Hill End

The small farming community of Hill End is located in the foothills of the Great Dividing Range, 27 km north of Trafalgar in West Gippsland and 147 km east of Melbourne. The district takes its name from the descriptively titled Hill End pastoral run which was taken up in 1850 and used to depasture cattle from larger runs in Gippsland.

In the late 1870s the squatting run was relinquished, the lessee purchasing 320 acres and establishing Hill End Estate. Cropping and sheep were the main activities until the 1890s when a dairy herd was established. By this time, there were a number of other selectors in the area, many of them former gold miners from nearby Russell’s Creek. A village settlement also brought numbers of unemployed people from Melbourne and few stayed permanently. After World War I, a number of returned soldiers were also settled at Hill End.

A small township developed, with a government school opening in 1890, a post office and store in 1900, an Anglican church in 1908 and a mechanics’ institute in 1909. The Australian handbook described the settlement in 1903:

As the forest was cleared, superphosphate, potash and trace elements were needed to develop productive pastures. Dairying became the most important industry, farmers supplying milk factories at Moe and Trafalgar. A herd testing group was set up in 1924. Cattle and sheep were also grazed, and potatoes and onions grown. From the 1930s several timber mills were established at Hill End, first logging nearby country, then further afield.

The district was threatened by bushfires several times, and in 1939 the township was devastated, losing the public buildings, eight homes and three sawmills. But the school, hall, church and store were soon rebuilt. Tennis courts and a recreation reserve service local sporting teams. Since 1949, Hill End has united with Willow Grove, 10 km to the south, to field a football team. Its school closed in 2007. Census populations for Hill End have been:

area census date population
Hill End 1911 132
  1933 170
  1954 185
  1961 224
Hill End and environs 2006 224
  2011 239

Further Reading

The changing years: a history of the Hill End, Willow Grove and Fumina South districts, 1972