A tranquil rural township with a solid community base, Marong is just 13km from Bendigo providing its residents with both country living and city convenience.
Sitting on the juncture of the Calder Highway and the Calder Alternative Highway, the name Marong, it is assumed, originated from the indigenous term for a Murray or native Pine tree. Despite its proximity to the popular goldfield’s sites within the region, Marong was not a gold town. Gold discoveries did occur from the early 1850s, with the most famous being at Wilson’s Reef in 1867 – about 4km east of the centre of town – however, the area’s primary industry was farming, specifically growing cereal, and gold washing at Bullock’s Creek. Significant kaolin clay beds were uncovered at Wilson’s Hill and this was mined and sent to Melbourne for pottery manufacturing for many years.
By the early 1900s, Marong had established a primary school (1859), post office (1860), various churches including Presbyterian (1864), Anglican (1876) and Catholic (1876) and a railway station (1876) on the line from Bendigo to Inglewood. Around 60 hectares of vineyards were also growing well in the region, along with farmland cultivating wheat, oats and hay crops. Where other small towns declined, Marong’s position on the trainline served it well and in 1908 the Shire offices moved from Lockwood to Marong, with the Marong Shire now covering a number of towns including Bridgewater on Loddon, Raywood, Maiden Gully and Newbridge.
Today, along with the churches, post office and school, there is a kindergarten; swimming pool; bowls, football, netball and golf clubs; a large recreation reserve; a hotel – The Marong Family Hotel; a store; and popular caravan park. New subdivisions bordering the golf club and walking distance into the centre of the town were established in the early 2010s, ensuring the young families took the opportunity to build modern homes in a country community, less than 20 minutes from Bendigo’s CBD.
Offering city amenities just down the road, Marong is serving as the best of both worlds – a thriving and growing community with a solid family base, and a country-feel to the main street and surrounds, with easy access to all Bendigo has to provide.
By Amy Doak