Stockyard Creek continues to be totally removed from the outside world. Be prepared to experience the lifestyle our pioneers lived and worked (with at least a few modern convinces thrown-in…)
This historic bush homestead lies just off the Howqua Track, in the Howqua Valley, on a 420 acre Mountain Cattleman’s working farm surrounded by native forest. It’s a farm with views deep into the Alpine National Park.
The Howqua River was used as a major trade and war route across the Great Dividing Range for the Aborigines. The Howqua and Stockyard valleys are comprised of the famous Cambrian greenstone, prized by the Aborigines for many centuries for manufacturing spearheads, stone axes and cutting tools. During the late 19th century extensive gold mining was carried out.
Jasper and other semi precious stones can be found in the valleys and talc was mined for some years near Fred Fry’s.
The Yowen illiam Bulluk Clans people of the Taungurung Tribe were the first miners in the Howqua Valley. They not only mined green stone, but travelled from here up the Howqua Valley to the High Plains for trade, food sources such as Bogong Moth and ceremony. During this time disputes between different Tribes would be dealt with by the Elders of the Clans, and at times punishments would be administered.
Forbears of the Stoneys selected land at the junction of the Goulburn and Howqua Rivers in 1864. Eadley Stoney ran cattle on the Bluff from early 1940 and was friends with Jack Ware whose family selected Stockyard Creek and who also ran cattle on the Bluff. Mt. Eadley Stoney on the Bluff Range was named for Eadley after he died. Stockyard Creek was the home for Stoney’s High Country Adventure Alpine Tours and then horse rides, for more than 20 years. It is still widely and affectionately known as Stockyard.
The Howqua Track heads south-east from Merrijig to the Howqua Hills Historic Area, commonly known as ‘Sheepyard’ or ‘Fry’s’ where nowadays campers fill the river flats, especially during the summer months.
Aboriginal land management practices for thousands of years had meant that river flats were good grazing country. They were grassy with shade trees dotting them and so Sheepyard, being the largest river flat, was where shepherds in the 1850’s would yard their sheep at night.
Fry’s is called for the Fry family who were original settlers in the district during and directly after the gold mining era. Fred Fry built his hut during the 1940’s using his horses and chains to pull the beams of the steep roof into place. Both Fred Fry and the owner of Stockyard Creek, Jack Ware, were known for their bush building skills and there are several of their structures in the area.
Stockyard has now been owned by the Stoney’s since the mid sixties. It is a remote and beautiful place. The property was a staging point for the Stoney’s cattle on their way to Summer grazing on the Bluff High Plains from Mansfield. A different mob of Hereford cattle graze the property Stockyard and the adjoining “Narboorac” lease. This mob of cattle is historically significant as the genetic line can be traced back to cattle owned and grazed on leases by the Ware family 100 years ago.