Clunes is a town in Victoria, Australia, 36 kilometres north of Ballarat, in the Shire of Hepburn. At the 2016 census it had a population of 1,728.[1]

Main street of Clunes
Clunes is located in Shire of Hepburn
Coordinates37°18′0″S 143°47′0″E / 37.30000°S 143.78333°E / -37.30000; 143.78333
Population1,728 (2016 census)[1]
Elevation310 m (1,017 ft)
LGA(s)Shire of Hepburn
State electorate(s)Ripon
Federal division(s)Ballarat
Mean max temp Mean min temp Annual rainfall
19.6 °C
67 °F
6.3 °C
43 °F
575.2 mm
22.6 in

Clunes is best known as the site of Victoria's first registered gold discovery in 1850 and its first gold strike in 1873, which lasted three months. A campus of Wesley College is based in Clunes and parts of the original Mad Max (1979) were filmed in the town, famously showcasing the Creswick Creek Bridge, in Clunes’s more regional farming area. Other films include “Ned Kelly” (2016) and Stan TV series “Bloom” (2018). The annual Clunes Booktown Festival began in 2007 and draws significant tourism to the area, with over 10 book shops around the town.

History edit

Pre-colonial edit

The Dja Dja Wurrung, an Aboriginal Australian people belonging to the Kulin nation, first inhabited the region which included Clunes. Most of their population was decimated in the twenty years after Scottish explorer Thomas Mitchell surveyed the land in 1836. This was due to the introduction of European occupation and diseases;[2] for example, 6–10 tribesmen were killed in the 1839 Blood Hole massacre at the nearby Glengower station.[3]

Mitchell probably encouraged his fellow clansmen to take up pastures which, on his travels, were bordered by a line dug into the earth by his drays. They included overlander Donald Cameron, who took up a 12,000 ha (120 km2) run in mid-1839 and named it Clunes for his Scottish hometown, building a homestead in the 1850s. While Cameron was the first European settler, his run was soon bordered by those of other Scottish pastoralists.[2][4]

Pastoral and gold rush edit

View of Clunes and the Port Phillip and Colonial Gold Mining Company operations in 1861

In March 1850, a party of four, including Cameron and his friend William Campbell MLA, found traces of gold on his station. The discovery initially was kept secret as it was feared that announcing it would be detrimental to the Clunes run.[5]

In April 1851, German physicist George Hermann Bruhn arrived at Clunes while on a journey to examine the Colony of Victoria's mineral resources and was shown specimens of gold by Cameron. Bruhn spread the discovery across Australia and sent specimens to the Gold Discovery Committee on 30 June. After confirming the area was auriferous, James Esmond—who had been informed by Bruhn—and his co-worker James Pugh enlisted the help of sawyers Burns and Kelly; they obtained gold in quartz rocks near Clunes on 29 June. The Geelong Advertiser announced these findings on 7 July and the precise location of Esmond's discovery on 22 July.[5]

William Campbell's announcement in Melbourne and Davies news item triggered the gold rush in Victoria. The township was established a few years later and subsequent gold mining predominantly driven by the Port Phillip and Colonial Mining Company which was mining the site of the discovery[6] saw the town's population rising to well over 6,000 residents in the late 1880s.[citation needed]

Clunes post office opened as early as 1 October 1857[7] and in 1874 Clunes was connected to the Victorian railway network. Clunes station was opened in the same year.[citation needed]

In 1873 mine employers attempted to introduce Saturday afternoon and Sunday shifts. The miners refused to sign the new terms outlined in their contract renewals and went on a strike that lasted 3 months. Some days into the action the miners organised the Clunes Miners' Association and what were to become known as the Clunes riots, successfully resisting the use of Chinese labour from Creswick[8] as strikebreakers.[9]

From the 1850s through to 1893, when gold mining eventually came to an end, Clunes was an important gold production location in Victoria. Surrounded by grassland, meadows and pastures, the town has preserved many of its elegant historic buildings and is recognised as one of the architecturally most-intact gold towns in Victoria.[citation needed]

Twentieth century edit

The Clunes Magistrates' Court closed on 1 January 1983.[10]

21st century edit

Booktown edit

The idea of transforming Clunes into a European-style booktown was first conceived and developed by Councillor Tim Hayes, Linda Newitt, Graeme Johnston and Tess Brady.[citation needed] Clunes held its first "Booktown for a Day" event on 20 May 2007. Over 50 booksellers from around Australia set up shop for the day in the town's heritage buildings.[citation needed] Renamed to "Back to Booktown" a year later and to "Clunes Booktown Festival" in 2012, as of 2008 was holding the event each year on the first weekend in May.[11]

The event has won recognition and awards, including:[citation needed]

  • 2008: Hepburn Shire's Community Event of the Year
  • 21 January 2010: John Brumby, premier of Victoria, said during the Australia Day Luncheon: "In Victoria we even have our very own booktown. The regional community of Clunes in north-west Victoria sees its future as a cultural destination centred around literature. As well as their successful 'Back to Booktown' festival, just last month our Government helped launch the new Creative Clunes Community Bookshop."
  • 23 November 2010: Australian Civic Trust Award of Merit in the Human Category to "Back to Booktown", for its use of heritage buildings in a "respectful, as against destructive use"
  • 19 April 2012: Clunes given "International Book Town" status, by the International Organisation of Book Towns
  • 2013: Australia Day awards for Hepburn Shire's Community Event of the Year, to "Children's Booktown 2012'

