Lancefield is a small country town with a population of approximately 2500 people. Its main street is wide and divided by a central lawn and treed plantation. The town’s hotel, restaurants and convenience stores are located along the main street as are some historically significant buildings. The beauty of the town is presented pictorially by local photographer Kyle McKay on the website www.lancefield.org.au.
The area around Lancefield is renowned as a producer of quality “cool climate” wines with around 30 wineries vying for your attention. Varieties such as Chardonnay, Riesling, Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir as well as Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon from some of the warmer sites demonstrate a diverse range of styles, but have in common an elegance and purity of flavour that only cool climate grapes can produce. Don’t miss some exceptional sparkling wines made in the traditional Methode Champenois (Champagne).
In recent years Lancefield has also become well known for it’s Farmers Market which is held in the central plantation strip of town between 8.00am and 1.00pm on the fourth Saturday of the month. Most of the available produce is freshly harvested or produced in the vicinity of Lancefield and is recognized for its premium quality.
Another highlight of the town is Lancefield Park, which features a host of mature and exotic trees and shrubs. As in many Australian country towns, sport plays a prominent role. Popular sports which have their bases in the park, include Cricket, Tennis, Football, Horse Riding (including an active Pony Club), Bowls and a Skate Park.
The Lancefield Agricultural Show is also held in the park in October each year. A country event not to be missed, it includes livestock competitions, a vintage tractor pull, wine tastings and a high jump competition for dogs, among its many attractions.
More things to see and do
Located at 72 Main Street, the town’s architectural highlight is the Old Macedonia House which was built in 1889 as a deluxe three-storey, 55-room hotel to cater for Melbournian visitors. After being a hotel it became a boarding house, Army offices, a clothing factory, a private residence, the Antique Centre of Victoria and now Macedonia at Lancefield, tel: (03) 5429 1666.
There are three floors of furniture, decorative arts, clocks, books, pianos, tools, paintings, jewellery and other items from the Georgian, Victorian and Edwardian eras. There is a cafe which extends out onto the second-floor balcony where you can purchase anything from a Devonshire tea to a full meal. It is recorded by the Victorian Heritage Database.
Located at 55 Main Road in the old Lancefield Courthouse, and open from 10.00 am – 2.00 pm Monday, Wednesday and Friday, the local history museum has extensive archives dealing with the Shires of Lancefield, Springfield and Romsey, tel: Robyn 0418 172 659.
The Megafauna Swamp, which is located on the south-western edge of town (adjacent to Lancefield Park Recreation Reserve – access is via Park Lane) is an area of 2000 square metres where, in 1843 the Melbourne engineer, James P. Mayne, discovered the skeletons of about 10,000 animals in a 20 cm thick bed of bones. There is a diverse range of extinct megafauna including Macropus titan (a kangaroo twice the size of today’s largest relative – it was 150 kg and was an ancestor of the Eastern Grey Kangaroo), Diprotodon (a rhinoceros-sized wombat which weighed up to 3 tonnes), Zygomaturus (a kind of hippopotamus which weighed more than 500 kg), a short-faced kangaroo (Sthenurus), Propleopus (a 70 kg rat kangaroo) and Genyornisnewtoni (a giant flightless bird which stood 2 metres tall and weighed more than 200 kg). There was also the tooth marks of Thylacoleo carnifex (the marsupial ‘lion’ which weighed around 100 kg) and 26,000-year-old human artefacts which, together with carbon-dated bones, indicate that people lived with Australia’s megafauna for a period of some 7000 years.
The concentration of bones could indicate either the congregation of animals around a water source in a drought period or the usage of the waterhole as a hunting spot either for the marsupial ‘lion’ or for human beings – there is evidence that Aborigines were in the area when the megafauna was still there – or both. For more information check out http://www.lancefield.org.au/megafauna and https://www.facebook.com/lancefield.megafauna.
Other Attractions in the Area
The Mount William Stone Axe Quarry is a prehistoric Aboriginal site known to the local Wurundjeri Aborigines as Wil-im-ee Moor-ing. It was a greenstone quarry and was an important source of raw material for the manufacture of greenstone ground-edge axes which, evidence has revealed, were traded over a wide area of south-east Australia.
The quarry comprises the remains of hundreds of mining pits and the mounds of waste rock where Aboriginal people obtained greenstone (diabase), and manufactured stone blanks for axe heads. Chipped and ground stone axes (some of them beautifully polished) or hatchets were important Aboriginal tools and the Mount William greenstone was prized and extensively traded. For more information check out http://www.lancefield.org.au/mount-william-quarry. The website has genuinely fascinating contemporary accounts of bartering the stones and the ownership and management of the quarry. There are occasional tours of the quarry which are usually held during the Lancefield Agricultural Show and the Lancefield Megafauna Festival.
The Romsey to Lancefield Cycle Track starts at the Lions Park Reserve in Romsey, covers a total distance of 15.9 km, has an elevation of 151 metres and takes about an hour. The brochure, with map, which can be downloaded and printed at https://www.visitmacedonranges.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Romsey-to-Lancefield-Return.pdf describes the route as “Running parallel to Melbourne – Lancefield Rd on the Federation Trail, this ride mostly travels along a dedicated shared path for cyclists and pedestrians. As you leave Romsey’s main street, the trail becomes a well formed granitic sand surface and the surroundings transform from classic Australian architecture to expanses of rolling farmland. Enjoy a meal in Lancefield or treat yourself post ride with lunch at one of Romsey’s cafés or restaurants.”
Located at 81 Bridies Lane, Edgar’s Mission is a not for profit farm animal sanctuary for rescued farmed animals – lots of pigs, lambs, goats, calves, chickens, cats and rabbits. It has over 350 residents on 153 acres (62 ha). They state their mission as: to make the world a better place for humans and non-humans. At Edgar’s Mission visitors are taken on a guided journey around the property. There is an opportunity to spend time with the residents and to take a walk along the Kindness Trail. Tours operate during the warmer months, bookings are essential. For bookings and more information check out https://www.edgarsmission.org.au