Winner 2007 Tidy Towns Community Pride Award
A peaceful place where travellers along the Sunraysia Highway can stop for a quality coffee or local Pyrenees wine, Stuart Mill retains a charming link with the gold rush days, with many mining relics found in surrounding bushland.
Located in the fertile Strathfillan Valley, Stuart Mill is a little oasis in the surrounding drier areas, and the Strathfillan Creek running through the village adds to the quaint scenery.
The gateway to the St Arnaud Range National Park, Stuart Mill is also close to another popular tourist destination: Teddington Reservoirs and campground.
Some impressive names in Australian history are connected with the village, including Labor leader and union man Donald MacDonell who was born and buried in Stuart Mill, and GJ Coles of the Coles Stores fame, whose family owned a shop in the town.
In the 1840s, squatters took up land in the Teddington area along the Strathfillan Creek and when alluvial gold was discovered in 1861 there was a gold rush to where Stuart Mill is now. In earlier times, there were market gardens, orchards and vineyards along the valley. Today these vineyards continue, alongside new olive plantations. Originally named Albert Town, the name was changed to Stuart Mill when it was realised there was already an Alberton in Gippsland.
There was another bigger rush in 1868, when larger reef mining was established. It was a vibrant and bustling community of many thousands of gold diggers until the 1870s when the gold rush finished and Stuart Mill reverted to mainly agricultural activity.
Today there are relics and ruins of the early days and the village is still a pretty and charming location in the fertile Strathfillan Valley and gateway to the National Park via Teddington Reservoir.