Highercombe Hotel (which is now owned by the National Trust) was used as the first post office. Due to the discovery of gold in Victoria in 1852 and the exodus of workers to the goldfield, there was no postmaster or school teacher reopened in 1856. The increased population in Victoria due to the gold rush, until 1854 when the Hope Valley post office reopened and the school caused a demand for South Australia where and the District of Highercombe came rapidly under cultivation.
By 1857 there were 4,464 acres under wheat, 219 of barley, 815 of cut hay and two flour mills were operating in the district.
The Hope Valley School
The Hope Valley School was completed towards the end of 1849 and its first headmaster was Mr Dempster. The second headmaster, Mr Prowse, was appointed in 1851, and advertised “to inform his friends and the neighbourhood” that the day school would be opened from 9am – 4pm and that night school would be opened three nights a week.