2. The Pastoral Runs of Wilsons Promontory

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At the time, the influence of the wreck of the Clonmel on developments on Wilsons Promontory itself was only slight, but as the years went by the effects of settlement in the coastal areas of the mainland began to make themselves apparent.

The wreck was at the only spot on that part of the coast which at the time could give access to the interior and, had the ship not come to grief there, it is possible that the opening up of the province would have been delayed for many years.

It will be recalled that Angus McMillan and his party, after a gruelling trek over the mountains from Omeo, reached the Old Port, north of present-day Port Albert and not far from the entrance to Corner Basin, on the 13th February, 1840—precisely the day the Singapore party reached Corner Inlet.

McMillan was not the kind of man who would invite the public to share the proceeds of his explorations but the Port Albert Company was much less reticent. Others soon proceeded to occupy pastoral holdings in an area which might otherwise have remained unknown to any but McMillan and his employers.

By 1844 there were at least 40 holdings in Gippsland, carrying about 20,000 head of cattle and 62,000 sheep. Within a year the number of stations had increased to 100, carrying between them 30,000 cattle and 100,000 sheep – an astonishingly rapid development in a colony of which the main district centre, Melbourne, had yet to be properly surveyed. Most of the old ‘runs’ are scarcely remembered now…

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