A cu­ri­ous case of where it all be­gan

Mt Hotham Falls Creek - - FRONT PAGE -

LONG-TIME Din­ner Plain res­i­dent Mal­colm McPher­son says it took two decades of cu­rios­ity to dis­cover the an­swer to a ques­tion that has long per­plexed him.

How ex­actly did this lit­tle vil­lage ap­pear in the mid­dle of a 646,000-hectare na­tional park?

Up above the snow line at an alti­tude of 1550m, Din­ner Plain’s ex­is­tence is an ab­nor­mal­ity of his­tory.

In McPher­son’s pur­suit of an an­swer he not only un­cov­ered the vil­lage’s in­ter­est­ing story but also put pen to pa­per to record the his­tory of the first 30 years of what he calls “an island in a sea of crown land”.

“It was all a re­sult of the govern­ment more than 100 years ago want­ing to en­cour­age re­gional set­tle­ment,” he said at the launch of his book, ‘Din­ner Plain, his­tory of the Alpine Vil­lage’ in Din­ner Plain in Au­gust.

Land was set aside prior to it be­com­ing a na­tional park in 1989 and cat­tle gra­ziers roamed the High Coun­try, dec­o­rat­ing the hills with his­toric huts that are now a high­light of the re­gion’s great alpine walks.

But it wasn’t un­til 1986 that the doors to the Din­ner Plain Ho­tel – the old­est build­ing in Din­ner Plain – swung open to the pub­lic.

De­vel­op­ers saw the po­ten­tial to es­tab­lish an alpine re­sort, qui­etly tucked away among the snow gums but within 10 min­utes from Mount Hotham, and over the years, the lit­tle vil­lage grew.

“The pub an­chored the com­mer­cial and so­cial ac­tiv­ity for the first five to 10 years then fur­ther restau­rants were de­vel­oped,” Mr McPher­son said.

There are now about 400 houses, a spa, and even Australia’s high­est craft brew­ery which has be­come quite an at­trac­tion be­cause Din­ner Plain’s alpine wa­ter – beer’s big­gest in­gre­di­ent – is ar­guably the purest wa­ter in Australia.

“We’ve be­come more and more of a des­ti­na­tion in our own right, more so than a dor­mi­tory for Mount Hotham,” Mr McPher­son said.

“We’re see­ing more and more fam­i­lies com­ing up, and we’re see­ing more peo­ple com­ing for a first­time snow ex­pe­ri­ence.”

Mr McPher­son’s book – the first to com­pre­hen­sively doc­u­ment Din­ner Plain’s his­tory – can be pur­chased from a num­ber of busi­nesses in Din­ner Plain as well as at the Vis­i­tor In­for­ma­tion Cen­tre in Bright.

NOVEL IDEA: Mal­colm McPher­son says Din­ner Plain has be­come more than a dor­mi­tory to Mt Hotham and is now seen as a des­ti­na­tion in its own right.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.