Brown Hill

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Brown Hill is s suburb of Ballarat, Victoria. It's main throughfare is Humffray Street.

Gold was discovered at Brown Hill by William Brownbill in 1851.[1] Brown Hill, is named after him, as it was a corruption of the name Brownbill's Diggings.[2]


Brown Hill Timeline

1838> - There were three waterholes where squatters could find water for their flocks during the driest summers. One was at the junction of the Gong Gong and the Yarrowee (or Blakeney's Creek as it was then called), another was where the Yarrowee bends under the ranges by the Brown Hill Hotel, and the other was near Golden Point.[3]

1843 - Peter Inglis took up the Warrenheip run. The Western boundary of this run was shared with Archibald Yuille, the line being struck by marked trees running from Mount Buninyong across Brown Hill, to Slaty Creek.[4]

1851 (Sep) - Brown Hill goldfield opened,[5]

1853 - A school, named Eureka National, opened at the Diggings. [6]

1857 - 'Brown's Hill' post office opened.[7]

1858 - Brown Hill Literary Association was established, and the Brown Hill Literary Hall was erected around the same time in Thompson Street[8]

1863 - The Brown Hill Common School opened.[9]

1869 - Brown Hill Methodist Church (now Brown Hill Uniting Church) established. Heritage Victoria Registration #H67433.[10]

1877 (Nov) - Brown Hill State School (now Caledonian State School) opened.[11] It was designed by Henry Bastow.[12] It is know know as Caledonian Primary School.

1901 (15 Nov) - "BROWN HILL. The storm was of great severity at Brown Hill. Orchards were in many instances entirely denuded of their fruit, while potatoes, cabbages, and other vegetables were irreparably damaged. No fewer than suffered severely. Some of the hailstones - if such they can be - were fully an inch and a half long, and were formed in very fantastic shapes. Some of the oldest residents declare that they have never witnessed such a storm in all their experience."[13]

1915 (May) - Jubilee of the Brown Hill Methodist Church.</ref>

1927 - Brown Hill Gun Club held a meeting.[14]

1941 - Brown Hill Swimming Pool Officially opened.[15]

1962 - Brown Hill was in the Municipality of Ballarat City, and had a Police Station and Post & Telegraph Office.[16]

Original Inhabitants

Brown Hill originated in 1851 as a small gold mining settlement on the eastern outskirts of Ballarat. It was founded upon the land of the Keyeet balug clan of the Wathaurung people, which had been occupied by squatter Peter Inglis in 1847.[17]

Brown Hill Population

# Place Date Population
Brown Hill 1911 280[18]
Brown Hill 1961 205[19]
Brown Hill 2001 1898[20]
Brown Hill & Environs 2001 2742[21]
Brown Hill & Environs 2011 3078[22]

Humffray Street, Brown Hill

Humffray Street is the longest street in Ballarat.

Originally known as Brown Hill Road it was renamed Humffray Street in 1858 in honour of John Basson Humffray M.L.A., secretary of the Ballarat Reform League, advocate for the rights of the miners, member of the Legislative Council in 1856 and Minister for Mines under Richard Heales from 1860 – 1861. [23]

Ballarat Toll House

The former Ballarat toll house is located at 328 Humffray Street North and dates from the mid-nineteenth century. The house was used to collect tolls from Chinese miners en route to the Yarrowee alluvial diggings. A corner of the building (now demolished) was later used as a cobbler’s shop. It is now a private residence.[24]

