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Culture and heritage

Aborigines used the Howqua River as a major trade and war route across the Great Dividing Range. They also had several quarries in the area that yielded stone for tools and weapons.

European settlement began in the 1840s when the land now in the historic area formed part of the Howqua run, taken up by the pastoral company Watson and Hunter.

The discovery of alluvial gold at Cameron's Creek in the 1860s heralded major changes for the valley. A gold-bearing reef was discovered in the 1870s and mining began in earnest. The main mining companies were the Mountain Chief, Great Rand and Howqua United. Most of the remaining relics are of structures built by these companies.

The population soared and in 1888 the township of Howqua was proclaimed. It had a blacksmith, hotel, butcher, bakery, post office and several boarding houses. The rush was short-lived and by 1905 all major goldmining operations had come to an end.