Rutherglen was originally settled by squatters in 1836 but the discovery of gold in nearby Chiltern some 20 years later caused great excitement. The town grew to a population of 20,000 by 1861. But it was wine which made Rutherglen famous. The first vines were planted in the 1850s and by 1890.
View ornate period buildings, significant historical markers and read about many of the characters who shaped Rutherglen’s earliest years. Find the answers to interesting questions such as ‘Where did Rutherglen get its name from?’ and ‘Why exactly was the mortuary attached to a prominent local pub?’
A copy of the book can be downloaded from the Historical Touring Route.
This walk also has and accompanying audio files that act as your guide. Listen here.
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Start Walking: Rutherglen Wine Experience and Visitor Information Centre
Start at the Rutherglen Visitor Information Centre. Cross the Murray Valley Highway and turn right. Cross old railway line and rail trail. Cross Booth, Hunter and Lord Streets.
Not many people know, but the township of Rutherglen was originally settled by squatters. Fast forward a few years and this town was flowing with fine wine and shimmering with glittering gold. By the 1850s, more than 20,000 pioneers converged on the area in search of gold and the good life.
At 800m, cross the road then turn left and connect with the blue metal gravel path adjacent to Hopetoun Road. Follow the path and at 900m cross Hopetoun Road. At the Rutherglen Wine Bottle turn left onto Hunter Street and right onto Culbertson Street.
But wine would prove to be the long-term lifeblood of the region. Lindsay Brown, the noted father of Rutherglen wine, once said 'Dig gentleman dig, but no deeper than six inches, for there is more gold to be won from the top six inches than from all of the depths below'. Thanks to families such as the Browns, Campbell’s and Killeen’s you can sample wine from some of the oldest vines in Australia.
At 2.5km cross Main Street and continue on High Street. At 2.6km turn right onto Murray Street and head towards Lake King. At 2.7km turn left and cross Murray Street to join the Lake king walking track behind the toilets and head to the right.
The walk will take you by Rutherglen’s most important and historic buildings including hotels, banks and schools. And what historic walking tour would be complete without checking out the original local mortuary?
Continue to follow the track closest to the lake and take a left at the track junction at 3.2km. Continue to follow the track. Exit the track to the right at the bollards to head towards High Street. Follow the gravel road to the left.
The beauty of this walk is that it will land you right back in the middle of town. Combine the beautifully preserved shop fronts of the main street and a little imagination, and you can almost picture yourself in the middle of those heady gold rush days.
Finish off your historical expedition at the Thousand Pound Wine Bar - sleek purveyor of all the finer things in life. This cracking wine bar has not only a superb range of local wines, but an incredibly decent food menu. While there, raise a glass to those who planted their grape vines here over 160 years ago. Here’s cheers!
Cross High Street and turn left crossing Church Street. Cross Murray Street at 4km and turn right heading past the Victoria Hotel sign on the old building. Continue on Murray Street, turn left at Murphy Street south and then cross the road to head towards the Rutherglen Visitor Information Centre.
End Walking: Rutherglen Wine Experience and Visitor Information Centre