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The original site of the Warburton township in the 1850s was near the gold workings and mines on Yankee Jim's Creek, south of Mt Little Joe, 70 km east of Melbourne.
It was known as "Yankee Jim's".
The site of present day Warburton was known as Scotchman's Creek in the 1860s.
In the 1880s, a new road was built along the Yarra Valley, which was associated with a population shift to what is now Wesburn and Warburton. This resulted in the end of any further development at Yankee Jim's, and the area became known as "Old" Warburton.
By 1869, only a small number of miners remained at Yankee Jim's, and it survived as a small settlement of about 12 old buildings and a few huts, until 1926 when most of the remaining buildings were destroyed by disastrous bushfires.
The name survives in "Old Warburton Rd", a good bitumen road which winds its way around the base of Mt Tugwell, linking Wesburn and Warburton, generally following the old route of the 1860s.
The area is now mainly private property, surrounded by the Yarra State Forest. A gated walking/fire-management track follows Yankee Jim's Creek from the site of the original Old Warburton settlement. This is known as the Yarra Silvan Conduit Track, and terminates at the Wesburn Park.
The long Yarra Silvan Conduit was built in 1962, and passes through a large tunnel beneath Mt Little Joe. It links the Upper Yarra Reservoir with the Silvan Reservoir.
I visited the Old Warburton Valley on September 14 2007, exploring part of the Conduit Track and nearby walking tracks. Sadly, nothing remains of the former Old Warburton settlement.
Regards from Melbourne!
article published 9/13/2007