Mansfield is a small town in the foothills of the Victorian Alps in the Australian state of Victoria. It is approximately 180 kilometres (110 mi) north-east of Melbourne by road. The population around Mansfield was 4,787 as at the 2016 census. The town itself has 3410 persons.
Mansfield is the seat of the Mansfield local government area. Mansfield was formerly heavily dependent on farming and logging but is now a tourist centre. It is the support town for the large Australia ski resort Mount Buller. It is associated with the high-country tradition of alpine grazing, celebrated in the film made around Mansfield, near the now famous Craigs Hut, called The Man from Snowy River (based on a poem by Banjo Paterson).
British colonisers began to enter the region in 1839 when Andrew Ewing (sometimes referred to as Andrew Ewan), a stockman representing the Scottish livestock company Watson & Hunter, scouted the area for a new sheep station. Ewing encountered Yowengillum people along a waterway he named Devils River, as he considered these people to be "black devils". The best land was to be found east of this river, adjacent to Mount Battery (known as Bayerlite to the Yowengillum), and Ewing established the Mount Battery sheep station there in 1840. The overseer's hut was built near where the town of Mansfield now stands. Aboriginal encampments were also located near Mount Battery and were noted for their large stone ovens. Bitteruc, a Yowengillum elder at this time, stated that the land around Bayerlite was "good country, my country."
Mansfield, originally known as Mount Battery, became a township that was surveyed in 1851 and named after Mansfield in Nottinghamshire, England. Settlement came after the discovery of gold nearby and the Post Office opened on 1 January 1858.
On the 11 November 1863, a triple hanging occurred in Melbourne Gaol; Elizabeth Scott, along with Julian Cross and David Gedge, were executed for the murder of Elizabeth's husband in the Wappan district (near Mansfield).
Mansfield is famous as part of the Ned Kelly Trail. Significant memorials include the Memorial to Police erected in the centre of the town's roundabout. Mansfield Cemetery is the burial ground for police officers slain by Ned Kelly and his gang at Stringybark Creek.
Dr. John Pearson Rowe (1810–1878) was a physician and squatter who owned the 'Loyola Run' (also known as Mount Battery) near Mansfield. Reputed as the first Roman Catholic resident of the district, it is recorded that nearby Rochester was named after J. P. Rowe, as he owned land on the Campaspe River. Rowe was a principal founder of the University of Melbourne. He fired a shot at a 14-year-old Ned Kelly accompanied by bushranger Harry Power in 1869. Rowe stood for the Upper House seat of the Murray District in 1859 and was defeated. In October 1878 Rowe supplied information to police Sergeant Kennedy on the whereabouts of Ned Kelly. Acting on Rowe's verified advice, Kennedy and his police party rode into the Wombat Ranges, where three of them were killed; and the Kelly Gang legend was born.
By 1878, the town had half a dozen general stores, several butchers, and blacksmiths. Public buildings included the shire hall and library, a hospital, three churches, and Victoria Hall (where concerts were held).
The area round Mansfield named as Banbury was also the location of the novel The Far Country by Nevil Shute which featured logging on Mount Buller and previous forest fires, which having swept through obliterated almost all traces of a former settlement.
The nearby Mount Buller and Mount Stirling offer attractions all year round. During winter they are visited for skiing, lifted and back country respectively. In the summer hiking and mountain biking are popular. Ski lifts operate year-round at Mount Buller allowing bikers to easily get to the top of downhill mountain biking runs.
The bushland around Mansfield is used for horse riding, trail biking and four wheel driving on extensive tracks throughout the region.
In past years, the "Mansfield Balloon Festival" celebrated hot air balloons, and drew crowds and enthusiasts from across the state. The balloon Festival hasn't been to Mansfield for several years.
Golfers play at the Mansfield golf course on Kidston Parade.
Mansfield is at one end of the Great Victorian Rail Trail, which officially opened in 2012. The rail trail is the second longest in Australia, and is used by push bike riders, horse riders, and walkers.
- Josh Fraser – ex-Collingwood and Gold Coast Suns football player in the AFL
- Max Fricke – Motorcycle speedway rider. 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2017 Australian Under-21 Champion and 2016 World Under-21 Champion
- Simon Gerrans – professional road bicycle racer
- Michelle Beecham  - ex-Australian World Cup team trap shooter
- Jack Hutchins- ex-Gold Coast Suns football player in the Australian Football League
- David Mensch – former professional Football player at the Geelong Football Club
- Victoria Mitchell – long-distance runner
- Catherine Skinner – current professional shooter ()
- Cyril Henry Thomas Towers – rugby union player
- Alex "Chumpy" Pullin – 2011 and 2013 border cross (snowboard) world champion
- Thomas Top - Victorian State Orienteering Medallist - 2005 Bronze Medallist in the Victorian Orienteering Championships
- Elizabeth Vivienne Conabere - botanical artist, writer and conservationist
- Australian Bureau of Statistics (27 June 2017). "Mansfield (State Suburb)". 2016 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 28 January 2018.
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- Clark, Ian (2014). The Travels of George Augustus Robinson Chief Protector. ISBN 1499662076.
- "gazetteer Mansfield". Monash University Arts. Archived from the original on 12 February 2004. Retrieved 11 April 2008.
- Phoenix Auctions History, Post Office List, retrieved 18 January 2021
- Ebsworth, Walter (1973). Pioneer Catholic Victoria. p. 489.
- Jones, Ian (1995). Ned Kelly: A Short Life. p. 34.
- O'Brien, Antony (2005). "Chapters 4-5". Shenanigans on the Ovens Goldfields: The 1859 Election.
- McQuilton, John (1979). The Kelly Outbreak: 1878-1880: The Geographical Dimension of Social Banditry. p. 95.
- “A sketch of the Mansfield district,” Australasian, 7 December 1878, p.24
- Brown, Sid (March 1990), "Tracks Across the State", Newsrail, Australian Railway Historical Society (Victorian Division): 71–76
- Banger, Chris (March 1997), "Rail Passenger Service Withdrawals Since 1960", Newsrail, Australian Railway Historical Society (Victorian Division): 77–82
- "Reports of damage after magnitude-6 earthquake shakes Victoria, NSW, Canberra". www.abc.net.au. 21 September 2021. Retrieved 21 September 2021.
- Full Points Footy, Mansfield, archived from the original on 14 April 2008, retrieved 25 July 2008
- Country Racing Victoria, Mansfield District Racing Club, retrieved 29 March 2012
- Golf Select, Mansfield, retrieved 11 May 2009
- Great Victorian Rail Trail, Great Victorian Rail Trail, retrieved 14 June 2020
- Mulford, John G. Towers, Cyril Henry Thomas (1906–1985). Canberra: National Centre of Biography, Australian National University.
- "2005 Victorian Orienteering Championships Results" (PDF). 20 April 2005.
Media related to Mansfield, Victoria at Wikimedia Commons
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