50 towns in 50 days: Booming Haddon is a haven for families

GEORGE and Myrtle Maher moved to Haddon in 1964 and say they would never leave the town.

“We raised our three kids here and they all raised our grandchildren out here in Haddon – it’s a great place to raise a family,” Mr Maher said.

The sheep farmer said when he and his wife moved to Haddon to take over the family farm there were only seven farms in the area.

“Now there are hundreds of houses in Haddon,” he said.

Mrs Maher, who grew up in Ballarat, said she never imagined being a country girl but now can’t imagine living in town.

“Haddon is good because it’s close to the town and close to the shops and it’s a good farm life,” she said.

“I love the healthy air and there is a really nice young community out here now raising their families.”

Golden Plains shire councillor Bill McArthur moved to Haddon in 1981 and now runs the town's general store. 

He agreed with the Mahers that it was the ideal place to raise a family.

"Haddon has centred itself around the lifestyle development where the blocks are larger, typically around five acres,"he said.

"This is an old mining area so in the early 80s it was virtually a ghost town but now it supports a school population of in excess of 200 pupils."

Mr McArthur said the community precinct now boasted a primary school, a recreation centre a kindergarten and a community centre but envisaged there could be even further development in Haddon's future.

"Our biggest downfall at the moment is we lose kids after grade six," he said. 

"Within this precinct we have got plenty of room for a secondary school which we are working on for the future."

The basics

Municipality: Golden Plains Shire Council

Population: 1,370

First settled:1838 as part of an agricultural run

Main industries: Agriculture, forestry and fishing; rental, hiring and real estate services; manufacturing; and construction.

Claim to fame: AFL twin brothers Nathan and Mitch Brown went through Haddon's then Vickick program, while Olympian Erin Carroll also grew up there.

Five fast facts

1. Haddon began as a meeting place of the grazing properties of Bonshaw to the east, Burrumbeet to the north west and Nentingbool to the south west. This area was part of the squatting run of the Learmonth brothers, who built Ercildoune Homestead near Burrumbeet. 

2. In 1859 mining took off with the opening of of Campbell’s diggings, then Sago Hill and Bunker’s Hill. However, European miners largely failed to find gold before Chinese miners arrived. 

3. In  1885 there  was  a  large  gathering  of  miners  assembled  in  Haddon  protesting  against  the  sub-letting of a portion of the Reform mine to the Chinese who were making a profitable living from the mine  when  many  European  miners  were  unemployed.  It  was  resolved  to  oppose  the  influx  of Chinese  onto  the  mining  areas.  On December 30, 1885, the Chinese camp was almost totally destroyed by fire.

4. In 1883 the railway line arrived in Haddon and remained in use until 1977.

5. Electricity arrived in Haddon on October 13, 1962.

Five things to do

1. Ride the Ballarat to Skipton Rail Trail

2. Take a short course at the Haddon and District Community House

3. Rediscover Haddon’s rich goldmining past at the Haddon disused mine

4. Enjoy a BBQ while the kids play at the Haddon Lions Park

5. Visit the Avalon Nursery, Ballarat’s largest nursery.         

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Haddon's George and Myrtle Maher. PICTURE: LACHLAN BENCE

Haddon's George and Myrtle Maher. PICTURE: LACHLAN BENCE


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