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Gold In the 1890s significant gold deposits were discovered at Mt. Elliot, in view of the Corryong town limits. Many miners, who had be working hard to uncover tin lodes at Mt. Cudgewa and around Koetong and Walwa at the time, moved camp to Mt. Elliot in the hope of striking it lucky. Many others affected by the general economic depression of the early 1890s also came to try their luck. In a very short time period, over 100,000 pounds worth of gold was taken from this new gold field. It is believed that tailings taken from these mining activities paved the main street of Corryong. By 1900, however, interest in the gold field had waned. Another gold rush was over. The process of community development continued into the twentieth century. The dairy industry took off in the 1890s. The small communities around the Upper Murray followed in the footsteps of Corryong and some built public halls, churches and schools. Road, bridge and rail construction made travel to and from the Upper Murray easier however many roads remained unsealed until the late 1950s.
As in other parts of Australia, the First World War took many young local men away to Europe. Many made the ultimate sacrifice, a significant number within a year of their departure. Families left behind did what they could to support their sons and their country. The end of the war issued in a new era of development in the Upper Murray. In 1920, Corryong became the site of the Head Office of the newly formed Upper Murray Shire, after the Towong Shire was split into two smaller shires. New economic opportunities for the entire region became available to local residents when the rail branch line from Wodonga to Cudgewa was completed in 1921. The big winners were the local livestock producers, who were then able to truck their livestock to the Melbourne sales without first having to walk them over the mountains to (Old) Tallangatta. Soldier resettlement blocks were allotted to returned soldiers, who were given the chance to become farmers. The dairy industry provided hope to many although, in general, the soldier settlement scheme was not successful due to farming inexperience and the small sizes and poor situations of many of these blocks.
The 1930s, the era of the Great Depression, was hard on families across the district. The rabbit, first seen in the Upper Murray during the 1890s, was, by then, in plague numbers and extensive damage to farmland and pastures occurred as rabbits created their burrows and ate precious grass. On the flip side, the sale of rabbit skin and meat produced much needed income and an important food source to many families. Many local people worked very hard to trap rabbits, particularly during the winter when the rabbit's thick fur was more valuable. Some, who did very well, were able to buy themselves luxuries, like new clothes, cars and, in some instances, land. Corryong had a large rabbit chiller operated by Thomas Borthwick of Melbourne, which collected rabbits around the Upper Murray on a daily basis until the early 1950s.
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“The Man From Snowy River’ Country of North-Eastern Victoria & Southern NSW