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Walhalla Historic Area...
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The Walhalla to Thomson Station hike commences in the heart of historic Walhalla. Follow the trail leading up the steps opposite the general store (or the steps adjacent to the band rotunda) up to the old tramway above the town. From the tramway there is a good view of the Walhalla township strung out along the narrow valley of Stringers Creek.
The hike follows the first 8 kilometres of the Australian Alps Walking Track (AAWT) along the level bed of the tramway which winds its way past mine heads and through regenerated forest and ferny gullies. After 4 km the tramway crosses Mormon Town Track on the crest of a spur and turns north wards up the Thompson River Valley winding in and out of small gullies for some 4km until it reaches the Poverty Point Bridge (aka Old Steel Bridge).
After crossing the bridge the hike departs from the AAWT and back tracks along the opposite bank of the Thomson River along a level track for 4km to the bottom end of Old Depot Road. From here it is a short walk which passes under the Walhalla Road to the Thomson Station.
Returning to the trail head
If you time your hike well enough, the train will return you to the Walhalla Railway Station. The Walhalla Goldfields Railway is operated and maintained by volunteers and is one of the most spectacular rail journeys in Australia winding through the spectacular Stringers Creek Gorge.
From the station there is a 500 metre walk back to the trail head.
Alternatively you can follow the AAWT for approximately 4km and retrace your steps back to Walhalla.
About the region
Walhalla is a small town in Victoria, Australia, founded as a gold-mining community in late 1862 and at its peak home to around 4,000 residents. Today, the town has a population of 20 permanent residents [2016 Census], though it has a large proportion of houses owned as holiday properties. It attracts large numbers of tourists and is a major focus of the regional tourism industry. The town's name is taken from an early gold mine in the area, named for the German hall of fame, the Walhalla temple (Valhalla from Norse legend).
The Italian community made a substantial contribution to the development of Walhalla, working a number of jobs including mine managers, wood cutters and splitters, farmers, miners and mine labourers, merchants and builders. The first Italian residents to settle down in the area came in 1873, when Pietro Bombardieri opened a tram station at the bottom of Little Joe Hill. They quickly proved themselves hardy and resourceful countrymen, particularly with their farming skills, and by 1882 were represented in the town's business community when Anthony Simonin opened the Alpine Hotel. Their two neighbourhoods, one extending along the Long Tunnel Extended tramway to the north, and the other in the southern end of town, peaked around 1910.
The wood cutters and splitters among them would set up camp in bark huts in close proximity to the area they were working, and it seems they rarely came into town. Around the turn of the century several of these families took up land at a remote station along the Thomson River to the north west, which was called Poverty Point.
Walhalla is 184km east of Melbourne. Access is via Princes Freeway (M1) to Moe, north through Erica (C466), turn east to Rawson then left to Walhalla (C461).
Max elevation: 396 m
Min elevation: 226 m
Total climbing: 573 m
Total descent: -694 m