The natural beauty of the Ovens Valley, mountain resort town of Bright conceals one of the darkest pages in Victorian history. The seeds for violence were sown in 1853 when a prospector named Pardoe struck gold on the Buckland River.
Within six months the 3000 miners who had swarmed into the area had turned the diggings into a cesspit of disease and with one-third dead and the claims were abandoned. Abandonment led to an influx of Chinese to sift through the diggings. The Chinese built a temple and joss house and locals resented their cultural colonisation of the valley.
On July 4, 1857, the townsfolk voted to run the Chinese out of the valley at the point of a gun. Tragically, things got out of hand and by the time order was restored many Chinese were dead and the rest had fled.
Today Bright presents a charming streetscape enhanced by oaks, chestnuts, poplars, elms and maples which drape the town in a cloak of orange, red and gold in the autumn. The town provides ready access to the ski slopes of Mt Hotham, Mount Buffalo and Falls Creek and the area is excellent for horseriding and walks.
Things to do
Centenary Park - for swimming, picnics and children's playground
Visitor Information Centre - 119 Garavan Street, Bright
Galleries and Museums - Bright Art Gallery and Cultural Centre, Gallery 90 - for local arts and crafts, Historical Museum - and old railway station
Canyon Walk - along the Ovens River, find a brochure at Visitors Centre
In the area
Wandiligong - a National Trust Hamlet in a scenic setting
Boyntons of Bright winey - at junction of Ovens and Bucklands river
Snowline Deer and Emu Farm - in Eurobin
Mt Buffalo National Park - with wildlife walking trails