50 towns in 50 days: The leisurely life in Linton

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THE picturesque town of Linton is another built on the success of the gold rush.

Nestled along the Glenelg Highway, 35km from Ballarat, is a community which peaked at almost 2000 people in the mid 1800s.

While only 600 people now call Linton home, the town remains self-sufficient and an attractive place to live with local businesses, sporting clubs and recreation facilities aplenty.

One long-term Linton resident is mother-of-three Andrea Smith, who was raised in the town and has recently returned with her young family.

"We moved back out in about 1985 when I was just a wee-little one and from there I've moved back here with my children because I think it's a great place for them to grow up," Smith said.

"You get the countryside and it's not far from Ballarat and surrounds."

Ms Smith said it was the lifestyle that drew her back to the town about five years ago.

"It's the fact that you can have a couple of animals and children can be playing outside, but you are also close enough so that you can go into the city," she said.

"I've got family still here as well so if I need a baby-sitter mum and dad are just down the road."

Ms Smith is school council president of the Linton Primary School, which educates more than 20 students from the region.

The basics

Municipality: Golden Plains

Population: 591

First settled: About 1840

Main industries: Clay mining, farming

Claim to fame: Carngham-Linton has won a staggering 17 senior football flags in the Western Plains and Lexton Plains competitions in just over 40 years. The two towns merged clubs in 1969.

Five fast facts:

1. The town's largest ever official population was 1,969 people, recorded in 1861.

2. The Post Office opened on November 5 in 1857 as Linton's and was renamed Linton around 1860.

3. Gold was discovered on the northern portion of the Emu Hill pastoral run in 1855, quickly attracting hundreds of men and women of many different nationalities to the area. This became known as 'Linton's Diggings', which then became 'Old Linton's' when a new township was built on Surface Hill in 1860. This was the beginning of the town of Linton.

4. In December 1998, while battling a bushfire near Linton, five firefighters were killed when they became trapped in a tanker. An inquest into their deaths led to sweeping changes in CFA safety procedures and equipment.

5. The Linton Cricket Club is this year celebrating its 150th anniversary.

Five things to do:

1. Visit the Linton War Memorial, which was erected on Anzac Day in 2003.

2. Check out the Mortchup Reservoir, located on the Rail Trail on the Ballarat side of Linton.

3. Located about 2kms north of the town, a plaque unveiled in 1991 commemorates the site of the original gold diggings in the surrounding hills and gullies.

4. Nearby is the cemetery, which has a significant number of Chinese graves in its northern section. In 2007, the Linton and District Historical Society unveiled a memorial to the Chinese buried there who came to Linton in search of gold.

5. The Rail Trail and bush tracks are popular horse riding areas.

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