Mount Jeffcott

The Mount itself is 262 metres above sea level and is comprised of hard rock of ancient strata, believed to be of Cambrian age. When the sea retreated from the Murray Basin area the Mount was left as an isolated feature in plains country.  It was declared a reserve as early as 1875 and in 1890, a Committee of Management was formed to make it into a public park – but that committee wanted to remove the indigenous vegetation; it is fortunate that an ensuing drought meant that there was not money to complete the plan.

Nevertheless, Mt. Jeffcott was grazed from surrounding farms, leaving its botanical features to struggle for existence until 1972, when it was finally gazetted as a Flora Reserve.  Once domestic animals were removed, wildflowers and trees began to appear, including some rare species of native orchids and ferns.  Kangaroos, wallabies, echidnas, various reptiles and insects enjoy their undisturbed territory. It is now controlled by Parks Victoria, with a local committee of “Friends of Mt. Jeffcott”, which is improving access points to increase tourism.

First European settlers were the Donald brothers in 1844 when they established Banyenong East Station, of which the present parish of Jeffcott is a part.   The first post office of the area carried the name of Mount Jeffcott, as did the Road District, established in 1863.

Most of the parish was selected during 1873.  Many of the settlers were Wesleyans, and a Methodist Church was built, and although a later contingent of Irish selectors arrived, they did not build their own church but attended that at Wooroonoook, in the next parish.  Four schools were established as the families grew and, as they were attended by the children of all selectors, a remarkably friendly and unified community developed.  The Jeffcott Hall was famous for its dances for many years.

As in all districts, the decrease in population has had its effect and no public buildings now remain in Jeffcott, although it is still a prominent farming area.