Just off the Hume Freeway about three hours north of Melbourne is the perfectly preserved historic village of Chiltern.
This fascinating town of Gold Era streetscapes with their shady wooden verandahs and many heritage-listed buildings also boasts three fascinating buildings of national significance, the National Trust–owned Dow's Pharmacy Museum, The Federal Standard Printing Works and Lake View House. Visit the Chiltern Visitor Information Centre for further details.
Chiltern CourthouseThe Courthouse was erected in 1865 at a cost of £1641. A warrant signed by C G Darvall on 5th April 1878 for the apprehension of Dan Kelly charging him with Horse Stealing at Myrrhee during August 1877 was issued to Senior Constable James Lynch. The Kellys had been suspected of the theft and after eight months, it was decided the horses resembled some of those taken in the Whitty Larceny‚ and that the boys resembled Dan Kelly and Jack Lloyd. After facing the bench at Chiltern Jack Lloyd was discharged as his accusers were unable to identify him. Dan Kelly was later arrested but never stood trial.
Chiltern is surrounded by the Chiltern-Mt Pilot National Park, one the last great Ironbark forests of south eastern Australia.
Old Chiltern Police Station
This building was erected in 1875 replacing an earlier portable structure that was transported from the Indigo diggings in 1859. The warrant for the arrest of Dan Kelly for suspected horse stealing at Myrhee in August 1877 was issued here on 5th April 1878. The old police quarters are now a private residence.
Built in 1866 as a Town Hall, Council Chambers and Athenaeum Library. Today the building houses a museum capturing the history of the gold rush, literary greats from the area and written information regarding the Kelly family.
The Chiltern Athenaeum Museum is also a must for visitors to the town. Group tours are available of this fascinating and historic place with its extensive collections of memorabilia relating to Sir John (Black Jack) McEwen, whose father operated the local pharmacy from 1891 to 1907, First World War photographs, artworks by Alfred Eustace including several gum leaf paintings and photographic and outdoor displays of Chiltern’s mining and agricultural past. Guided town tours for groups can also be booked through the Athenaeum.
The Chiltern Athenaeum is open to the public 10.00 am - 4.00 pm daily. Phone Rex Fuge on 03 5726 1280
Chiltern Post Office
Architect: H A Williams
Additions: Front Projection c1900
Extension to Residence: 1919
Additional Alterations 1930
The discovery of gold at Chiltern early in 1859 resulted in the sudden influx of thousands of prospectors seeking the precious metal. A small non-official Post Office in Conness Street was soon over-whelmed by the volume of mail that began to pass through it and, in 1862, plans were prepared for an official two-story brick building.
The new Post Office, completed in 1863, was the first of a group of public buildings erected on land set aside in Main Street in 1851 as a Public Buildings Reserve. The building was constructed to a Public Works design, possibly drawn by architect H A Williams, as he designed other early Government buildings in Chiltern with identical mouldings.
This public reserve was located outside the hub of commercial activity in Conness Street, on land originally used for the police camp after the initial gold rush settlement of 1859. The Post Office formed the centre of a group of Government buildings constructed in the 1860’s and 1870’s.
The Standish Lodge in Chiltern (Masonic Lodge) was named after Frederick Charles Standish (1824-1883), Chief Commissioner of Police during the Kelly Outbreak.
Dow’s Pharmacy Museum
Dating from 1859, the business remained open until 1968 when owners Hilda and Roy Dow closed the doors leaving behind an amazingly intact pharmacy featuring original shop fittings, equipment and stock.
The Federal Standard Printing Works
Established in 1859 and one of the few substantially intact provincial newspaper printers remaining from the gold mining era including hot lead type machines in perfect working order.
Lake View House
Once the childhood home of the great Australian author, Henry Handel Richardson whose many bestsellers include The Fortunes of Richard Mahoney and The Getting of Wisdom. This charming red brick home overlooking Lake Anderson is furnished in period style and features a small collection of Richardson memorabilia.
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Visit the Chiltern Visitor Information Centre for further information