The town was formerly known as Snake Gully.
Many parts of this rural community have the remains of gold diggings from the Victorian Gold Rush of the mid 1800s on the properties.
The district has an important historic gold mining past and produced some colourful people during that heyday. Among the notable was John Scarlett (1824-?), a Scottish miner. Scarlett was involved in all things: writing to the newspapers, calling meetings and voicing his opinions. Originally a dry miner he advocated rights for this type of operaton. Then on acquiring access to water he became an advocate for wet miners to the exculusion of the dry operators. He stood for mining board elections and then the Victorian Parliamment in1859.
He appears in two historical works of the district; Woods’s ‘Beechworth’ and more so in O’Brien’s ‘Shenanigans’. Scarlett eventually became the Secretary for the local roads board. No known photo of him exists. In her book, Woods, termed Scarlett the ‘Nine Mile Warrior’. O’Brien’s work with the local 1850’s papers uncovered an advertisement against Scarlett and lots of doggerel verse: a local paper christened Scarlett a ‘water squatter’.
The gold mining carried out in the district involved (wet) sluicing operations. During the gold era, the Stanley region comprised a higher proportion of miners from Scotland, in comparison to other localities in the surrounding area.
A More Modern Stanley