History of Happy Valley
Thomas and Ann Locker came from Derby, England and arrived in Australia in
1838. They travelled to the Monaro where Thomas obtained a position
as overseer at "Lanyon", an historic property near present
day Canberra. Here Thomas was in charge of some 30 convict workmen.
In 1848 they moved further into the foothills of the Snowy Mountains and
took over control of "Mowatt's
Bolero". In 1861 he obtained a Crown grant for the homestead
area. It would seem this was when the name was changed to Happy
The Locker family followed a lifestyle similar in some ways to the local
Aboriginal people who had used this area as their winter home for
countless generations. The Aboriginals would roam the higher
mountains during the summer and retreat to the sheltered hills around
Happy Valley to escape the winter snow.
Similarly, each spring, apart from a break during the 1860's Kiandra Goldrush,
the Lockers would set out with their sheep and cattle to spend the
summer in the mountains, then in autumn retreat to Happy Valley.
The homestead site is a sheltered valley that was a favoured campsite
over hundreds of years for the Wolgal, the local Aboriginal tribe.
Over the years a number of relics of the Wolgal occupation have been
found on the site.
From 1892 until 1908 a dairy was conducted at Happy Valley. Each day over
100 cows were milked by hand, the milk separated and the cream
transported to the factory at nearby Bolaro.
In 1952 the Locker family took their last lot of stock to the mountains
for summer grazing. This ended a hundred year association with the
mountains and the end of a unique life style for our local stockmen.
The historical significance of Happy Valley is directly related to the
long occupation by one family, through six generations. Many of the
artefacts and buildings are still in evidence, and documentary
material, photos, letters and similar have also survived.