WHEN Jo Stephens travelled through Yendon on the Geelong-Ballarat Railway as a young girl, each time admiring the town’s hawthorn hedges, she never imagined living there.
Now she cannot imagine living anywhere else.
Yendon was a bustling township long before Ms Stephens ever travelled through, and was particularly important in the gold rush.
The railway station opened the town up where industry, such as the Tri Saw Mill, could send supplies to Ballarat or Geelong. Then road freight really started its stranglehold.
Yendon Railway Station was closed in the 1970s, the building was dismantled and its beautiful bluestone is now found in retaining walls at the University of Ballarat.
Yendon became a quaint commuter village complete with school, post office and general store.
Ms Stephens says they “don’t have anything much” any more.
But a dedicated residents’ group, including Ms Stephens, keep the town’s recreation and reserve committee, fire brigade and auxiliary, Red Cross, historical society and Landcare group alive.
Little by little, they are marking the town’s historical sites, replanting the Avenue of Honour and modernising the playground to keep Yendon’s community spirit alive.
Most residents now are young families and retirees enjoying the rural lifestyle not far from Ballarat.
“It’s still really an undiscovered little area,” Ms Stephens said.
“We have a turnover of people – once children start to grow up, families usually move into Ballarat, but while they are here, they love it.
“I love the space, I love the country and the bush south of us can’t be built over because it’s a catchment area.
“We’re higher altitude than Ballarat, so it’s a bit colder, but it’s all about lifestyle.”
Each Christmas, everyone in the town gathers to celebrate and socialise together at the recreation reserve and really embrace their sense of community.