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Noorat, The Birthplace of Allan Marshall

Home > Melbourne > Free | Outdoor | Walks
by Neil Follett (subscribe)
I'm a retired photographer living in Lilydale mainly researching and writing on Australian aviation history. Now writing more on general subjects.
Published December 13th 2020
You can literally walk in his footsteps
Noorat is a small hamlet on the Terang to Mortlake Road, 211 kms west of Melbourne. The 2016 census recorded 333 residents.

Noorat sign
Our location.

It is also known as The Alan Marshall Precinct. Alan Marshall was an Australian author who was born in 1902 at Noorat in the dwelling behind the Beehive Store, which still stands today.

beehive store
The Beehive Store.

Alan Marshall plaque.
The plaque at the side of the Beehive Store.

His most famous book was I Can Jump Puddles, published in 1955. It is an autobiography about his early days in Noorat.

I can jump puddles
The cover of the first edition of I Can Jump Puddles.

Alan Marshall
Alan Marshall.

He contracted polio at the age of six, which worsened as he grew older. A brief history of his life is told on a plaque mounted upon a large boulder on the medium strip opposite the Beehive Store.

Alan Marshall plaque
Alan Marshall plaque

Alan Marshall plaque
Alan Marshall's history.

On the medium strip of the Noorat, McKinnons Bridge Road are several other plaques relating to him. A tree was planted by his elder daughter in 1996, during the Alan Marshall Festival to honour his life and work.

memorial tree
The tree planted in 1996.

Another plaque was unveiled as a tribute to him was unveiled by Alan Marshall himself in 1979, five years before his death in 1984.

Alan Marshall plaque.
Another plaque.

Alan Marshall plaque.
The plaque unveiled by Alan Marshall.

Two display boards are mounted upon the corner of a post and railing fence opposite the Beehive Store.

Alan Marshall plaques.
The two fence mounted display boards.

One tells the interesting history of Noorat.

history of Noorat
A brief history of Noorat.

The other depicts a map of the Alan Marshall Discovery Trail, which shows the location of and describes 16 places that played an important part of his childhood. If you follow the trail, not only will you see what a young Alan Marshall did but describes the history of a bygone era.

Alan Marshall discovery trail
Discovery Trail display board.

The Noorat hamlet is dominated by the nearby Mount Noorat. Starting from Carroopook Street is the Alan Marshall Walking Track.

Walking track sign
The sign at the start of the walk.

It is a steep walk of I km, passing a volcanic crater and proceeding to the summit of Mt. Noorat, giving excellent elevated views of the countryside.

Mt Noorat summit.
Mt. Noorat summit and view.

On all roads leading to Noorat, you are greeted with signs declaring it is the birthplace of Alan Marshall, truly their most famous son.

Noorat sign.
The sign seen on all roads leading to Noorat.

If you are anywhere near Noorat or passing, stop and soak up some history of the past, you won't be disappointed.
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Why? It's an unique experience
When: Anytime
Where: Terang-Mortlake & McKinnon`s Bridge-Noorat Roads, Noorat, 3265
Cost: Free
Your Comment
Very interesting articles Neil!
by Cris (score: 2|585) 669 days ago
I Can Jump Puddles is one of the best books you will ever read. As a child I wrote to him saying how much I enjoyed it and he wrote back. Still have the letter. What a gift he was.
by Louise (score: 0|7) 772 days ago
Travelling around the countryside one can find these little jewels. An interesting article Neil.
by annie (score: 1|70) 773 days ago
Definitely endorse the comments below. My older brother had to read the book for his english class and I used to sneak it to read it in bits and pieces. Since then i have reread it many times and still enjoy it. It always reminds me of my own childhood growing up in the country. We lived 6 miles from the nearest town and it might as well have been 60 miles.I am 75 now and still have a battered copy of the book somewhere.
by cooch (score: 1|41) 768 days ago
I have read that book so many times over the years, it brings back many childhood memories of going to school in the country at a small school and I always found the book a great inspiration.Dave Barry.
by cooch (score: 1|41) 560 days ago
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