Located on the Western Highway on the bank of the Billy Billy Creek only 45 minutes west of Ballarat, Buangor is nestled between Mount Buangor, Mount Cole and Mount Langi Ghiran.
The area provides access to Mt Cole State Forest along established driving tracks and is the location of the Challicum Hills Wind Farm, Australia’s largest windfarm at time of completion in August 2003.
In 1996 a history of Buangor and District was compiled by Tim Allender and Des Brennan, the result a wonderful book called ‘Coaches Called Here – A history of Buangor and Surrounding Districts’.
Some extracts from this book follow as a brief summary of the history of Buangor.
When on 21 March 1861, surveyor P L Legg placed his signature on a plan for a freehold allotment on the boundary of the Billy Billy creek he effectively laid the foundation of Buangor. The little allotment, marked on the plan as ‘Hotel’ and one acre in the area was described as being ‘adjacent to the Raglan to Ararat road and near Colin Campbells Pre section (sic)’.1 It was taken up by John McDonald who was to give his name to Mac’s Hotel.
At that time there were no settlers in the district but a small community was already becoming established. The Campbells were in residence on the Buangor run.
Transport was becoming big business and the founding in 1854 of the firm Cobb & Co by Freeman Cobb, John Lamber, John Murray Peck and James Swanton and their introduction of the much more comfortable American coaches saw services increasing rapidly. Although the original partners did not last long the name Cobb & Co was retained by subsequent operators. Their practise was to provide a fast and efficient service, moderated only by the awful conditions of the ‘roads’. A frequent change of horse was the key to their speed and Buangor was the place to do this on the trip from Raglan to Ararat. A gold escort, racing along in a spring cart with its accompanying troopers also had to be serviced. A public house to refresh travellers and the services of a farrier for the horses teams drawing the coaches were a basic need...
So, in addition to the hotel, a structure capable of offering these services was necessary. The consequence of this need was the splendid and wonderfully restored stable adjoining the present highway.
The exact date of construction of the Cobb & Co is unclear but likely to have been during 1862-63.
1 Central Plan Office. Vic. Plan No. 61/203
...the changing stable and attendant hotel, together with the employees of the Buangor and Challicum runs, were the nucleus of a growing community...
...During the 1860’s the coaching business thrived...
At the end of the gold era of the 1850’s squatters were able to survey and purchase freeholds in the district.
The farms surviving today are aggregations of those initial small holdings with the site of the first residence marked often by the remains of one or two fruit trees grown wild...
Not many lasted the long haul, only ten of the original one hundred and twenty of thereabouts selectors have descendants still farming in the district and only four families continue to live on the allotment their forebears selected...
With their settling grew the communities, Buangor being the first and biggest in the district...
A general store was attached to Macs Hotel and several other businesses developed.
Settlers then began to arrive and by the early 1870’s the facilities needed to sustain and nurture a community began to appear. It was also at this time that the development of the railway network began, the section through Buangor to Ararat opened on 5 April 1875.
The arrival of the railway was another major element in the development of the community for, as well as the employment it provided during the construction period, it provided ongoing permanent employment some of whom lived in Buangor. By far the greatest impact of the new form of transport was the opportunity it afforded for the carriage of heavy freight. It made the sale of wood for fuel a viable industry...
It also had a social impact as it was used extensively for passenger transport to Ballarat and Melbourne and particularly between the adjoining communities.
When the railway came in 1875 it represented the climax of settlement, for those early years of the 1870’s the many facilities which are part of a settled and stable community were established. Schools, churches and public halls of the district were nearly all founded in this period...
At the beginning of the 1900 the township of Buangor consisted of the Railway Hotel (the existing Hotel), a blacksmith, butcher, corn dealer, and five timber merchants. Macs Hotel, one of the earliest buildings in the township was burnt to the ground in 1900 and has never been replaced. Other known businesses in town around this time were a General Store, Boot Repairs, Post Office, Bakehouse and Green Grocer. The town also had a Police Station, three churches, Primary School (still operating today), Railway Station, weigh bridge, sale yard, loading yards and goods sheds.
A very comprehensive history of Buangor and surrounding district is detailed in the book ‘Coaches Called Here’.
The Name ‘Buangor'
Some writers believe the meaning of the word Buangor is ‘pointed hill’ or ‘pointed mountain’.
Another interpretation is that it is a variant of ‘Yuwang gar’ or ‘Yuwangar’ meaning ‘granitemountain’. The fact that Buangor is a granite mountain gives this latter version some plausibility.
Of historical interest is the fact that the name Buangor has been given to the township, to the mountain peak, and was the name given to part of the pastoral run taken up by the Campbells in the 1840’s.
Extract from ‘Coaches Called Here’ 1996.
The focal point in the township of Buangor is the historic Cobb&Co - former staging stables. The building is heritage listed and is estimated to have been constructed in 1862-63 a time when a frequent change in horse was the key to a fast and efficient transport service and Buangor was the place to do this on the trip from Raglan to Ararat.
Today the building is used for functions and gatherings and is hired out for such events. An extension to the original building in more recent times, consisting of a modern kitchen and toilets, has allowed the Cobb&Co to be used and enjoyed by the wider public and the charm of the historic blue stone structure attracts many.