History & Indigenous Heritage

Discover our fascinating past

Indigenous heritage

Macedon Ranges is located on the Country of the Dja Dja Wurrung, Taungurung and Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung Peoples.

These three groups are the Traditional Owners and custodians of the land, and along with the Wathaurung and Boon Wurrung, make up the federation of the Kulin Nation.

Evidence suggests that our Traditional Owners and custodians have lived in the area for at least 26,000 years.

There are a number of significant Aboriginal sites in the Macedon Ranges.

Mount William/ Wil-im-ee Moor-ring

Mount William, north of Lancefield, is one of the most important cultural sites of the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung people, with highly-prized green stone being extensively quarried for use as axe tools. Mount William was recently added to the National Heritage List in recognition of its national significance.

Hanging Rock

Hanging Rock is on the edge of several tribal boundaries and is believed to be a shared place which may have been used for gatherings. It is known to some of its traditional owners as Ngannelong.

Mt. Macedon/Geboor

At the base of Mount Macedon is an axe-grinding site important for the Gunung willam-balluk clan part of the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung community. The stone from Mt. William was shaped and sharpened on the rock. Some of the finished axe heads were traded during night-time ceremonies held around Hanging Rock.

Yelka Park

Yelka Park was named after the word for this section of the Campaspe River which features heavily in local Aboriginal history as a major meeting and trading place between local Aboriginal Clans.

All Aboriginal cultural places and artefacts are protected by law in Victoria under the Aboriginal Heritage Act 2006. It is illegal to disturb or destroy a place and artefacts. If you believe you have found an artefact or a site of significance, report your find to Aboriginal Affairs Victoria

Wurundjeri, Dja Dja Wurrung and Taungurung communities continue to be active today, working to manage and care for Country and develop strong and resilient communities.

macedon ranges indigenous heritage

Our fascinating history

The flow of human traffic that came from Melbourne to the goldfields in Mt Alexander and Sandhurst (Bendigo) had an enormous impact on the natural landscape, society and architecture of each village in the Macedon Ranges. Everywhere you look, there are fascinating stories to be told.

The section of the Mt Alexander Road between Macedon and Woodend had a particularly bad reputation for the activities of bush rangers.*

The construction of the railway through the Shire was a major infrastructure development for the new colony and occurred in the wake of the gold rushes. The first small towns in the area sprung up in response to the needs of travellers along the goldfields roads.

macedon ranges history

Did you know?

Our region has always figured prominently in Australia’s wider socio-political arena. A significant meeting held in the Kyneton Mechanics Institute in 1893 instigated the Corowa Conference that eventually led to the Federation of Australia.

The Kyneton District Mounted Rifle Corps was granted the title of ‘Prince of Wales’ in 1862 and merged with two other units to become the famous Light Horse Brigade that charged Bersheeba in World War 1.

Burke and Wills passed through the Macedon Ranges on their ill-fated way to the Gulf of Carpentaria. Today, you can still trace their path on the Burke and Wills Track outside Lancefield.

And infamous bushranger Ned Kelly appeared in the Kyneton Courthouse when he was only 15. A letter he wrote to a local police sergeant who showed him kindness is still on display at the Kyneton Museum.

macedon ranges history lancefield

Historical societies

The Kyneton Museum in Piper Street is the ideal place to learn more about these and the other tales that dot the legacy of the Macedon Ranges. You can also visit the historical societies that are part of most villages in our region.

75 Piper St, Kyneton
Open: Tuesday & Saturday 9.30am – 1.00pm
Email: kynetonhs@hotmail.com
Phone: +61 418 545 648

Malmsbury Mechanics Institute, Mollison St, Malmsbury
Open: Friday 9.00am – 2.30pm
Email: malmsburyhistorical@gmail.com
Phone: +61 3 5423 2264

Lancefield Courthouse, 55 Main Rd, Lancefield
Open: By appointment only
Email: lancefieldcourthouse@gmail.com
Phone: +61 418-172-659

The Old Court House, 42 Forest St, Woodend
Open: Wednesday 10.00am – 12.30pm | 1.30pm - 4.00pm (Feb  - Nov)
Websote: http://woodendhistory.com/
Phone: +61 3 5427 1283


*Source: https://goldfieldsworldheritage.com.au/place/macedon-ranges/

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