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The area was occupied by the Woiwurung people before white settlement. The first Europeans in the area were a party of explorers lead by William Hovell and Hamilton Hume who crossed the Yea River near the location of current day Yea in 1824. Their favourable report of the grazing land they had seen contributed to the formation of a new settlement that is now known as the state of Victoria.
The first settlers in the district were overlanders from New South Wales, who arrived in 1837. By 1839, settlements and farms dotted the area along the Goulburn River.
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