Graytown was known as Spring Creek when gold was discovered in September 1868. Within a few months, over 30,000 people had arrived. Shop keepers followed, tents and shanties made way for wooden structures. By June 1869, there were 216 beer premises, 36 butchers, 14 bakeries, 17 general stores, five banks, four chemists, five doctors, two newspapers, five soft drink manufacturers, 10 drapers, eight restaurants, six tobacconists, 10 boot makers, six timber yards, 18 blacksmiths, two watchmakers, three ironmongers, two tinsmiths and 72 unknown stores, a Cobb & Co Station and 19 Police Officers.
During the Second World War a Prisoner of War Camp was established at Graytown (Camp 6). Approximately 250 Italian and then German POWs were detained. They were not released until January 1947. The German POWs were mostly crew members from the German raider ship “Kormoran” that sunk the HMAS Sydney off the West Australian coast in 1941. Some Finnish seamen were also held. The wreckages of the Sydney and Kormoran were not found until March 2008.
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