Brown Hill Progress Association

Brown Hill State School

The ceremony of formally declaring the new Brown Hill State school open took place on Friday afternoon; Mr James, M.L.A, acting on behalf of the Minister of Education, who had promised to attend, but who was detained in Melbourne on Cabinet business. The new school,.for which Mr H. Burnt was the contractor, has been described in these columns lately, but we may now mention that it is built beside the old building, between Humffray and Victoria streets, and is made to accommodate something like 250 children. The arrangements for opening the school were carried out in a very complete manner by a Committee consisting of the following gentlemen:—Messrs Drummond (chairman), Casley, Davis, and Curnow; and the interior, of the school was tastefully decorated with flowers, one room containing samples of the scholars’ needlework and drawing, besides which bunting was flying outside. As the following party drove up to the school—Messrs J. James, Fincham, and Bell, M’s.L.A,; and, Messrs Russell (chairman), Dunn, M‘Kee, Pritchard, and Muller (correspondent),-of the Ballarat East Board, of Advice—they were met by the band of the Humffray Street State school leading the boys of the Brown Hill school who were. marching to meet them, under the command of the head master, Mr Porter. When this procession met the above named gentlemen it wheeled round and escorted them to the school ground, where a number of the parents, of the children were assembled, and the boys executed several military movements in a creditable manner, Mr Potter acting as commanding officer. An adjournment was then made to one of the large rooms in the school, where a number of the girls were discovered sitting in holiday costume, and as the outsiders went into the room the children, under the direction of the singing master, Mr Cross, sang “ Auld lang syne.” The room was crowded with visitors, chiefly parents of the children attending the school, and Mr J. Russell, acting as chairman of the meeting, apologised for the absence of the Hon. Major Smith and Mr Brophy, M.L.A., who was stated to be indisposed, afterwards calling upon Mr John James to open the school. Mr James, who was received with applause, expressed his pleasure at being present at the opening of a new. State school under a system which offered. such extraordinary privileges in comparison with twenty or thirty years ago, and he said that perhaps there never had been such an age when educational advantages were placed within the teach of children as they were now. He hoped all the children would take all the possible advantage of the present system, and improve their time, while they would remember that day as one-marked-in-red-letters. He regretted the absence of the Minister of Education, but the demands of public duty had kept him away. State school openings were now of common occurrence, and Ballarat East had a good share of schools, concerning which he had been often. asked, the reason, but could only answer that it was so because it was. There had been of late a measure of controversy against the system of State education, which was not yet ended, and which he supposed would not end till it was properly ventilated. He referred to the teaching of religion in State schools. He had been a member of Parliament when the Education Act was brought into operation, and heard all the speeches made on that occasion, so that he might be supposed to know as well as anyone what the views of the Parliament were at that time, even as he knew them now. The State schools were built for a specific purpose— that of teaching children in that curriculum, set forth in the act, which was altogether of a secular nature. There never could be any dispute about the children being taught to read and write, and as this was required to make them useful citizens, the State had undertaken the work at the public expense; but to go further and to admit teaching of a religious kind in the schools thhe done by the teachers, would be admitting an element which would create discord somewhere—(Hear, hear)—and would have a tendency to undermine the system. Parliament had with this question wisely, and though it did not appear so clearly at first, he recognised their wisdom to-day. The system had been called godless, but he could not see that it was so when the school-books contained so much and so often the sacred name; and he referred to this question now because of what was appearing in .the local papers on the subject. They were all aware that boards of advice were representative bodies, elected for a specified time on certain pledges, and in the case of the Ballarat East board appeals had been made directly to the Minister without any acknowledgment of the board, which he held was a great mistake. Of course, the gentlemen who did so said that it was an oversight, but anyhow the board was made to play second fiddle. Members of ‘different religious bodies had-waited on the City Board of Advice, asking to be allowed to use the State schools for giving religious instruction in, and had met with a point blank refusal. Subsequently, they came to the Ballarat East board, when the question was fairly discussed and fully ventilated, and a member of the deputation had said that they' had been favorably impressed with their reception by the board. The act said that boards of advice should direct, with the Minister’s approval, what use should be made of the' schools after hours and on holidays, and if it were the will of the people that the schools should be open for. religious teaching after school hours, it was for them! to put men on the boards who would carry but their views; but how could men pledged to other issues support them before they had an opportunity of meeting their constituents, and getting an opinion 1 from them in the matter ? When the public showed that it really wanted religious instruction in the schools it would be done, and the matter was in their own hands. (Applause.) He then declared the school open for public instruction, the . band playing “God save the Queen,” after which the children sang “By the dark waters.” Mr Russell, chairman bf the Board of Advice, then said a few wards on behalf of the board, and expressed' his pleasure at the new school being built at last, and, that Mr Potter would be placed in this respect on an equal footing with other teachers in the town. He urged the children to attend ,to the studies, so that they plight be useful men and women hereafter and' impressed upon the parents the necessity of sending their children to school, by all means. Messrs Bell and Fordham, M’s. L.A.r.also made a few remarks appropriate to the occasion, and Mr Drummond, chairman of the demonstration committee expressed the pleasure -the community felt at haying a new school in the-place of the comfortless old building adjoining. Mr Potter, the head master, announced the relief he felt at getting out of the old place, referring to the' work that had been done in it, with the help of his old committee, whose loss, he felt; and mentioning the success in life that had attended some of his old pupils, he said that it had resulted in a great measure from the attention their parents - paid to their childrens early education. Mr Potter urged the parents of his present pupils to assist him as much as possible, for the future of the colony depended upon the way in which the present young generation was brought up. Mr Muller having said a few words, the proceedings terminated so far as the public were concerned by three cheers being given for the gentlemen who had taken part in the. opening ceremony. The children were afterwards regaled with tea and cake, and in the evening a musical soiree was held under the direction of Mr,Cross, the Humffray street band and the local school children being the performers. Next Wednesday a concert will be held, in the schoolroom in aid of-a band fund, a number of ladies and gentlemen well known to the public having promised to assist.[25]

