Heading for Port Fairy we passed through a town called Casterton, in Victoria, Australia, which is 42 kilometres east of the South Australian border.
Casterton is a pretty place with many rolling green hills in winter and one drives into town down the hill.
Prior to white settlement, Aboriginal people of the Konongwootong Gundidj clan lived in the local area. The first white explorers to pass through the area were the expedition led by Major Thomas Mitchell in 1836 who spoke enthusiastically of the landscape's green hills, soft soils and flowery plains, describing it as ideal for farming and settlement, naming it Australia Felix.
The first white settlers in the area were the Henty brothers who had landed in Portland, Victoria in 1834 and who claimed 28,000 hectares between what are now the towns of Casterton and Coleraine. 'Warrock' Station, a sheep farming settlement, was established in 1841, 26 km north of what would be Casterton.
The early history of the region was marred by violent clashes between settlers and Indigneous people, including multiple murders of Aboriginals that took place near Casterton in the late 1830s and early 1840s.
In 1891, a large number of Casterton women signed the Women's Suffrage Petition to be tabled in the Victorian Parliament to grant women the right to vote (which was not allowed until 1908). By the 1890s, increasing soil erosion saw wheat-farming around Casterton begin to decline and it was largely replaced by meat, wool & dairy farming. Casterton's population expanded in the early 20th century, especially in the 1920s with the arrival of large numbers of soldier-settler farmers and during the post-war era in the 1950s.
Casterton lays claim to be the birthplace of the breed of working dog known as the kelpie, a Scottish term meaning 'Water Sprite' and a name given to a black and tan bitch British working collie owned by Scotsman George Patterson, a farmer who lived north of Casterton in the 1870s.
More about Casterton [ here ]
I borrowed this photo of the Kelpie dog from Wikipeadia. A link [ here ] for those wondering about this wonderful sheep and cattle dog.