Merton…located 150 kms just east of north from Melbourne on the Maroondah Highway, was made famous (again) by the Corrigan family in the classic archetypical Australian drama “The Castle”.
Who could forget their most lyrical chant of: “We’re goin’ to Bonnie Doon…”, and the picture perfect (albeit fleeting) view from their car of the Merton servo flashing past in the background!
Ned Kelly also strutted his stuff here (according to local folklore), raiding the Cobb and Co. Transport system at will, on the Euroa/Mansfield line.
The Merton Pub had a clean-through bullet hole assuredly from Ned’s own pistol, into the front wall of the bar. (So say some locals, this hole exists to this day –technically—even though the pub has now been burned to the ground!)
The Merton Hall was built in 1923 as a mechanics institute, but was renamed Merton Memorial Hall in 1945 after the war. It has had its most recent uplift/makeover finished last year to the great acclaim of all serious hall renovators.
BTW, the hall was a great social magnet, with dances and balls being held till 1979, when the local gendarmes intervened, allegedly due to the mischievous ghost of Ned (or maybe some other type of spirit..nod nod..) causing general mayhem.
Merton has one of the oldest Race clubs in Victoria…continuous racing in Merton since 1865. (Gees, those horses must be tired by now but…!)
Facts: Within the 25 sq km Merton zone there are approx. 300 resident farmers and tree changers (quality not quantity is the vital factor here!)
We acknowledge the original land owners as the Taungurung people.
Festival of Small Halls rolls into Merton on Thursday, 26 March 2020 with critically-acclaimed Scottish ensemble The Paul McKenna Band and emerging Australian singer-songwriter Alana Wilkinson.
Free camping is available at Merton Racecourse.
Tickets $25/ $10 for children 13 and younger / Free for preschoolers on knees
Merton Memorial Hall stands on land traditionally owned by the Taungurung people.
Tickets available online here
Doors Open at 6.30pm for a 7pm start
Food and drinks available from 5.30pm