The Australian Kelpie Muster

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Posted 2023-05-28 by Geoff Edlundfollow

Thu 08 Jun 2023 - Tue 13 Jun 2023

Casterton is located in South-West Victoria on the banks of the serene Glenelg River. The region is blessed with rolling green hills, tranquil streams, and abundant native flora and fauna. The main street is adorned with charming cafes, boutique shops, historical buildings, and sprawling pubs. Casterton is the 'Birthplace of the Kelpie' and each year in the June long weekend, this peaceful town becomes a mecca for kelpie enthusiasts as over 10,000 visitors flock to the region

It's hard to miss the affection for kelpies in the town - they are everywhere. Casterton is kelpie-crazy, there's just no other word for it. There's kelpie statues , the kelpie walking trail , the kelpie centre , kelpie art , and an entire festival devoted to kelpies! It's been one year since the megahit 'Muster Dogs' featured on ABC, and the local kelpies and their humans now grace the front page of 'Australian Geographic' magazine, with even more kelpie news to follow.

In my quest to find out more, I meet with a founding member and President of the Casterton Kelpie Association , Karen Stephens. We catch up for a coffee on Henty Street and find a corner to chat in the cosy cafe. is held on the June long weekend each year, and Karen enticingly describes it as "a festival of fun, colour, and excitement, with more of the serious business on the Sunday".

The Saturday program is packed with art, competitions, goodie bags for kids, poetry, a parade, and the famous "Kelpie Dash", "Stockman's Challenge" and the "Kelpie High Jump". Sunday is the Australian Premier Working Dog Auction. I'm amazed to hear that last year, one of the dogs sold for $35200 .

In 2023, most of the Australian Kelpie Muster events will be held on Saturday June 10th and Sunday June 11th. You'll find all the detail for each year here . If you need more information about Casterton, events, and other matters, you can email [email protected] or call the Casterton Visitor Information Centre on (03) 5554 2440. There's also an online form at this link for tourist and trade enquiries.

Another popular event is the Casterton Kelpie Muster Art Show featuring the Kelpie Acquisitive Art Award . The art show is run by Casterton Rotary with the next annual exhibition from June 9th to 11th 2023. There is also a ticketed opening on June 8th 6.30pm at the Casterton Town Hall that includes live music, wine tasting and canapes, and sounds too good to miss.

is one of several annual festivals and events held in Casterton. It's impressive to hear that despite the small-town feel, the community and businesses here work together to promote and offer memorable experiences for visitors of all types.

We finish our coffees over a friendly chat, and I head back down the main street. I get back in the car, and recall Karen's parting remarks on the appeal of Casterton and the fascination with kelpies: "many people are finding Casterton, and others are making it their home ... and you know, there's something common between the town and our kelpies, we're both loyal, honest and tenacious". As I head to my next engagement, it's with a smile that I realise I'm hooked, and I'll be there on the main street this long weekend cheering on the kelpies too.


Casterton is four hours drive from Melbourne. Head west, and drive through Ballarat, and then Hamilton (at the bottom of the Grampians) and on to Casterton. It's a spectacular drive full of scenic views and inviting towns.

You can also relax and stare out the window on the train to Ballarat (or Warrnambool) and an easy switch for the Casterton coach - buy your tickets here . The whole journey only costs $9.20 (or $4.60 for concession), and is even cheaper at the weekend at $6.70 (or $3.35 concession), noting that prices and timetables are subject to change.


There are many accommodation options all-year round in the areas listed on the Casterton Kelpie Association website here and the community site here . This includes motels, pubs, camping, caravan, RV, and self-contained options.

!date 08/06/2023 -- 13/06/2023
165760 - 2023-06-15 01:58:34


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