About 195km south-east of Melbourne, Heyfield grew up around Heyfield Station as a resting place for diggers on their way to the Victorian goldfields. But when they decided to create Lake Glenmaggie, the town was forced to move a few kilometres down the road.
Today, Heyfield’s prosperity relies on timber milling and its central position in a beef cattle and dairying district based around the Thomson River and Glenmaggie Weir.
The town is a major producer of kiln-dried hardwood, and several local timber mills are only too happy to show visitors around. Lake Glenmaggie itself is a great spot in the warmer months for boating, skiing and fishing.
Around the district are plenty of markets and arts and craft shops. Author Minnie (Mary) Grant is believed to have based her Billabong books, on which generations of Australians were weaned, on stories told her of life on the land by an uncle who spent several years working on Heyfield Station when the cattle property was owned by the fiery James Tyson.
Shortly after buying the property from original owner James MacFarlane, Tyson installed a locked gate on a public bridge he claimed encroached on his land. Fuelled by free beer from a bush pub, squatters and townsfolk joined forces to lay siege to the gate with a bullock team. Overwhelmed by eight of numbers, Tyson removed his toll gate to allow free passage..