an appointed Chinese Protector.
Eventually new cross-cultural interactions such as the first celebration of Chinese New Year in the area, met with awe and curiosity, with many locals joining in the festivities and sampling new food and music.
After the Gold rush, many Chinese migrants returned home. However, a number settled in the area as merchants, market gardeners and, notably, as tobacco and hops farmers both in the Ovens, King and eventually Buffalo River Valleys.
The names on the headstone read:
EN POW AH SAM
Celebrate the bounty of Victoria’s High Country at the High Country Harvest. With more than 50 events over three weeks in May, the Harvest brings the best of the region to your tastebuds with grand feasts, tastings, tours and trails.
Taste your way around the region, from Beechworth, Benalla and Bright to Falls Creek, Glenrowan, King Valley, Mansfield, Rutherglen and Tallangatta. Meet growers and makers, take classes, and meander between mouth-watering menus.
This year’s festival brings classic and innovative new events to restaurants, kitchens, cellar doors, breweries and tables indoors and out.
Celebrate the Harvest with a feast of local produce at the Grand Opening Dinner, see MoVida chefs and sommeliers put a Spanish spin on things at Movida, Provenance, Maestros, and dig out your best vintage threads for the stylish Tweed Ride cycling tour.
Saint Monday provides Food for Thought with an ethical, plant-based three-course feast, the Beekeepers Breakfast makes for a sweet start to the day, and the 100 Step Feast will see you on a progressive feast around the streets of Bright.
Between events, top up your trip with village bonfires, harvest menus, brewery trails and farmers markets.