Lancefield has a rich and unique history being one of Australia’s significant sites for discovering the bones of giant megafauna who lived in the area up to 80,000 years ago.
The aboriginal Mount William Quarry for the manufacture of stone axes is also a unique and significant historical location.
The town first started 1 km north of the current township where a ford crossed the creek.
“By 1859, a hotel and store were opened near the ford. The hotel was named the Lancefield, after the Lancefield pastoral run which had been taken up in 1838.”
A hotel was opened in modern Lancefield in 1862, a school in 1865, Anglican Church 1868, Presbyterian Church 1876 and the mechanics’ institute 1877. The Catholic school began in 1885.
In 1881 the railway line from Clarkefield was extended to Lancefield and was in operation till 1956. In 1892 a railway line to Kilmore was opened, but was unsuccessful and closed in 1903.
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The Lancefield district had a reputation for some of the best fertile soils in Victoria. Prior to being cut up into small blocks during the early 1970s the region produced high yields per acre of potatoes, fat lambs, fat cattle, wheat and other cereal crops.
The Burke and Wills expedition camped at Lancefield on their journey to cross Australia from Melbourne to the Gulf of Carpentaria. They arrived here on 23 August 1860 and made their fourth camp out of Melbourne. A marker at the site of the original town at Mustey’s Bridge on Deep Creek commemorates the site of their camp. The route of their departure northwards from the town is commemorated by the road to Mia Mia, which was named ‘Burke and Wills Track’ in their honour.
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