50 towns in 50 days: A simple life in Dean

Dean's Kayleen Faull. PICTURE: LACHLAN BENCE.

Dean's Kayleen Faull. PICTURE: LACHLAN BENCE.

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DEAN - a simple town with a simple name.

Located in idyllic countryside about 20 kilometres north-west of Ballarat, Dean is home to many of the region’s potato farmers.

It is a quiet town where Bill knows Bob, but on the off chance Bill doesn’t know Bob, he will know Bob’s cousin Brian.

In fact, it is probably likely you will see more tractors out in the field than people in the main street.

For resident of 12 years Kayleen Faull, that is exactly the way she likes it.

Mrs Faull has lived only lived in Dean itself for 12 years, but has always called the district home.

She was born just seven kilometres away in Pootilla and her father played football for neighbouring town Newlyn.

“It’s a great area, you are out of people’s way and they are out of yours,” Mrs Faull said.

“For me it’s a lifestyle thing. It was obvious for me that I was always going to end up living out in the country and I’m happy it ended up being Dean.

“You drive in from Ballarat and you get to Clarkes Hill and you look shoulder to shoulder and the countryside is just amazing.”

Since the local pub closed down a few years ago, the Dean Hall and Mechanics Institute has become the heart and soul of the town.

It hosts a number of events and gives the busy farmers a rare chance to catch up with their neighbours, which they might not see for weeks at a time.

“Everyone knows everyone, but we’re pretty spread out. It’s not like you’re in each others back pockets,” Mrs Faull said.

The basics:

Municipality: Hepburn Shire

Population: 354

First settled: Early 1850s

Main industries: Farming

Claim to fame: Home to the Dean Annual Spud Dinner

Five fast facts:

1. The Dean Post Office was opened on September 2, 1861 but closed more than 100 years later in 1980.

2. The entrance sign to the town was created by skilled blacksmith Justin McCann, whose family has lived in Dean for generations.

3. The Dean Hotel was once famous for its Sunday roasts before it closed down last decade. It is now a residential home.

4. The median household income at Dean is $1400 per week, much higher than the median Ballarat income of less than $1000 per week

5. An old tin shed is one of the most recognisable buildings in the town. An old Dean & District General Merchants shed, it is often used as a backdrop for wedding photos.

Five things to do:

1. The annual Dean Spud Dinner draws in farmers from across the region who vie for the title of the year's biggest potato. With the closure of the town pub in recent years, it is a great night out for the family.

2. The landscape around Dean is home to some of the most underrated scenery in Victoria. It is undoubtedly worth jumping in the car and exploring the lush surrounds.

3. The refurbished Dean Hall and Mechanics Institute is the heart and soul of the town. There are often community meetings held at the building and it is also the home of The Dean and District News, which published 800 copies each quarter.

4. Less than 10 kilometres away, the Tangled Maze is the perfect place for adventure. Located at Springmount, the Tangled Maze is a full-living shrub maze set among a tranquil nursery. In addition to the maze, there is also mini golf to keep the kids entertained.

5. There are a number of quaint fishing spots in the area that remain unknown. Why not rig up your fishing rod and go exploring around the many creeks, dams and catchments in the area? Make sure you have a licence though.


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