Kooroocheang

From Hotels of Ballarat

Kooroocheang is a locality in Victoria.

Background[edit | edit source]

Mount Kooroocheang, a dormant volcano in Victoria, Australia.

Kooroocheang is named for the dominating volcanic hill in the area.

Description[edit | edit source]

Olive Hepburn (10) described Kooroocheang in 1911:

It is a very little place, situated at the bottom of Mount Kooroocheang. There is a school, a church, a post office, and a hotel.[1]

The Age carried this description and history of Kooroocheang in August 1937:

KOOROOCHEANG By J.S.T. A HILL is not seen to advantage from a near distance. One is too near to get an adequate idea of its bulk, its contour and its proportions in comparison with the surrounding country. Its magnificent spread may be quite unrealised by one dwelling a mile or two from its base. He is almost within the picture. So it is with Kooroocheang, also known in the 'forties as Koorootyngh. It must really be observed from many points. Across the Smeaton plains from Clunes it seems to lie pillowed up against the rays of the rising sun, or like a giant's couch without the giant. From Werona its bare broad shoulders heave towards heaven like those of a Titan wrestler, and from Wombat Hill, Daylesford, on the east, its lumbering bulk, bare of trees, rises beyond the forests like a leviathan upon the beach, recalling Hardy's splendid line -

Still in all its chasmal beauty
Bulks old Beeny to the sky.

Yet it is not from any one of these points of view that a lover of the hill can be satisfied. Really, they are all necessary, but no one of them provides a highway to this mansion, for its magnificent portal looks over its small foothill to the south, and a long way to the south, right outside its own district, though an appealing view of it may be obtained at the entrance to Smeaton, from the southern bank of Birch's Creek, where the main road passes over the bluestone bridge. There is a point on the road from Ballarat to Creswick, originally a pastoral run, taken up by the Creswick brothers in 1842, where Spring Hill breaks in all its splendor on the traveller about to descend from the ranges into the old mining town, and it is an arresting picture so, for a similar appreciation of Kooroocheang a similar viewpoint must be found, and one is on the road running over the shoulder of Clark's Hill, north from Bungaree. To halt at the highest point of this road and survey the hills and wooded, ranges from Mount Warrenheip to Mount Beckwith, round to where Kooroocheang looms in the north, helps to make a holiday joyous, and also recalls the pioneers on these highland farms who have passed on this princely heritage to their sons and daughters to-day. "Australians do not think enough of their own country," said a young Irishman, Mr. John Levis, now an officer in India, when forced to return to his native town of Skibbereen, in the south-west of Ireland. Here, in this fertile area, farms were literally won from the bush by fire and axe. "Yes," said an old farmer, "it's a nice farm, but look at me, I'll be dead in two years. If there's a race within ten miles, I can't keep the boys on the place. My wife would often come out and find me asleep beside the horses — and a log fire burning near by." He was bent and warped with hard work, crippled with rheumatism, and those gnarled old hands showed that the days of his warfare were accomplished in doing his bit, in making Australia ready for the homes of millions yet to be.
From many miles around, on approaching Kooroocheang, could once be seen a historic cairn erected by the Government surveyor to mark the highest point in the district. Its reconstruction is eminently desirable. The shortest but steepest climb to the summit is along one of three or four parallel ridges, separated by short, narrow troughs rather than valleys. On the path up this ridge lie some interesting groups of huge volcanic rocks. One of these is in the shape of an arm chair, but with a deep cavern in the hill at its base. At the top of the ridge, to the right, is a beetling cliff of rock fringing the summit of the hill, on which, sloping to the north, are tussocks of horehound aplenty, warm, cosy seats for rabbits on sunny days, as the boys who spend their holidays in the bush, along the creeks, and on the hills do know. Such a group once did, most distinguished of whom is Professor J. McKellar Stewart, of the chair of Logic and Philosophy in the University of Adelaide. Who will gather them together with dog, billy, waddy, lunch and gun, on Kooroocheang again?

As already indicated these landscapes are some of the best in midland Victoria. To the north-west, grassy plains beyond Powlett Hill sweep away towards Maryborough. To the north across rich pastoral country and ranges appear Mount Tarrengower, and Mount Alexander. Stony Rises, suited for sheep, often appear in a filmy blue, and across a belt of woodland an old glen, now Campbelltown, but formerly in the seventies echoing to the softest Scottish melody of "Glengower." On the east is Mount Franklin overtopping the ranges around Daylesford. To the south-east, Mount Maccdon may be dimly discerned. (It was to the pound at Macedon that squatters sent stray ing, cattle in the forties.) To the south lie Mount Warrenheip, and, on the west, Mount Beckwith, both of which have been already mentioned. Seen from Mount Tarrengower at Maldon and taken in a spacious circle, including Mount Greenock and Mount Glasgow, near Talbot, this portion of the State offers a unique panorama of mountain scenery. Kooroocheang itself is one of a smaller circle of hills in this rich and beautiful hill country, each with its own special feature. Most of the hills are now without trees — a deplorable loss — but landscape gardening emulating the enthusiasm of the late Mr. A. J. Redman may one day remedy this defect.

The Other Hills. Opposite to Kooroocheang, and separated from it by a valley through which the Castlemaine-road runs, rises Mount Moorookyle, on the shoulder of which we have laid to rest so many of those who first came into these southern scenes. They are gathered, not to their fathers, for these lie far away, but to their companions. South of Moorookyle is Woodhouse's Hill, commanding the valley of Birch's Creek and the Clunes Weir, where the willows are now trailing their delicate amber. Across the creek stands Michah Colah, or Birch's Hill, with its almost perfect corona, recalling the wealth won from the famous Madam Berry mine at its western base. Next in the charmed circle appears Spring Hill, with its intriguing touches or hints of alpine scenery, especially where the main road descends from the Flying Buck Hotel to Creswick. Motorists are greatly impressed by the beauty of the landscape sloping down from the dome of the extinct volcano. The hostelry was so named by the original owner, Mr. John F. Creati, to indicate his appreciation of the speed of a wonderful horse, which enabled him to build it. Then south-east of Kingston rises Forest Hill, a rich volcanic eminence, where it is good to linger on a day of ripening sunbeams, and, last in the dynastic circle, the Kangaroo Hills with their green young crops contrasting with the brown cholocate fields reserved for potatoes. These hills were evidently the scene of one of the first picnics in the district, if not the very first. Captain Hepburn recording in his diary on 3rd April, 1849: — "Cold, bleak wind from the south-east. Langdon's family with the Sabine, Birches, self and family and some others met on Kangaroo Hill for a pleasure party." They slope down on the southern side to the trench which holds Hepburn Lagoon reflecting on sunny days landscapes that long after
Flash upon that inward eye, Which is the bliss of solitude.

All these hills have seen the wandering blacks in their prehistoric isolation. They have seen the white man come. They have seen the black man and the white man contend together for a brief period. They have seen the black man go. They have seen the pioneers come and go and the Edenic heritage pass on to their children. They stand as monuments of both black and white.[2]

Hotels[edit | edit source]


References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1911 'A VERY LITTLE PLACE.', Weekly Times (Melbourne, Vic. : 1869 - 1954), 1 April, p. 39. , viewed 10 May 2017, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article221775593
  2. 1937 'KOOROOCHEANG', The Age (Melbourne, Vic. : 1854 - 1954), 14 August, p. 9. , viewed 09 May 2017, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article205580201