Information with thanks to Gloucester Visitor Information Centre, available in full here.
The Buccan Buccans (the Bucketts Mountains) are the dramatic rocky outcrops overlooking Gloucester. This area of native vegetation of 1370 hectares act as rocky sentinels above the peaceful Gloucester valley and provide a large area of island habitat in a sea of farmland.
The Gloucester region sits within country belonging to the Biripi and the Worimi peoples. In the Kattang language of these first peoples, Gloucester was known as Mookibakh and the mountains were the Buccan Buccans, from which the European name "The Bucketts" is derived. Buccan Buccan is thought to mean 'father of stones looking down on sacred land'. The site was used for ceremonial male initiations and is therefore of great significance.
Archaeological finds in the region, including middens and campsite debris, indicate that aboriginal groups moved along the ridge tops regularly between Gloucester and the Myall Lakes. West of the Buccan Buccans throughout the Barrington Tops, art sites can be found including charcoal drawings and hand stencils. These tend to be rare, as the rock types don’t lend themselves to this type of artwork as much as the sandstones of the Sydney basin.
One of the first Europeans to describe the Gloucester valley was Robert Dawson, chief agent of the Australian Agricultural Company, in 1826. The AA Co was granted one million acres on the northern side of Port Stephens up to the south bank of the Manning River. Impressed by the 'romantic scenery' of the river valley, Dawson established an outstation which he named Gloucester after the English town, as the landscape reminded him of that terrain. More English names followed with the naming of the Avon River and Stroud township.
Alluvial gold was discovered to the west of Gloucester, at present-day Copeland, in 1872, but it was kept secret until 1876 when a rush started. At the height of the rush (1877-80), there were some 3000 people in the area working 51 reefs which yielded 566 kg of gold.
In 1903 the AA Co sold its property to the Gloucester Estate Syndicate which cleared the land, drew up the town subdivision and sold allotments. In 1905 two hotels were built, a school of arts was completed and the main northern railway arrived in 1913, enhancing the town's role as a service centre to the surrounding area and precipitating a period of development. Timber getting almost eliminated valuable red cedars from the surrounding forests as the timber contributed to the growth of regional towns and Sydney. Today cattle grazing, dairying and intensive agriculture are predominant in the Gloucester valley. Recent changes include the growth of tourism, outdoor adventure activities and lifestyle acreages for tree-changers.
Oz Bucketts Challenge is hosted by Independent Runner Events