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Casterton /ˈkɑːstətən, ˈkæs-/[2] is a town in Victoria, Australia, located on the Glenelg Highway, 42 kilometres east of the South Australian border, in the Shire of Glenelg. The Glenelg River passes through the town. Casterton is named after the village of Casterton in south-east Cumbria in England.[3]

Casterton Henty Street 003.JPG
Henty Street (Glenelg Highway), the main street of Casterton. Note the Fleur-de-Lis and the name of the town carved into the hill in the background.
Casterton is located in Shire of Glenelg
Coordinates 37°35′0″S 141°24′0″E / 37.58333°S 141.40000°E / -37.58333; 141.40000Coordinates: 37°35′0″S 141°24′0″E / 37.58333°S 141.40000°E / -37.58333; 141.40000
Population 1,425 (2011 census)[1]
Established 1846
Postcode(s) 3311
Elevation 73 m (240 ft)
LGA(s) Shire of Glenelg
State electorate(s) Lowan
Federal Division(s) Division of Wannon
Mean max temp Mean min temp Annual rainfall
19.9 °C
68 °F
8.3 °C
47 °F
660.4 mm
26 in



Prior to white settlement, Aboriginal people of the Konongwootong Gundidj clan lived in the local area. The first white explorers to pass through the area were the expedition led by Major Thomas Mitchell in 1836 who spoke enthusiastically of the landscape's green hills, soft soils and flowery plains, describing it as ideal for farming and settlement, naming it Australia Felix.[4] The first white settlers in the area were the Henty brothers who had landed in Portland, Victoria in 1834 and who claimed 28,000 hectares between what are now the towns of Casterton and Coleraine. 'Warrock' Station, a sheep farming settlement, was established in 1841, 26 km north of what would be Casterton.[5]

The township of Casterton began on the crossing site of the Glenelg River, the location having been surveyed in 1840, and the first pub, the Glenelg Inn, was established in 1846 with a post-office opening the following year.[4] The early history of the region was marred by violent clashes between settlers and Indigenous people, including multiple murders of Aboriginals that took place near Casterton in the late 1830s and early 1840s.[6]

In 1891, a large number of Casterton women signed the Women's Suffrage Petition to be tabled in the Victorian Parliament to grant women the right to vote (which was not allowed until 1908).[7] By the 1890s, increasing soil erosion saw wheat-farming around Casterton begin to decline and it was largely replaced by meat, wool & dairy farming. Casterton's population expanded in the early 20th century, especially in the 1920s with the arrival of large numbers of soldier-settler farmers and during the post-war era in the 1950s.

The Rail line to Casterton was closed 12 September 1977.[8] The town's population began to decline in the 1990s which was consistent with the statewide trend of decreasing populations in many agricultural areas and the ageing of the local population. The 2011 census indicated the average age of Casterton's population was 52.[1]


  • 1840 Location of Casterton is first surveyed
  • 1846-1847 Opening of Casterton's first pub and post-office
  • 1855 First Horse Racing Meet held in Casterton [9]
  • 1870 The local newspaper-The Casterton News-is first published [4]
  • 1875 Casterton Football Club is founded [10]
  • 1884 A railway link from Branxholme, Victoria to Casterton is established.[11]
  • 1908 Establishment of Casterton Hospital [12]
  • 1936 Official Opening of Casterton Town Hall [13]
  • 1955 Casterton Elementary High School is built on the current site (now Casterton Secondary College)[14]
  • 1977 Railway closed.[15]

The kelpieEdit

Casterton Kelpie Monument

Casterton lays claim to be the birthplace of the breed of working dog known as the kelpie, a Scottish term meaning 'Water Sprite' and a name given to a black and tan bitch British working collie owned by Scotsman George Patterson, a farmer who lived north of Casterton in the 1870s. Patterson exchanged 'Kelpie' for a horse and the dog's new owner, a drover named Jack Gleeson, took her to Ardlethan, New South Wales where she mated with a black male Rutherford Sheepdog named 'Moss', producing several litters. Kelpie later mated with another male named 'Caesar', producing a female pup named 'King's Kelpie' which grew to become a champion sheepdog.

