A curious case of where it all began
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.