Brown Hill Swimming Pool

NEW SWIMMING-POOL -The new swimming-pool being completed at Brown Hill reserve will cost £450, and the Brown Hill swimming-pool committee has agreed to give £50 a year for three years toward the cost, the remaining £300 being provided by the city council.[26]

Brown Hill swimming pool was officially opened by the mayor (Cr. M. Martin) on Saturday in the presence of a large gathering. The pool, which is 100 feet by 40 feet, Is built in concrete, and cost about £800, apart from the sustenance labor employed.[27]

Brown Hill Uniting Church

A cement-faced Gothic church of four bays, built to a design by Joseph Attwood Doane, which is a variant in his earlier Wesleyan Chapel in Barkly Street. The main facade, distinguished by a notched and finialled gable, is flanked by pinnacled buttresses and incorporates a tripartite lancet window and twin doorways, framed by delicate hood mouldings. Classified by the National Trust on 24 August 1989.[28]
MEMORIAL WINDOW - Miss Priscilla Smith, of Brown Hill, has given a set of stained glass windows at the Brown Hill Methodist Church in memory of her parents, the late Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Smith, pioneers of the Brown Hill district.[29]

See also

Gold mining companies

Ballarat Tramway Preservation Society

Brown Hill Steam Sluicing Co.

William Brownbill, miner

Gold Ore Mining

W. O'Dea, baker and pastrycook (<1887>)

John Finlay

William Ludbrook

Anthony Smith

South Monte Christo Co.

External Links

Brown Hill -

Brown Hill Heritage Overlay -


  1. accessed 15 March 2013.
  2. City of Ballarat, 5 January 2012. Roads and Open Space Index, pg. 3, Ballarat: City of Ballarat
  3. Withers, W.B., History of Ballarat and Some Ballarat Reminiscences', Ballarat Heritage Services, 1999.
  4. Withers, W.B., History of Ballarat and Some Ballarat Reminiscences', Ballarat Heritage Services, 1999.
  5. Withers, W.B., History of Ballarat and Some Ballarat Reminiscences', Ballarat Heritage Services, 1999.
  6., accessed 26 May 2016.
  7., accessed 26 May 2016.
  8. Brown Hill Cultural HEritage review, BIOSIS, 2018.
  9., accessed 26 May 2016.
  10. Brown Hill Cultural HEritage review, BIOSIS, 2018.
  11. Ballarat Star, 10 November 1877.
  12., accessed 26 May 2016.
  13. Ballarat Star, 15 November 1901.
  14. The Age, 26 September 1927.
  15. The Age, 20 January 1941.
  16. Victorian Municipal Directory, 1962.
  17. Brown Hill Cultural HEritage review, BIOSIS, 2018.
  18., accessed 26 May 2016.
  19., accessed 26 May 2016.
  20., accessed 26 May 2016.
  21., accessed 26 May 2016.
  22., accessed 26 May 2016.
  23. Brown Hill Cultural Heritage Review, BIOSIS, 2018.
  24. Brown Hill Cultural Heritage Review, BIOSIS, 2018.
  25. Ballarat Star, 10 November 1877.
  26. 10 September 1940.
  27. The Age, 20 January 1941.
  28., accessed 26 May 2016.
  29. The Argus, 10 September 1940.

--Clare K.Gervasoni 20:21, 27 May 2016 (AEST)

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