Warrandyte, population 8000, is located 25 km north east of Melbourne on the banks of the Yarra River. The town is renown for its gold mining origins and later for its famous painters and potters. Today it is a popular weekend tourist spot and abounds with galleries, craft shops, restaurants, coffee shops and historical places of interest.
The name Warrandyte is an aboriginal word meaning "to throw", warran, and "dyte" meaning the target. White man first settled here in 1839 when the founder of Anderson's Creek, James Anderson, herded cattle overland from Sydney to take up his land selection. The district was first surveyed in 1841 and a reserve for the indigenous people was included at Pound Bend, an area of over 1100 acres, but it was never used for its intended purpose.
Leading up to the separation of the Port Phillip District from New South Wales on 1st July 1851, rumours of gold being found began to circulate which were, by and large, hushed up for good reason. Within weeks before the separation a competition was launched with a prize of 200 Pounds offered for the discovery of gold within 100 miles of Melbourne. Early in June 1851, gold discoveries at Anderson's Creek were made and within days, 150 prospectors were combing the creeks and gullies. In September the area was proclaimed the first goldfield of the Colony of Victoria.
Today, Warrandyte is a vibrant community administered by two municipalities, the City of Manningham, south of the river, and the Shire of Nillumbik to the north. Warrandyte boasts three schools and kindergartens, many sporting clubs including football, cricket, basketball and netball, four churches, a community centre and many shops, businesses and tradespeople. A drama group stages several shows each year in the Mechanics Institute Hall; most notable the popular "Festival Follies" co-inciding with the Warrandyte Festival held in March. The area has three CFA fire stations and a Returned Serviceman's League. Service clubs active in Warrandyte are the Lions Club of Warrandyte and a Rotary Club.
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