Aberfeldy, located on Mount Lookout, north east of Lake Thomson, 125
kilometres east of Melbourne, was settled in 1871 following the
discovery of gold, a Post Office opening on 1 January 1872 (closed
The town was surveyed and proclaimed in 1885. It was initially known as
Mount Lookout, but was eventually renamed after the Scottish town of
Aberfeldy. At its peak, the township has a population of around 500.
After the gold rush, the town produced potatoes and other crops, and
sheep and cattle were grazed.
The town was home to Kitty Cane, aka Catherine Lowe, the defacto
wife of Jonas Sly. She was a former dancer who was believed to have
weighed 120 kilograms. It is said that, at the time of her death (10th
April 1863), she had to be buried beside the road, because her body
could not be lifted to the cemetery. Jonas and Kitty Sly, Frederick Sly
and Sarah Matthews ran a grog shanty at Aberfeldy Crossing. The flat
ground at the top of the ridge where she was buried - about 100 metres
north of her grog shanty - was prime real estate with the Thompson
River in the valley to the West and the Aberfeldy river in the valley
to the East. Kitty was described as a sober woman aged about 42.
Following the First World War the population diminished, though the
town managed to survive. The hotel was burnt down in 1938 and the Black
Friday bushfires of 1939 destroyed many of the town's buildings. A road
was constructed to Matlock by 1950, but it remains in poor condition to
this day. Today there are only a few permanent residents, though land
was released for public sale in 1999. Remains of former buildings are