Browse by Tag
Free camping
Gold history
Gold prospecting
Walking track

Arnold Public Hall

  • 20180613 090836
  • 20180613 091043
  • 20180613 090853
  • 20180613 091108
  • 20180613 091134
  • 20180613 090915
Bridgewater-Dunolly Road, Arnold VIC 3551

Explore other locations around this area using our interactive map


  • Public Hall
  • Picnic table
  • Free electric barbecue
  • Information sign
  • Toilets
The Arnold Public Hall is located along the Bridgewater-Dunolly Road in Arnold, between Bridgewater and Tarnagulla. Originally built as a Mechanics Institute and Library in 1889, the Arnold Hall was restored by the local community in the 1980s and remains a focal point of the town today. 

Behind the hall there is an electric barbecue, picnic table, and toilet block. 

An information sign beside the Arnold Hall provides a detailed account of the district's history and displays the following text: 


From the beginning

The first settler, John Catto, came into the district in 1840 and took up an area of land on the banks of the Loddon River between Bridgewater and Newbridge known as Loddon Plains or Catto's Run. Despite floods, hostile aborigines, poor seasons, poor prices and difficult land laws John developed a beautiful and valued property that was to become known as Memsie Station. The gracious old building is a landmark in the district and serves as a monument to a well respected pioneer.

Gold was discovered at Sandy Creek (Tarnagulla) in 1853 and in Inglewood in 1859. The new goldfields in Inglewood had no batteries to crush the rich quartz from the mines and this ore had to be transported by horse teams to the Government Battery at Tarnagulla. The only bridge across the Bul-a-Bul Creek at that time was situated at the site of the present day bridge between Inglewood and Bridgewater. This created a long and tedious journey from Inglewood to Tarnagulla so in 1859 David Arnold cleared a track from Inglewood to the present day site of Arnold and built a bridge to cross the Bul-a-Bul Creek. Toll fees for the bridge and the sale of refreshments saw David prosper and the area became known as Arnolds Bridge. It was at this time that the township of Arnold started. By the mid 1860's the easily mined alluvial gold was exhausted and the local gold rush was over. In 1869 William Simpson discovered alluvial gold a few miles west of Arnold creating a small gold rush and soon after this the rich Black Horse Reef was mined. William Simpson took up land with a creek frontage and established a Hotel at Coars Corner on the coach route from Inglewood to Byr'Lyn (Rheola). This area was known as Simpson Creek and later Arnold West.

Squatters & Selectors

As the gold rush diminished many of the miners decided to become squatters on small areas of land, generally 100 acres (40 hectares) or less. The Robinson Land Act of 1869 forced the squatters to either buy their land or have it thrown open for others to select. It was a time of immense hardship and many of these small landholders walked away from their properties are years of back breaking toil. Others managed to eke out a living by growing small amounts of grain and having livestock and supplementing their incomes by doing seasonal jobs such as fencing, wood cutting, shearing and carting wood and timber to the local mines. There were about 400 residents in Arnold, Simpsons Creek and surrounding districts in 1890.

Early Community Progress

In 1876 the need for a School was apparent and the Kangderaar Creek School was erected in the Arnolds Bridge township. The name was changed to the Arnold School in later years. The Simpsons Creek School opened in 1878 and it later became the Arnold West School. Several small industries started in the Arnold district in this era with Day's Brewery operating beside the Loddon River about three miles east of Arnold and supplying the local markets as well as sending its product to Melbourne in horse drawn wagons. Hargreaves Saw Mill was established at Simpson Creek and there was a ready outlet for sawn timber in the surrounding districts and township.s There was also a cheese factory at Irish Town about 2 miles south of Arnold. There were two hotels in Arnold with one in the town, the Junction Hotel, and The Half Way House, owned by Christoph Metelmann, about one mile north of town. The hotel was named as it was mid way between Inglewood and Tarnagulla. In later years a cheese factory was also built near this site. In addition to the hotels there were two "Wine Shanties" also in the area with one near the Memsie Station beside the Bridgewater Newbridge road on land now owned by the Higgs family and the other was the infamous "House of Blazes" that was situated about three miles north of Arnold on land now owned by the Younghusband family. Folklore says that a miner was murdered in this shanty, and his ghost haunts this locality.

