Pumpkin is my dog and loving companion. Like all dogs, Pumpkin has many favourite things. The top of the list is going for walks. Or swimming. Or catching the ball. Or riding in the car with the windows open. Or rolling in fresh kangaroo poo. Or his favourite people. Meeting new favourite people. Or all of those things combined.
We live in the village of Chewton in central Victoria, 116 kilometres north west of Melbourne, with a population of about 1300. We have a town hall, a pub, a post office, a general store a soccer oval, a church, a swimming pool and a war memorial.
This site chronicles some walks we take, and may include some of Pumpkin’s other favourite things and some of mine as well.
Prior to European settlement, the Chewton area was inhabited by the Dja Dja Wurrung Aboriginal people, part of the Kulin nation. The first European in the area was the explorer Major Thomas Mitchell on his way to discovering what he termed “Australia Felix” in 1836-37. Not long after, a sheep station was established by William Campbell, which incorporated the current townsite.
Chewton is famous for the gold rush which began with the discovery of gold by shepherds in 1851, a couple of hundred metres from my house. Over 30,000 diggers arrived at Chewton within three months, soon followed by prospectors from around the world. The town was surveyed in 1854 with land lots being sold the following year.
In December 1851, the diggers held the Monster Meeting where they protested at the doubling of the gold licence fee, making it the birth of democracy in Australia, pre-dating the Eureka Stockade of 1854. Every year on December 15, residents of Chewton come together on the site of The Monster Meeting to commemorate that meeting. The site has recently been purchased by Parks Victoria to be kept as a significant historical site in perpetuity.
Many of Chewton’s original buildings are still standing, some still in use: The Red Hill Hotel, constructed in 1854 is still operating today; St John’s Church (1850s) holds weekly services as well as monthly concerts.
Several other historical buildings and sites, including the Chewton Town Hall (1858) and the Post office (1879) are still in use and owned by the Chewton Domain Society, a community group established to manage the properties. The society also produces a monthly community newsletter, The Chewton Chat, to which I am a regular contributor.
– Beverley Bloxham, December 2017.