Early Days
Parks & Gardens

Annual Events
Local Attractions
Sheltered at the foot of picturesque Mount Shadwell
Mortlake is located in the heart of the vast pastoral area of the Western District of Victoria. This vibrant rural township's heritage is still evident today, featuring numerous historic bluestone buildings which date from the mid 19th century, many of which are classified by the National Trust. Probably the largest collection of these buildings is located in Mortlake's Shaw St. Bluestone Precinct, the second most prominent in the South West region. 
Complementing this is the area's rare geological formations and precious wildlife.
When visitors first come to Mortlake they are greeted by a sign claiming Mortlake as the Olivine capital of Australia. Olivine is a mineral formed in the area more than a million years ago deep under the earth's crust, and is today used by the local Shire as a road surfacing material. Large pieces of the rock are called bombs and are usually egg shaped with a rough, pitted surface similar to the outer casing of agate. When cut open the sparkling green Olivine crystals are found. Mortlake is known to have the largest deposits of Olivine (pronounced oliv-een) in Australia. Olivine is a gem made up of sparkling green crystals which can be found in the Mount Shadwell Quarry and is used in construction or made into some very attractive jewelry. 
The area also includes some very unique and diverse wildlife, ranging from the Eastern Barred Bandicoot colony near Hexham through to the Peregrine Falcons at The Peak near Dundonnell. Other birdlife includes various species of Parrots, waterfowl, Kingfishers and Honeyeaters, not to mention the Brolgas! 
The area also features the intriguing Striped Legless Lizard, which is, unfortunately, an endangered species due to the reduction of its natural habitat of dense tussocks of Kangaroo Grass or Spear Grass. On top of this are the Koalas, Kangaroos, Emus, Platypus, Wallabies and other native animals. 
Mortlake is also within easy reach of the Great Ocean Road, the Grampians
(Gariwerd) and the Goldfields. This makes a quick road trip an easy and worth while
way to spend a day. There are many places to stay in the area and all of them are
comfortable havens from the troubles of the weary traveller. And with its natural
and historical attractions no one can deny that Mortlake is well worth a visit. .

Mortlakes Majestic Old Buildings

Listed below are the many fantastic bluestone buildings that can be found  in the township of Mortlake, though there are so many others to be found in the surrounding area. For a better guide to their location contact the Mortlake Visitor Information Centre at 108 Dunlop Street, Mortlake or phone 03 5599 2899.

Old Temperance Hall
Opened in 1873.
The Old Museum
Erected at a cost of 400 pounds. Donated and opened by Thomas Shaw in 1893.
The Old Post Office
This building was opened in 1864 and served as the Mortlake Post Office until 1912.
Mortlake Court House
This bluestone building was constructed in 1864, It has a "D" classification by the National Trust.
Abbeyfield House
Built in 1877 at a cost of 1057 pounds.
St. Andrews Uniting Church
Opened in 1862.
St. James Anglican Church
Built in 1862, opened in 1865.
St. Stephen's Church
Built in 1867.
First Church & Old Primary School
Founded in 1857 by the Presbyterian Church and was used as both Church and School until 1861.
Old Flour Mill
This wind powered flour mill was established in 1856. The impressive chimney was added in 1861.
Mill Cottages
These historic cottages date back to the 1860's.
Old Manse
Commenced in 1883 and finished in 1884.
Willow Cottage
The Attractive bluestone cottage was built in the 1870's.
Penrose House
This fine example of basalt masonry  was built in 1867 and has a "c" classification for it's simplicity of design.
The Stables
The double-storey bluestone stables were used by early travellers and Mount Shadwell Hotel patrons to stow their horses in while they enjoyed the Hotels hospitality. Today the stables have been transformed into a quality motel. Adjoining it is the popular hotel which was established in 1842 and licensed in 1855.

Celtic House
While in Mortlake, stop for a snack in the friendly atmosphere in one of the oldest buildings in the region Celtic House. After being a derelict building for 20 years, Celtic House has been refurbished and now holds two tea rooms and a gift area and boasts the title of "the most unique coffee shop in the country". Using an Irish theme and decorated with African ornaments it is a must to visit while in the Olivine capital.
Sporting Facilities
The Mortlake area is bristling with facilities that cater for those with the sporting urge, be it squash at the Activity Centre, football, cricket and tennis at DC Farran Oval, swimming at the Mortlake Swimming Baths, fishing be it at Tea Tree Lake or the Hopkins river, golfing at the Mortlake or Framlingham Golf Courses, horse racing at the Mortlake Racecourse, skateboarding, motorcycling, basketball, netball or athletics.
Olivine Fossicking
Mount Shadwell, which is located 1.5 km to the north of the town, is one of the many scoria volcanoes found in the southwest. It is made up of a cluster of up to four eruption points that have formed cones of scoria that overlap, all of which are thoght to have formed within the last million years.

The scoria comes from beneath the earths crust and is ejected as particles ranging in size from ash (up to 4mm), lapilli (4 to 32mm) and finally blocks or bombs (ranging from 32mm upwards). The bombs are often egg shaped due to their solidifying from a liquid or semi liquid form as they plummet through the air.

A few of these bombs when broken are full of a sparkling green crystal which is known as olivine. At Mount Shadwell these crystals also contain two types of pyroxene crystals. The quarry supplies the scoria and olivine as budget material for road maintenance and construction. Olivine can also be made into fine jewelry. 
For a chance to go olivine fossicking please contact the Mortlake Visitor Information Centre on 03 5599 2899.

Koonendah Private Museum
The best way to take a trip into the past, apart from building a time machine, is to come and visit the Koonendah Private Museum, which is located on the Noorat Rd, The Sisters. The museum was originally The Sisters Presbyterian Church, which was purchased in the late 1980's with the intent of housing a collection of old family furniture, items and memorabilia.

The Museum was moved in 1990 to its present site in a pleasant garden setting and a variety of fascinating items have since been gathered, ranging from musical instruments to military items. Visits can be organised by phoning Tom & Bev on 03 5592 6240. Not to be missed!

Back To Top
© The Gateway BBS Camperdown Authors:Rob Stewart-Murray,Anton Art & John Hamilton