Woolshed, a former mining locality in north-east Victoria, is 8 km north-west of Beechworth and 225 km from Melbourne. It was named after a crude shed apparently built in 1838 and used for droving sheep from New South Wales.

Woolshed is situated on Reid's Creek, which is the continuation of Spring Creek which flows through Beechworth. Gold was discovered at Spring Creek in February 1852, and discovered at Reid's Creek nine months later. Three settlements were formed, Woolshed, Reid's Creek (named after David Reid, proprietor of the Yackandandah pastoral run, 1843) and Sebastopol. A census taken in 1857 recorded 5569 persons at the three localities, of whom 77% were male and 23% female.

After the extraction of the readily won gold several diggings were invaded by water. By 1855 steam-driven pumps were used and some rich rewards were obtained. At the height of the mining activity in 1857 businesses and traders at Woolshed included 29 storekeepers, seven butchers, 14 hotels and six bookmakers. Within two years the best of Woolshed's mining had passed, partly because miners left for new finds at Rutherglen and Chiltern. A ratepayers' list in 1872 numbered about 130 persons, of whom one third were Chinese.

Reid's Creek school closed in 1892 and the Woolshed school closed in 1922, signifying the slow withdrawal of hopeful miners. Woolshed's last hotel closed in the 1900s. Mining was revived by bucket dredging of the stream and continued until 1922.

Woolshed's existence is recorded by the Woolshed Falls upstream on Spring Creek, situated in the Beechworth State park.

Woolshed's census populations were:

Census Date Population
1891 73
1911 138
1933 59

Further Reading

William J. Musk, The early days of the Woolshed, Ovens Goldfield, Victoria: a history of Reid's Creek, Woolshed and Sebastopol, the author?, 1995