Bullumwaal, sometimes spelt Bulumwaal, is located along Boggy Creek, 29 km north of Bairnsdale in East Gippsland. Gold was found in Boggy Creek in 1857. There were soon 1000 people living there but the rush was shortlived. The discovery of reefs in the mid-1860s led to the establishment of a number of mines. A small township named Allanvale, later Boggy Creek, grew up at the creek crossing.
In 1868 there was a rush to Upper Boggy Creek where promising reefs were found. In 1870 this growing township was renamed Bullumwaal. Bullumwaal is an Aboriginal word thought to mean two spears, representing two nearby mountains, Mt Lookout and Mt Taylor. However, by the early 1880s the Boggy Creek goldfields again were almost deserted.
Bullumwaal's heyday was during the late 1880s and 1890s. The economic depression caused many unemployed to migrate to old goldfields. Many old mines were reopened and there were four quartz batteries in operation. Some mines were very productive, the best known being the Sons of Freedom and the Beehive. From 150 residents in 1890, the population swelled to 700 by 1896. The township was gazetted in 1898. Straggling over several kilometres it then possessed a post office, telephone service, hotel, school (1876-1972), church, mechanics' institute hall (1894), coffee palace, drapers, jeweller, grocer, other stores and a newspaper. Social activities were popular, with a cricket club, rifle club, brass band and dramatic company, and several lodges had established branches. The Australian handbook described the town in 1903:
By the turn of the century, Bullumwaal's mining industry began to decline. The gold was becoming worked out, and it was becoming increasingly expensive as mines increased in depth and ore values declined. A dredge worked the creek downstream from the town but was not particularly successful.
By 1913 most mines were closing, including the Beehive. The town declined and many houses were moved away. There was some revival in the 1920s with the Beehive operating again. The Victorian municipal directory for 1930 still portrayed the town as a busy mining centre:
In the 1930s many unemployed took up mining and several old mines were reopened. The social life of the town revived and the church and school reopened. But almost all mining ceased with the coming of World War II. The battery from the Beehive mine was eventually removed to the Bairnsdale Historical Museum.
In the 1950s two sawmills set up operations at Bullumwaal. The number of school children increased and a new school was built near one of the mills. However, by 1972 the school had closed and was removed. Employment at the mills still supports a small population. The hall is the only public building remaining. The East Gippsland branch of the Prospectors and Miners Association of Victoria ran a goldfields exhibition day in Bullumwaal in 2012 featuring displays of gold and gemstones, working displays of equipment and gold panning.
Bullumwaal's census populations have been:
J. Adams, Path among the years: history of Shire of Bairnsdale, 1987
K. McD. Fairweather, Bedrock, 1986
J. Hardwidge, Bullumwaal – some memories, 1985