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History of Charlton

Charlton is a small and attractive rural town of tree-lined streets, situated on both banks of the Avoca River.

Enormous grain silos denote the main local industry, although the Charlton feedlot is the largest beef lot producer in Victoria. Wool and fat lambs also contribute to the local economy.

Charlton has a population of around 1000 people and is located 245 km north-west of Melbourne via the Calder Highway and 118 m above sea-level.

Prior to white settlement the Jaara Aborigines are thought to have inhabited the land.

The first European settlers were Robert Cay and William Kaye who established the ‘Charlton’ station in 1848, naming it after a town in Greenwich in England. As the Avoca River represented the boundary between two districts, the eastern and western banks were subject to different commissioners of crown lands. For these reasons, the run was technically divided into East Charlton and West Charlton.

Consequently, when a town developed on the eastern side of the river, adjacent a river crossing, it was known as East Charlton.

An inn was erected in 1863 and a bridge was added in 1867, facilitating the spread of the settlement to both sides of the riverbank. Thus the title ‘East Charlton’ became redundant but a name change to ‘Charlton’ was impossible until 1879 when another town named Charlton changed its name to Chute.

In the 1870s the large holdings were broken up and opened to selectors who established grain-growing. Two flour mills were consequently built in the 1870s.

An art show is held each year in October. The golf course, established in the early 20th century, features a clover-leaf design with three arms of six holes radiating out from the centre.

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