ON THE NED KELLY TOURING ROUTE
Mansfield was the base for police search operations and it was the murder of three Mansfield policemen at Stringybark Creek that put a price on Ned’s head along with the other three Kelly Gang members.
Since European settlers first came to the area from 1839, Mansfield has been the centre of the High Country. In fact, the original ‘runs’ or ‘stations’ converged at the roundabout in the centre of Mansfield from 1846, which is a significant local landmark today. Edward Mansfield was one of the first settlers here.
Gold was discovered in the region in the 1860s, leading to a booming economy. Many of the buildings you see in Mansfield and other High Country towns were built with proceeds from mining.
All that cash brought another sort of speculator … Bushrangers stole from the rich then relied on their excellent bushcraft to keep ahead of the law. They often hid in the impenetrable bush of the Wombat Ranges north-east of Mansfield.
Before becoming a bushranger, Ned worked in the area as a timber-getter after his release from prison in 1874.
Mansfield’s other significant claim to fame is as the location for filming of the 1982 feature film The Man from Snowy River, based on the Banjo Paterson poem of the same name.
Today, Mansfield is a pretty and prosperous place with fabulous views across the Alpine ranges and plenty of rivers and lakes nearby. It attracts visitors all year round and is the gateway town to Mt Buller, Lake Eildon and the Alpine National Park.