Kilmore, Victoria, Australia

Kilmore is located 60 km north of Melbourne, the capital of Victoria, and close to the state's geographical centre. The district's undulating landscape lies mostly 300m above sea level and receives an annual average rainfall of around 750 mm, with an average temperature range of 10-25 degrees C.

Today Kilmore, which is Victoria's oldest inland settled town, has a population of around 3500 with a diverse socio-economic mix. The town is traversed by the Northern Highway, which runs to Bendigo and beyond. Five kilometres to the east lies the busy Melbourne-Sydney corridor, which contains the Hume Freeway and the interstate and intrastate railway lines.

The town lies close to the Sydney-Melbourne route that Hamilton Hume and William Hovell explored in 1824 and was an easy day's ride from Melbourne. Nestled in a sheltered valley, with hills rising steeply on either side, and with a permanent creek running through it, Kilmore was an ideal overnight camping spot.

Enterprising businesses soon squatted here to serve the campers' needs and that of the surrounding English and Scottish pastoralists who had grazed their sheep and cattle on its rolling plains since 1837.

In 1841 William Rutledge, who had come from Kilmore in County Cavan, Ireland, took up a special survey of 5120 acres and he named his survey Willowmavin. Rutledge duly subdivided his land, surveyed a township, which he named Kilmore, and sold the enterprising businessmen the freeholds of their established businesses.

That was the start of the thriving regional settlement which was to become a postal district in 1843, Victoria's first inland Catholic Parish (1849) and Anglican Parish (1850), and the oldest country seat of local government established in 1856.

Schools, a brewery, flourmills, a tannery, a court house and gaol and a hospital soon became established. To Kilmore's west a tenant farming community, which attracted Irish settlers, was set up on the rich soils of Willowmavin.

Today, Kilmore's strengths are in automotive, education, health, manufacturing, transport, horse racing, commerce, farming and tourism. Several hundred, mostly professional, people travel to Melbourne to work each day, now about an hour's drive or train ride from neighbouring Kilmore East.

The automotive sector is based on a strong new car dealership, three secondhand dealerships, RACV depot, three service stations and a specialty tyre dealership, with every conceivable backup service that could be required.

Kilmore's seven schools, a state and two private pre-schools, a state-run primary school, a Catholic primary and secondary school, and a private secondary school with International Baccalaureate accreditation, have some 1700 students attend daily. Three hundred of this number board in Kilmore, with over one hundred of these students coming from Asian countries. A tertiary distance education centre operates from the Kilmore Civic Centre where the Mitchell Regional Library headquarters is located.

The health industry is based on Kilmore's 30-bed acute nursing hospital, with an adjoining 30-bed aged nursing home, and a new 30-bed aged hostel. Visiting medical specialists consult and operate at the hospital. Three doctors' clinics, as well as a dentist, an optometrist, two psychologists, chiropractors and other health workers complete the range of services available to the Kilmore district population.

The Kilmore Leisure Centre, with indoor heated swimming pool, also run complementary health related programs. These excellent health facilities are backed up by three ambulance units and a fully resourced State Emergency Service unit.

Kilmore's manufacturing is centred around the equestrian industry with a large horseshoe manufacturer, two saddlers, and a horse bandage manufacturer.Other manufacturers include stainless steel, metal, wood and cement fabrication and pottery production, and Kilmore's oldest continuous factory, which has bottled soft drinks since 1863.

The establishment of a trucking business in Kilmore in the early 1950s has seen that enterprise grow to a national operation, with subsidiaries in most eastern states. It's specialty is liquid cartage and it manufactures its own tankers on-site. Other transport operators cart liquid gas, livestock and general freight. In all, over one hundred semi-trailers call Kilmore home.

Horseracing and equestrian activities have always been an important part of the community. The superb Kilmore track and its modern facilities has some thirty fixtures per year: sixteen trots or harness meetings and fourteen gallops meetings. Trainers have their stable facilities close to the track or the town. Several trainers have training tracks on their own properties. Leisure riding is spearheaded by the pony club, adult riding club and horse hire establishments. In all, over 2000 horses are located in the Kilmore district. The industry is supported by saddleries, feed stores, farriers and a veterinary clinic with specialist horse surgery facilities.

Kilmore's commercial strength is led by its two regional bank branches, a bank agency, full mail centre, a strong law and accounting presence, two pastoral houses and two large licensed supermarkets. It also has a number of strong specialist businesses such as computer shops, picture framer, lighting supplier, seven antique shops and a regional car dealership. These strengths are reinforced with a locally-owned weekly newspaper.

Traditional broad acre grazing still continues on about 70% of the district's land, but this is being eroded by subdivision. However the top market prices achieved by local farmers for their fat lambs, wool, cattle and stud stock shows that Kilmore is a sustainable farming area, soundly based on rain-fed agriculture. Alternative farming enterprises of alpacas, goats, deer, ostrich and emu have been established in the area, as have some grape and olive producers, greenhouse vegetable and flower growers, and a large pine plantation of several thousand acres to the east. The two strong pastoral houses supply farmer's needs and conduct regular district livestock sales and an agricultural consultant provides specialist advice.

Kilmore's preeminence in Victoria's history is shown by its outstanding set of public bluestone buildings: the hospital, gaol, court house, post office, police magistrate's residence and four churches. These are some of the forty listed buildings on the Register of the National Estate. The two Kilmore cemeteries, a General and a Catholic, and one yet to be rediscovered, are also of much interest. Several books, which are still in print, detail the area's rich history.

