It’s difficult to imagine Kilmore anything else than what we know today. Yet in the mid-19th century the main street was merely dirt, according to Barbara Wilson, secretary of Kilmore Historical Society. “Legend has it that a man and his horse became stuck in the mud after torrential rain,” she says. “They were unable to escape, and sunk. Some people say they are still buried under the main street today.”
It’s a goosebump-inducing tale. On a lighter note, committee member Peter Hosking, shares that there were 34 pubs in town in the early days, for a population of just 1,000. Sydney Road was a busy thoroughfare for ‘traffic’ between Melbourne, Sydney and the gold fields and passers-by formed the bulk of the trade.
The committee members of the Kilmore Historical Society are passionate about sharing their knowledge. Jo Corboy says that the most powerful way of connecting with the local community is by telling stories. Francis Payne nods. “History is the memory of a community, we are defined by it. And memories are our soul,” he says.
The society, which was established in 1964, undertakes a variety of activities. Their annual fundraiser is Open Home, an event for members of the public to view private homes and buildings.
There were 34 pubs in town in the early days, for a population of just 1,000.
Barbara door knocks in the months leading up to Open House. “Every year more and more people are getting involved,” she says. “In 2017, we attracted over 80 visitors, despite some shocking weather.”
For anyone who’d like to learn more or get involved, the society have a website, Facebook page and send out a quarterly newsletter. Military enthusiasts can read a weekly article on local WW1 soldiers in the North Central Review, and people are invited to drop in to the Court House every Tuesday between 10am and 3pm.
“We want to stay engaged with the public, president Rose King says. “If the stories are out there, then no one will forget.”
Interviewees: Jo Corboy, Peter Hosking, Francis Payne, Liz Dillon-Hensby, Barbara Wilson, Rose King.