Your drive from Bairnsdale along the Great Alpine Road in East Gippsland following the Tambo River to Ensay, then onward to Swifts Creek, Omeo, Dinner Plain and Mount Hotham features some of the most breathtaking scenery in Australia.
The Great Alpine Road follows much the same route that the early pioneers travelled in the mid 1800's. The 80 kilometre journey from Bairnsdale to Ensay through the steep mountain terrain took 4 days on horseback and longer by coach. In those early days there were various shanties along the way where travellers could stop, have a meal and rest overnight.
You will pass a number of historic locations along the Great Alpine Road. Each sign post has a unique story behind it.
7 km north of Bruthen sometime around 1839 the district pioneer Angus McMillan encountered some koala bears. He thought they looked like monkeys and named that place “Monkey Creek”.
15 km north of Bruthen, “Walsh's Cutting” is the place where a coach driver died following a brake failure that caused his coach to plunge down the steep ravine.
1000 Pound Bend
The cost of repairing damage to 2 horse drawn coaches that collided at that very spot.
24 km north of Bruthen, there were once huts built on the banks of the Tambo River here that were used to store wattle bark.
Piano Bridge Creek
27 km north of Bruthen, there was an old bridge here with panels that bounced up and down just like piano keys when a coach passed across it.
Pig and Whistle
When their boss prohibited some Railway Surveyor's from visiting the nearby Hotel, they collected their sly grog from this spot.
30 km north of Bruthen, a Jew's cart loaded with goods got stuck here.
Tambo Crossing and Lock-Up Creek
In 1854 the “Tambo Inn” was built at Tambo Crossing, later to be rebuilt in 1890 and named the“Sir Walter Scott Hotel”. Police officers stopped here to lock-up prisoners overnight. Sadly, the hotel was burnt down in 1961. A plaque, historical information boards and picnic area mark the site today.
A spot named after the very windy road.
35 km north along the way from Bruthen, a fellow named “Ballarat Harry” was murdered here.
Name Stone Point
Travellers etched their names into a stone at this spot. The actual name stone is no longer there.
Dead Horse Flat
39 km from Bruthen, at this place a horse tied behind a wagon collapsed from exhaustion and was dragged some distance before the driver realised his horse had died.
Stringy Bark Creek
In the 1920's a fellow named Mr Stringy was cut down from a tree by members of a bridge building gang.
Two bullock drivers had a fight here.
45 km from Bruthen, “Devil's Backbone” is named after the steep and treacherous nature of the rugged bush terrain around here.
Little River Inn Hotel, Ensay
52 km north of Bruthen and 300 metres off the Great Alpine Road in Ensay, the Little River Inn is a good place to stop in, enjoy an ice cold beer or hot coffee and a fine pub meal. Have a friendly chat and view lots of interesting historical photographs hanging throughout the hotel.