The breed was further developed and refined during the next few decades. Ardlethan also lays claim to be the birthplace of the breed.[16]

In 1997, a working dog auction was held in Casterton, an annual event which grew to become the Casterton Kelpie Festival in 2001. The auction and festival event is now held each June in Casterton [17]

To mark Casterton's 150th anniversary celebrations in 1996, a bronze sculpture of a kelpie by artist Peter Corlett was unveiled in front of Casterton's Town Hall.[18]

The Fleur de LysEdit

A large version of the Fleur de Lys, used as the emblem of the Scouts, is carved into Toorak Hill, a steep hill overlooking the eastern end of Casterton's main thoroughfare. The design has a circumference of 91 metres.[19] In 1935, the Boy-Scouts and Cubs, in honour of the Silver Jubilee Celebrations of King George V, carved a large-scale version of the words 'The King' into the hill, each letter some 20 feet long. Encouraged by the success of this, the Scouts, to celebrate the 1941 opening of the town's new Scout-hall, carved the Fleur de Lys emblem into the hill and lit it up at night with the aid of a series of tins filled with oil-soaked rags which were set alight. Years later, the design was lit by electric strip lighting and is illuminated on most evenings throughout the year.[20]


The town has a Community Centre, a weekly local newspaper and hosts many activities throughout the year.

The town has an Australian rules football team competing in the Western Border Football League. Casterton Football Club, originally formed in 1875, won the Western District League Premiership 12 times between 1892 and 1963 and has won the Western Border League Premiership twice, in 1969 and 1990.[10]

The Casterton Racing Club schedules around four horse race meetings a year including the Casterton Cup meeting in May or June.[21]

Golfers play at the Casterton Golf Club on Penola Road.[22]

The town has a public outdoor swimming pool, a hospital, a secondary college and state & Catholic primary schools.

Notable residentsEdit

Notable residents of Casterton include:

Clyde Lawrence


  1. ^ a b Australian Bureau of Statistics (31 October 2012). "Casterton (Urban Centre/Locality)". 2011 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 7 November 2012.   
  2. ^ Butler, S., ed. (2009). "Casterton". Macquarie Dictionary (5th ed.). Sydney: Macquarie Dictionary Publishers Pty Ltd. 1952 pages. ISBN 978-18-7642-966-9. 
  3. ^ "Place Details". VICNAMES. State Government of Victoria. Archived from the original on 11 December 2013. Retrieved 7 November 2012. 
  4. ^ a b c
  5. ^ "Historical Towns". 
  6. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-06-20. Retrieved 2012-11-05. 
  7. ^ "Women's Suffrage Petition of 1891, Casterton & District, Victoria, Australia". 
  8. ^
  9. ^ "Horse Racing at Casterton, 1850s, S-W Victoria, Australia". 
  10. ^ a b "Casterton FC -". 
  11. ^ "Branxholme to Casterton". 
  12. ^
  13. ^ "Negative - Casterton, Victoria, 1936 - Museum Victoria". 
  14. ^ "Casterton High School (a brief history), Casterton, Victoria, Australia". 
  15. ^ Australian Railway Routes, ARHS, p31
  16. ^ "ABC OPEN: Home of the Kelpie - Casterton vs Ardlethan -- From Project: Working Dogs". 
  17. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-12-04. Retrieved 2012-11-05. 
  18. ^ "Casterton - Birthplace of the Kelpie". 
  19. ^ "404". 
  20. ^ "The South West Explorer - Casterton's Fleur de Lys". 
  21. ^ Country Racing Victoria, Casterton Racing Club, archived from the original on 2007-10-19, retrieved 2009-05-07 
  22. ^ Golf Select, Casterton, retrieved 2009-05-11 
  23. ^ "Biography - Clarice Marjoribanks Beckett - Australian Dictionary of Biography". 
  24. ^ "Biography - Dame Mary Jean Gilmore - Australian Dictionary of Biography". 
  25. ^ "Biography - William Macmahon Ball - Australian Dictionary of Biography". 
  26. ^ "Australian Football - barry gill - Player Bio". 
  27. ^ "Australian Football - alan richardson - Player Bio". 
  28. ^[permanent dead link]
  29. ^ "London 2012 - Kathryn Mitchell". 
  30. ^ "Biography - Murray Matheson - Internet Movie Database". 
  31. ^ Tom Cue Biography by Thomas Foster

External linksEdit