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Macedon

Macedon is a town at the foot of Mount Macedon in the Macedon Ranges, between Melbourne and Bendigo in central Victoria.

Details

  • Area:38.973 km2
  • Elevation:494 m
  • Population:2,040
  • Local Government Area:Macedon Ranges Shire Council

Description

Macedonis a town at the foot of Mount Macedon in the Macedon Ranges, between Melbourne and Bendigo in central Victoria. It is administered by the Shire of Macedon Ranges . At the 2016 census Macedon had a population of 2,808. The combined population of Macedon and the nearby larger town of Gisborne was 21,071 at June 2016. # History The original inhabitants of Macedon are the Kulin nation - specifically, the Wurundjeri, Dja Dja Wurrrung and Taungurung people, who have lived there continually for at least 26,000 years. Their communities are still active today.Europeans arrived in 1837, and early interactions between Kulin Aboriginal people and European settlers were strained, with reports of thefts of stock; however there were no massacres of Aboriginal people reported in the district in the authoritative study.In the 1850s, gold was discovered in the Victorian Goldfields. Middle Gully, as Macedon was called back then, became a hub of activity and provided inns, beer houses, coffee tents, blacksmiths’ forges and stores for the crowds of gold miners.The gold rush of the 1850s-1870s ensured that the area continued to flourish, and the construction of the railway between Melbourne and Bendigo from 1858 to 1862 brought many new residents to the region. The town was affected by the land boom of the late 1880s, with investors being brought up by specially arranged trains. At the peak, property prices increased by up to 3 or 4 times in a short time.By 1893, the settlement had taken on the name Macedon and was growing through a co-operative association model with shared labour clearing land and building dwellings and fencing. Local industry sprung up, including a butter factory, said by a Melbourne newspaper at the time as "situated about one mile from the station, on the road to the mount. The building is in brick, 25 x 46ft. The separator is 100gal. capacity, and can revolve 7,000 times per minute. It contains all the latest improvements in butter-making machinery. The whole plant is worked by a six-horse water-wheel, supplied by pipes from a private reservoir."Throughout the late 19th and early 20th century, Melbourne's wealthy social elite began to settle the area in earnest due to large blocks of land on the south side of Mount Macedon being released to them by the government. In 1903 the Australian handbook described Macedon as "a post, money-order, savings bank and telegraph town. It is situated on the Melbourne and Echuca railway, 43¼ rail miles NNW of the former. There are three hotels, Moody's Family, Victorian Alps and State Nursery Hotel, two general stores, a State school (No. 1,660), Anglican, Wesleyan and Roman Catholic churches, Jubilee hall, library and a State nursery in the neighbourhood, also several eucalyptus oil works." ## 1918 Avenue of Honour The village of Macedon is home to a heritage listed war memorial Avenue of Honour, an extensive planting of 224 oak trees on both sides of the avenue for approximately one kilometre in length between the cemetery at Bent Street and Mt Macedon Road. The trees, comprising Pin Oaks, English oaks, Algerian oaks and oak hybrids were planted by members of the local community working each Saturday for three months in 1918, with each tree planted representing the life of an enlisted soldier from the local area.The opening ceremony for the Avenue was held on 10 August 1918 with "the State Premier (Mr. Lawson) and the Federal and State members for the district are expected to be present, and a strong band is to be in attendance". The Premier said that this Avenue "would serve to remind the future generations of their obligations to the men, and women too, who were now doing so much for mankind, and, furthermore, would stand as an example of great public service" and that the community "will regard it as a sacred duty to look after this avenue, care for the trees, and remember the grand purpose underlying the whole movement".The autumn colours of the Avenue of Honour attract a large influx of visitors annually, prompting the local council to introduce temporary traffic and parking restrictions in recent years. ## 1983 Ash Wednesday Bushfires Macedon was one of the towns extensively damaged by the Ash Wednesday bushfires on 16 February 1983, with 2 deaths in the town and 64 houses destroyed. Most of the shops, the Catholic Church (circa 1891) and Anglican church (circa 1931) were burnt, along with the Jubilee hall, the fire station, the school and the Water Board's office.The Victorian newspaper The Age reported the next day that "A fire officer came out of Macedon at 3am and said: 'I saw one house and one pub standing.'" Australian Defence Force members were deployed to assist the town in the aftermath after the Victorian Minister for Police and Emergency Services requested help from the Federal Government.A public park near the centre of Macedon, located across the road from Macedon's railway station, now serves as a memorial to the losses of Ash Wednesday. ## Today In recent years, Macedon's popularity has increased: proximity to Melbourne, boutique bed and breakfast accommodation, food and wine industries and arts scene have made the region highly sought after, drawing tourists and new residents, making the local population growth rate among the fastest in regional Victoria.Locals, worried about the environmental and cultural impacts of this growing popularity, successfully campaigned for new planning controls to protect the character of the region.A number of media reports have made reference to the influx of young professionals, artists and 'hipsters' to the region, drawn by the region's natural environment, proximity to the city and access to city-style cafes and restaurants. # Weather # Things to do ## Vineyards There are several commercial vineyards open to the public in the area immediately surrounding Macedon, including North Wine and Mount Macedon Winery, which at one time was owned by entertainer Olivia Newton John. ## Private Zoo Wild Action Zoo, a licensed private zoological facility on 11 acres of land is located in Macedon and provides education about animals via prearranged visits or via a mobile zoo around the State of Victoria. The zoo's owner, Chris Humfrey starred in a TV series "Chris Humfrey's Animal Instinct" which ran on the Australian version of Animal Planet, a Pay-TV channel.

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