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Summary of Background & History


Woodvale, situated 10km north of Bendigo, has known many names since European occupation first began in 1845. Woodvale was originally regarded as part of Myers Creek, later Myers Flat. It was changed to Sydney Flat when mining became established in 1852. This name lived until the 1920’s, when it was changed to Woodvale to avoid confusion with the NSW city. Prior to European settlement it was open forest country occupied by the Dja Dja Wurrung people, who were estimated to have a population of about 1000.  The Aboriginal name for the locality was Nerring. In 1845, it became part of Weddikar station.  In 1861, Marong Shire was founded and Woodvale was a part of the north-east riding of the shire.  In 1991 Woodvale was absorbed into the City of Greater Bendigo.


Woodvale was settled after the discovery of gold in Bendigo.  This brought many people including Chinese miners. Most alluvial miners soon moved on after surface gold ran out, leaving the land ransacked. A couple of puddling machines continued to operate up until the period of World War 1, although the lack of water was a continuous problem. Quartz reef mining commenced in the 1880's.


A number of settler families whose names are still associated with the district took up land after mining activities declined and established farms and enterprises. The district of Woodvale was one of mixed farming, dairying, vineyards and orchards. The settler's life was arduous.


Apart from mining, non-agricultural industries were established in Woodvale to service the needs of miners and farmers. This included a blacksmith and farrier, shoemaker and a number of general stores. The first eucalyptus distillery in the district was located at the base of Flagstaff Hill, at the location of the current Shadbolt picnic ground in the Whipstick State Forest. Shadbolt supplied the Red Cross with eucalyptus oil during World War 1.


There were 12 hotels operating at different times at Woodvale. The Old House at Home was the last of the Woodvale pubs to operate and was

de-licensed in 1970.


State School 1531 Nerring was opened in 1875. It was built for £632 19s 10d from bricks carted from the Eaglehawk brick kiln, and was extensively renovated and remodeled in 1912 and 1914.  It was subsequently renovated by local volunteers and reopened in 1993 as the Woodvale Public Hall after many years of prior of laying in disrepair.


Today, the Woodvale Public Hall forms a community hub, alongside the Woodvale Recreation Reserve (with roots dating back to the early 1860's), Bendigo Clay Target Club (established. 1971 in Woodvale but with history dating back to 1856), and Woodvale Fire Brigade (est. 1932). The Woodvale Progress Association (established. 1929) functions today to bring the local community together and advance local interests. Over the years Woodvale has progressed into a small but active community with a strong sense of identity and a welcoming spirit.