In the year 1888 the Dunolly-Inglewood railway line was built providing the community with a quick and sure method of transporting their produce and receiving purchased goods. Two goods trains and two passenger trains stopped at the Arnold Station daily and the Station Master's residence was used as the first Post Office. There were two sets of railway gates with one on the Arnold-Newbridge road and the other at Ralph Wrights crossing on the Bridgewater-Arnold road. 

The Mechanics Institute and Library (Arnold Hall) was built in 1889 and Anglican and Methodist congregations held Services at this venue on alternate Sundays. In 1916 a Gloria lighting system was installed and was in use for many years. An extension and jarrah floor was added to the Hall in 1934. In the 1980s the Hall was in a state of disrepair and a series of community working bees re-painted and restored the building. Recent improvements of an entrance ramp, new Supper Room and new windows have the focal point and meeting place of the Arnold communty in excellent condition.

In 1895 Anne McKean took out a license to operate a still to produce eucalyptus oil. Eucalyptus leaves were collected by Anne and her daughter Annie, taken home and processed into eucalyptus oil at their family home beside the Simpson Creek. Her original product was named Helping Hand Eucalyptus but is now known as Bygum Eucalyptus which is owned and operated by Tony Taig, a fifth generation descendent. 

Timeline of Arnold
  • 1859 David Arnold builds bridge on Bul-a-Bul creek 500m from existing township
  • 1871 First major bushfires in the Arnold district
  • 1876 Arnold School is opened. (Original name of Kangderaar Creek School)
  • 1878 Simpsons Creek (Arnold West) School opens
  • 1888 Station opens at Arnold on new Inglewood/Dunolly Railway line
  • 1888 Post Office opens in Railway Station Master's residence
  • 1889 The Mechanics Institute & Library (Arnold hall) is built
  • 1895 Anne McKean gets Licence to produce eucalyptus oil
  • 1898 Arnold Cricket Club is formed
  • 1900 Arnold Tennis Club is formed
  • 1900 Arnold Football Club is formed
  • 1900 Simpsons Creek Football Club is founded
  • 1905 Half Way House Hotel closes
  • 1906 Arnold Cricket Club wins Premiership
  • 1908 Arnold General Store opens (Bob Woodburn as owner)
  • 1911 St Marys Anglican Church is built on land donated by Thomas Chamberlain
  • 1914 The school dam was constructed
  • 1916 The Arnold hall purchased a Gloria pressure lighting system
  • 1919 The Arnold telephone exchange is opened
  • 1921 First recorded snow fall in Arnold
  • 1924 Bellengers Butchers shop opens in Arnold West
  • 1932 Arnold Tennis Club wins premiership
  • 1934 Extension built on to Arnold hall and jarrah floor laid
  • 1936 Nine Hole golf course opens at Arnold
  • 1941 Arnold West Tennis Club wins premiership
  • 1946 Arnold Golf course closes
  • 1948 Arnold Tennis Club closes
  • 1951 Arnold Cricket Club wins premiership
  • 1952 Arnold Football Club closes
  • 1953 Arnold West School closes
  • 1956 Junction Hotel closes
  • 1960 Electricity was connected to Arnold and districts
  • 1965 Major bushfire. Two lives lost. Seven houses destroyed, 8,000 sheep burnt
  • 1966 Arnold West win tennis premiership
  • 1972 Arnold school closes
  • 1972 Arnold Junior Cricketers win premiership
  • 1983 Biggest flood in Kangderaar and Bul-a-Bul creeks in memory
  • 1988 Arnold General Store closes after 80 years of trading
  • 1991 St Marys Anglican church closes
  • 1999 New supper room built on to Arnold Hall
  • 2000 Arnold West tennis team plays in 37th consecutive Grand Final winning 24
  • 2001 Arnold Cricket Club build new clubrooms
  • 2002 Arnold West Tennis Club closes
  • 2008 Arnold Cricket Club fielding both Junior and Senior teams winning eleven Senior Premierships and two Junior Premierships since its inception in 1898


  • There are hundreds of fantastic barbecue areas throughout the Victorian Goldfields. Some are in parks/playgrounds, others are scattered throughout the bush. Many barbecue areas are located alongside amazing attractions and walks, so go out for a barbecue and get exploring!


No comments

Leave a comment