Healesville is a very historic town with a fine history, located in the beautiful valley of the Watts River, surrounded on several sides by the mountains of the Great Dividing Range.
The site of present day Healesville was surveyed in 1864, and the first land sales were held in June 1865. The township was named after Richard Heales, Premier of Victoria from 1860-1861. Healesville lies on the ancestral land of the Wurundjeri people.
A settlement at nearby New Chum (now Chum Creek) had existed for two or three years, and had become a thriving base for men en route to the goldfields at Woods Point and Jericho. Stores were brought from Melbourne along the Yarra Track, unloaded at New Chum and transferred to pack horses to continue their hazardous journey to the diggings.
As thousands made their way to the goldfields it became obvious that a 'proper' road was necessary. The route chosen avoided the flood-prone flats of the Watts Valley and kept to the higher ground to the south of the river where a new town was planned, however those seeking their fortunes still faced the difficult trek over the mountains of the Great Divide.
By 1866 over thirty business premises were operating in Nicholson Street, including six hotels, a post office, a saddlery, and a blacksmith.