Aberfeldy is on Mount Lookout in the Great Dividing Range, on the ridge between the Thomson and Aberfeldy Rivers, about 75 km north of Moe and 125 km east of Melbourne.

Gold had been discovered throughout the area, with rushes occurring at Gaffney's Creek in 1860, at Wood's Point and Matlock in 1861, on the Aberfeldy River and Donnelly's Creek in 1862 and on Stringer's Creek (later Walhalla) in 1863. After initial alluvial mining, gold bearing reefs were discovered, and in 1871, the first reef on the ridge at Aberfeldy was opened up.

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