The Kilmore Tourism office provides literature on Kilmore's points of interest, as well as booklets detailing walks and a scenic drive. The Kilmore Library houses a Regional Studies Collection which is being augmented to enable people to find their ancestors in Kilmore. Besides having most district and family histories, it has CD-ROMs of Victorian births, deaths and marriages, long runs of local newspapers on microfilm, and some local cemetery and council records.

The recently established Kilmore Celtic Studies Centre at the the Kilmore Court House provides resources by way of the Kilmore Celtic Studies Resources Collection for Celtic Studies and plans to augment an ongoing series of workshops and lectures focussing on aspects of Celtic folklore, literature, music, drama and craft.

Two motels, three hotels, a caravan park and several bed and breakfast operators provide overnight stays for those wishing to research their 'roots', undertake Celtic studies, or have a leisurely look around Kilmore.

Kilmore at a Glance

Geography

* Kilmore is located at the geographical centre of Victoria
* The township is surrounded by a diverse range of landscapes and features
* A temperate climate with a reliable 750mm annual rainfall
* Located on the Northern Highway and adjacent to the Hume Freeway
* A 70 minute drive north from Melbourne or 40 minutes from Tullamarine Airport

History

* 300-400 million year old fossil seabeds at Kilmore East, Clonbinane and Wandong
* Aboriginal Pre-history at Mt William Aboriginal Axe Stone Quarry
* Early pastoral settlement with well documented history
* Oldest inland settled town in Victoria
* Notable set of public bluestone buildings from the 1850s-60s
* Two separate cemeteries, and another yet to be discovered

Agriculture

* Good soil, temperate climate and reliable rainfall
* Diversity of animal industries
* Emerging horticultural sector
* Regular local livestock sales
* Close proximity to markets
* Range of agricultural consulting and contracting services
* Annual Agricultural Show


Go to Directories-Agriculture

Automotive

* Four service stations

* Regional car dealership

* RACV service

* Five secondhand car yards

* Two new parts suppliers

* Three tyre specialists

* Panel beaters

* Car wrecker

* Car detailer and retoucher

* Motorbike dealership

* Car, bus, trailer and float hire

* Specialist car and truck service and repairs

Go to Directories - Automotive

Commerce

* Two regional headquarter bank branches
* One strong bank agency
* Post Office and Mail Centre Franchise
* Two strong pastoral houses
* Several resident accountants and solicitors
* Varied range of specialty shops
* Two large locally-owned licensed supermarkets
* Locally owned and operated newspaper

Community Groups

* There is a large number of church, service, social, sporting and youth organisations
established in the community

Go to - Kilmore: There's Something in it for You

Education

* Marist Brothers co-educational College with boarding facilities
* International School with Boarding facilities teaching International Baccalaureate certificate
* Catholic Parish Primary School
* State Primary School
* State rural Primary School at Willowmavin
* Community House for pre-school
* Council Kindergarten facility
* Two private day-care centres offering educational programs
* TAFE Open Learning Centre
* Shire headquarters library open seven days a week with internet connection

Employment Base

* Diverse range of employment with strengths lying in agriculture, automotive, commerce,
education, equestrian, health, hospitality, leisure, service industries and transport

Equestrian

* Extensive horseracing and trotting facilities
* Some 35 race meetings held annually
* Strong horse trainer presence
* Veterinary medicine specialty presence
* Specialist farrier presence
* Horse cartage service
* Feed store
* Saddlery supplies and manufacture
* Horseshoe and equipment manufacture
* Stud breeding sector

Health

* 30-bed acute nursing hospital with modern operating suite and outpatient facility
* 30-bed aged care nursing home
* 30-bed aged hostel
* 10 unit senior citizens residential complex
* Seven day chemist
* 6 resident doctors

* Year-round indoor heated swimming pool and gymnasium
* Resident dentist with local surgery
* Resident optometrist with local and visiting practice
* Sport medicine practitioners
* Visiting consulting medical specialists
* Three unit Ambulance Station
* Range of consulting psychologists, naturopaths, masseurs, etc.
Go to Directories-Health

Industries

* Catering
* Horseshoe and equipment manufacture
* Pottery manufacture
* Quarries and readymix concrete
* Saddlery and equipment manufacture
* Transport fabrication and operation

Major Events

* Kilmore Turf Club Cup
* Kilmore Trotting Club Cup
* Kilmore Agricultural Show
* Kilmore Celtic Festival
* Kilmore Antiques Fair

Meeting and Convention Facilities

* Assumption College, holiday residential
* Kilmore Civic Centre
* Kilmore Golf Club
* Kilmore Memorial Hall
* Kilmore Racecourse
* Old Town Hall

Sport and Recreation

* Bowling green
* 18-hole golf course with grass greens
* Leisure centre with indoor year-round heated swimming pool
* Football and cricket grounds
* Netball courts
* Tennis courts

Tourism

* Information Centre open seven days
* Day round trips from Melbourne
* Diverse rural scenery within an easy hour’s drive from Melbourne
* Unique built heritage of Kilmore
* Kilmore Court House Museum
* Hume and Hovell Monument and lookout with 360 degree view
* Tourism routes
* Range of accommodation including bed and breakfasts
* Tramways Museum at Bylands and tram in Hudson Park
* Several antique and bric-a-brac stores open all weekend
* Genealogical materials in Regional Studies Collection at Kilmore Library
* Tourism publications, including Walks in Kilmore and A Drive Around Rutledge’s Survey
* Wineries and a range of food available.
Go to Directories-Tourism

Transport Industry

* Range of transport haulage services - liquid and gas
* General and livestock carriers
* Bus service to and from Melbourne each day
* Regular train services from Kilmore East
* Bus and mini-bus charter and hire
* Local taxi service
Go to Directories - Trucking Kilmore


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