Mount Macedon was formerly named Mount Wentworth by explorer Hamilton Hume. The first party to cross the Hume, now known as the Murray River were Gardiner, Hawden and Hepburn. The second group to cross into Victoria were Charles Ebden and his Superintenent, Charles Bonney. Ebden drove his sheep and horses from Nagambie to Carlsruhe in 1837, decided to settle there and built a hut on the eastern side of the Campaspe River. Carlsruhe later became the home of the 28th Foot Regiment under Captain Smythe.

The Wedge Brothers built two huts below where the original Kyneton Hospital in Simpson Street. The first 'permanent' building in Kyneton was erected in 1843.

In March 1852 the first census of the population was 300 and by December it had reached 2000. Today the town population is approximately 5000.

Other people to visit this area were Mollison, Eyre, Yaldwin, Dryden, Darlington and Piper. They were pioneers of the Kyneton district. The first leases of land in the Kyneton area were issued to Jeffrey Brothers, Wedge Brothers, Piper, Mollison, Pohlman, Baynton, Dryden, Peters and Clowes. Many of the streets in Kyneton are named after them.

By 1850 Kyneton consisted of a number of slab huts and tents. The population included labourers and stockmen and their wives and families employed on the adjacent runs. The town of Kyneton was gazetted on 4th January 1850 and town allotments were included in the Crown Land Sales held on 16th May and the 4th & 5th September 1850. Sites for the Anglican, Catholic and Methodist Churches were also reserved the same year.

The origin of the name "Kyneton" is interesting. On a visit to the district LaTrobe, Superintendent of the Port Phillip District, was a guest at Jeffrey's Station. At a meeting with the settlers of the area LaTrobe gave Mrs Jeffreys the privilege of naming the town. She suggested the name of her native town in Warwickshire, 'Kineton'. This name was modified to Kyneton, meaning the town at the back of the wood.

Kyneton was first surveyed in 1849. In 1851 a new era was ushered in by the official announcement of the discovery of gold. The town of Kyneton was to play a leading role in the golden drama. The abundance of climate, richness of the soil and abundance of good quality water made Kyneton an excellent stopping place for diggers travelling to the goldfields at Jim Crow, Campbells Creek, Mclvor, Castlemaine and Sandhurst Town (Bendigo).There were no buggies, railways or motor vehicles in those days. There were three means of transport .... horse, bullock and foot. The gold escort from Bendigo had its stabling and changing place at the comer of Ebden and Simpson Streets. The road through Kyneton was an undrained mass of mud in winter and a dust bowl in summer. So out of all this grew the township of Kyneton with its many business houses erected along the old track, now High Street, and Piper Street, at the bottom of which was the best crossing place on the Campaspe River.

The Kyneton Agricultural Society was formed on October 29th 1856. It is still functioning today thanks to the foresight of the early settlers to the area. The original showyards, in Baynton Street, opposite the present Hospital, were used for 30 years and then it was transferred to the Racecourse until 1922 when the area at the corner of Mollison and Beauchamp streets became the home of the Agricultural Society.

Kyneton has another great assett in the abundance of good quality mineral water. In 1890 the Boggy Creek mineral springs were discovered. A local factory was established several years ago and produces bottled mineral water for many outlets.

There have been many Legislative Assembly Parliamentary representatives come from the Kyneton area. Names including Johnson, Hadley, Tucker, McKenna, Young, Rawson, Argyle, Cameron, Lawson, Langslow and Satchell all contributed to the running of the State of Victoria. Kyneton was proclaimed a Municipal District on 30th October 1857. The first election was held on 11 th December 1857.

Due to the volcanic nature of the greater portion ot the original Shire of Kyneton, the district produced an inexhaustable supply of splendid bluestone. The stone was used in the construction of many of the fine buildings in the town as well as several magnificent buildings in Melbourne. The five original Churches in Kyneton were built using the local stone, some of which was quarried on the actual building site. St, Paul's Anglican Church was opened on 30th November 1856. St. Andrew's Uniting Church was built in 1857, St. Mary's Catholic Church in 1855, the original Methodist Church, now the Baptist Church in 1855 and the original Congregational Church, now the Kyneton Arts Centre, in 1853.