Wesley College campus edit

Between 2000 and 2008, Clunes underwent a noticeable transformation and rejuvenation[12] following the decision by Wesley College, Australia's largest co-educational private school, to establish a campus for Year 9 students in the town. Opened in 2000, about 80 students take up residency in the Wesley Clunes Residential Learning Village in the centre of town and become part of the local community for an eight-week period each term. Where they learn how to live in a shared house and how to live with others when they grow up.[citation needed]

Sport edit

Clunes Football Ground, home of the Clunes Magpies

The town's Australian rules football/netball team is the Clunes Magpies, competing in the Central Highlands Football League and Central Highlands Netball League.[13]

Golfers play at the Clunes Golf Club on Golf Course Road.[14]

Clunes has a cricket club playing in the Maryborough District Cricket Association.[citation needed]

Clunes has a lawn bowls club that competes in the Ballarat District Bowls Division.[citation needed]

Transport edit

Clunes railway station is located on the Mildura line.[citation needed]

When the state government announced the Victorian Transport Plan, along with V/Line services being extended to Maryborough, Clunes was not part of the plan (with the only stations being Creswick and Maryborough). However, as a result of protest by the town, the Government announced on 17 June 2010 that Clunes would be reopened and included on the line.[15]

In film edit

Notable residents or place of birth edit

References edit

  1. ^ a b Australian Bureau of Statistics (27 June 2017). "Clunes (State suburb)". 2016 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 9 July 2017.  
  2. ^ a b "Talbot and Clunes Conservation Study" (PDF).
  3. ^ Evershed, Nick; Ball, Andy; Allam, Lorena; O'Mahony, Ciaran; Nadel, Jeremy; Earl, Carly. "The killing times: a massacre map of Australia's frontier wars". the Guardian. Retrieved 2 September 2021. The specific source cited is Massola, A. (1969) Journey to Aboriginal Victoria, Rigby, Adelaide, p.88
  4. ^ "Clunes". The Sydney Morning Herald. 11 December 2007. Retrieved 31 March 2023.
  5. ^ a b Report From The Selective Committee Of The Legislative Council On The Claims For The Discovery Of Gold In Victoria (PDF) (Report). Melbourne: Victorian Legislative Council. 10 March 1854. Retrieved 31 March 2023.
  6. ^ History of The Port Phillip Mining Company
  7. ^ Premier Postal History. "Post Office List". Retrieved 11 April 2008.
  8. ^ Ballaret Courier 1873
  9. ^ The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865–1924) Wed 10 December 1873 Page 2 RIOTS AT CLUNES
  10. ^ "Special Report No. 4 - Court Closures in Victoria" (PDF). Auditor-General of Victoria. 1986. p. 79. Retrieved 12 April 2020.
  11. ^ "Clunes Back to Booktown". Archived from the original on 1 May 2008. Retrieved 8 February 2008.
  12. ^ "Who's Owning Whom and Why Does It Matter? – Looking at Learning as Community Development". Doug Lloyd and Tamara Downey. 12 March 2009. Archived from the original on 21 October 2008. Retrieved 12 March 2009.
  13. ^ Full Points Footy. "Clunes". Archived from the original on 7 September 2008. Retrieved 25 July 2008.
  14. ^ Golf Select. "Clunes". Retrieved 11 May 2009.
  15. ^ "Possibility of reopening railway stations". The Maryborough District Advertiser. 26 August 2011.
  16. ^ "Tomorrow when the War Began". Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
  17. ^ Kachka, Boris (4 June 2017). "How to End a TV Show: An Exclusive Look at the Making of The Leftovers Finale".
  18. ^ "Picnic at Hanging Rock review – tale of missing schoolgirls haunted by its own retelling". 10 May 2018.
  19. ^ "Bloom is proof Australian TV can be as bold as anything from overseas". 27 December 2018.
  20. ^ "Watch True History of the Kelly Gang". Stan.
  21. ^ "From Cairns to Clunes to Cannes". Jo Roberts. 27 May 2008. Retrieved 27 May 2008.
  22. ^ "Beadle, Jane (Jean) (1868–1942)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. National Centre of Biography, Australian National University.
  23. ^ Blainey, G, The Rush that Never Ended, MUP, 1978.
  24. ^ "Jobson, Nancy (1880–1964)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. National Centre of Biography, Australian National University.
  25. ^ "Lewis, Robert (Bob) (1878–1947)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. National Centre of Biography, Australian National University.
  26. ^ "Longstaff, Sir John Campbell (1861–1941)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. National Centre of Biography, Australian National University.
  27. ^ "Tarrant, Harley (1860–1949)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. National Centre of Biography, Australian National University.
  28. ^ "Nick Hind".

External links edit