Located approximately 30 kilometres North West of Geelong, 50 kilometres South East of Ballarat and 100 kilometres South West of the Capital City of Victoria, Melbourne, Maude is a community-focused rural township of less than 400 residents. The area is one of great natural beauty, and the gracious Bunjil's Lookout plays host to a spectacular view over-looking the sweeping plains of the Moorabool Valley. The original custodians of the land, the Wathaurung people, are very much respected in the region with the indigenous cultural story of the Bunjil Eagle inspiring the design of the lookout.
The township of Maude was surveyed for settlement in 1856, after the discovery of gold in Ballarat in 1851 and later in Steiglitz in 1853. The track known as the Melbourne Road ran directly through the middle of Maude and was heavily frequented by gold prospectors heading to the Sutherlands Creek. The creek, named after Robert Sutherland who camped in the area after landing from Van Dieman's Land in 1836, was the site of alluvial gold discovery in Steiglitz.
The first public house in the area was The Plough Hotel on Steiglitz Road in Maude, which was opened by Thomas Robinson in 1868. Fredrick William Chapman received the first hotel licence for the Maude Hotel in 1872, and the first wine licence was also granted in 1872 to Kilian Schefferle. The region now boasts several vineyards, with winemakers producing award-winning and world-class wines from the nutrient rich soil and temperate climate.
The Maude School
The first school established in Maude was erected in 1857, near the site of the later established Plough Hotel on Steiglitz Road. This school was privately funded by the Church of England, but closed down in 1874 to be replaced by a public State school with an enrolment of 59 children, and an average attendance of 46 children in its first year. By the 1950's there were only 7 children on the attendance roll, however the community rallied to keep the school opened and by the school's centenary in 1974, enrolments had increased to 22 children. The school was rebuilt in 1968 making way for newer, more modern classroom equipment, also facilitated by a mother's group, who collectively raised money to purchase furnishings, enhancing the school's appeal and functionality. Click on the document below to read a comprehensive history of the Maude School and local area, complied as part of the school's centenary celebrations.
With an active community focused on improving the region for future generations and a desire to preserve its history, Maude is a thriving township with a supportive, can-do mentality. Activities in the area include wine tasting and vineyard explorations, the Maude Tennis Courts and Clubrooms where bookings can be made to use the courts or hire the hall, the Maude Recreational Reserve which includes BBQ facilities and toilets and the Maude Viewing Platform completed in early 2015 to take in the stunning views of the surrounding area.