Hurstbridge Heritage Trail
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Hurstbridge Heritage Trail

Growth of Hurstbridge

Frances Ellen Hurst, daughter of Fred Hurst, married Bill Gray. A new house, the present day Allwood House, was built for them by local builder Charles Verso in 1894.

Bill Gray ran an extensive and successful nursery and orchard at Allwood supplying local and overseas orchards with plants.

The family's fortune was lost as a result of World War 1 and the Depression.

Patrick Burke, whose family settled on 20 acres of land on the Arthurs Creek in 1864, also ran a nursery and orchard on land that stretched from the Arthurs Creek and along the Diamond Creek.

The bridge on the Nutfield road close to Patullos Road is known as Burkes Bridge. The wooded hillside, which forms the backdrop for the present-day primary school, is often still referred to as Burke's Hill.

By the late 1860s gold yields in the surrounding district were running out. Many miners turned to the land when the Government made 19-20 acre blocks available to suitable applicants.

Orchards, nurseries and mixed farms were important local industries. Apple, plum and peach were most commonly grown.

Fruit and other product like the timber for Stuckey's sawmill had to be transported to Melbourne by dray.

Few people had riding horses - although a letter sent by Ellen Hurst in 1864 to a friend in England mentions "we are twenty miles from Melbourne, I often ride in on horseback and back in a day!"

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