The Kyneton Museum was originally built as the Bank of New South Wales inl865. The Museum contains a comprehensive collection of Victorian and vintage farm machinery. The building is constructed in dressed bluestone.

The Kyneton Cemetery is situated in Redesdale Road and has the old monumental section as well as a very pleasant lawn section.

Caroline Chisholm came to Kyneton and lived here for two years to recuperate after many years work assisting female emigrants from England. She also ran a small store opposite the present day Kyneton Secondary College.

Kyneton is situated at an elevation of 514 metres above sea level and is located on the Calder Highway,85 kilometres from Melbourne. The town was by-passed with the new freeway in 1995. In the early days Piper Street was the main street but Wedge Street was intended to be the main street. Kyneton is built on Wedge's Station where the Wedge Brothers squatted in 1839.

The fine Kyneton District Hospital was built in 1855. The Georgian design is masked by the much later cast iron verandah, The hospital is probably Victoria's oldest and provides facilities for quite a wide area around the town. A new hospital is to be erected at the eastern end of town in the near future.

The Kyneton Mechanics Institute was erected in 1854 and is one of the oldest still functioning Mechanics Institutes. The Hall was used for all public and social, political and amusement activities. The building is to be renovated in the near future and will house an enlarged library area as well as other associated alterations.

Kyneton has had many schools over the years and now has two College s, Sacred Heart and Kyneton Secondary Colleges. Many of the students come from outlying areas and are bused to the schools daily.

The Kyneton Botanical Gardens were laid out in the late 1860's and early 1870's, and many species were provided by Baron von Mueller. He made available a large number of trees and shrubs, most of which are still surviving. Baron von Mueller also laid out the Botanic Gardens in Melbourne, Bendigo, Castlemaine and Malmsbury. The bluestone pillars to the entry gates were made by local W.T. Jones Monumental Masons. The gates were designed by artlst Tom Levick and made by locals George Fowler and a Mr Wherrett. The Gates were a donation to the people of Kyneton by the Elliott family who had a licenced grocery in High Street. The Elliott family owns Elliott Midlands Newspapers, which publishes the present day Tuesday "Midland Express" and Friday's "Guardian". At the rear of the gardens is the Caravan Park.

Gas lighting was installed in several buildings in 1862. The gas was produced from coal and gum leaves.

Cobb & Co. Coaches changed three times a day in Kyneton in 1862.

The Steam Mill in Piper Street was built in 1862 and was worked until 1956.

Kyneton boasts a very active Horticultural Society and holds a variety of shows each year. The Kyneton Daffodil and Arts Festival was formed in 1972 and each year, in September, there are a wide variety of activities held during the Festival. Many hundreds of daffodils have been planted by volunteers and grace the entries to the town.

The Kyneton Fire Brigade was formed in 1866. A modern Fire Station was built in Ebden Street in 2000 behind the original Station.

The first record of horse racing held in Kyneton was in 1856. The original course was along High Street and the straight up Mollison Street. Today the racecourse is rated as one of the most picturesque in Victoria.

With the opening of the railway line to Kyneton on 24th April 1862 further development of the area was made possible. Kyneton once boasted at least thirty hotels, today there are five. The Royal George Hotel built in 1852 has the longest continuous licence in Kyneton.

Within a short drive from Kyneton there are several picturesque areas including Kyneton Golf Club, Black Hill Reserve, Turpins Fall, Mitchell Falls, Trentham Falls and Hanging Rock. The Upper Coliban, Lauriston and Malmsbury Reservoirs are also worth a visit, including the railway viaduct at Malmsbury. The viaduct is 152 metres long and has five spans each of 18 metres.
   © Copyright Peter W. Wilkins