In August 1837, Thomas Learmonth, with six others, arrived in the district and two years later the location was named Buninyong. It became an important stopping place from Geelong and a timber industry developed. Timber cutter Thomas Hiscock found gold traces in a gully in August 1851, but the returns were small as he had little knowledge of the technique required. Hiscock’s discovery led to other finds to the north and thousands were to pass through Buninyong on their way to the Ballarat diggings.
Buninyong’s population peaked at 1,619 in 1857 but remained a sizeable town with a population of 1,292 in 1901.