Casterton –Kelpie Town Victoria

It was a happy accident that I realised we would be near Casterton in Victoria when the annual Kelpie Muster would be on. This event is usually held on the June long weekend every year but for the last couple, hasn’t been held (as with so many other events) due to Covid restrictions.

We were already booked into another park in South Australia for the long weekend but being in Casterton Victoria, in the days leading up to the weekend had us thinking that we couldn’t possibly miss this event, especially considering we had our kelpie Neo with us, and they are our favourite breed of dog.

So even though we were actually staying about an hour and a half away in South Australia, we ducked back over the border for the Saturday to take a look. This entire weekend is made for people travelling with dogs, especially if that dog just happens to be a kelpie, and the main street is blocked to traffic with detours around town, so that all things kelpie can take place.

If you are planning on going to the Kelpie Muster, book well in advance for accommodation, as there is only the one caravan park in town. The Island Caravan Park only has 28 powered sites so you have to book early if you hope to stay there during the muster. It’s a very nice little park with amenities and is a very close walk into the town centre.

The other camping area to stay in is Ess Lagoon, a free RV park where we stayed during our visit. It has no amenities so you have to be self-contained, but it’s in a very picturesque spot with the lagoon view and it’s stocked with trout. It’s also a very short walk into town from here. You can stay here for free for up to 30 days and there is exercise equipment in this park and a little free library for book swaps too.

The lagoon is part of the kelpie trail in Casterton, a series of 3 walks around town to follow and see kelpie statues along the way, as well as a good way to get some exercise for yourself and the dog.

Definitely stop in at the Information Centre in town which is also the ‘Australian Kelpie Centre”. Casterton is known as the birthplace of the kelpie breed, dating back to 1860 when a pair of collies from Scotland were imported by a Scottish station owner in Casterton.

Another local by the name of Jack Gleeson (of Irish descent) was so taken with these well-bred sheep dogs that he swapped his horse for a pup which he called ‘kelpie’, (after a water sprite which haunts fords and streams in the shape of a horse). The pups that eventuated from kelpie’s mating with short haired station dogs performed exceptionally well at dog trials and descendants from these first dogs founded the kelpie breed.

In the Kelpie Centre you can see all the history of the breed and watch videos that show the traits that make them exceptional working dogs.

The Kelpie Muster weekend starts with a street parade and fun events on the Saturday where anyone with a kelpie can enter their dog in events including the 50 metre dash, high jump and hill climb as well as novelty events which are invented each year.

There is tiered seating along the street so you can get a view of the action and events of the day

On this day there are plenty of street market stalls selling food for humans and dogs, as well as everything dog related. There is also an art exhibition in the town hall.

The Sunday is more serious with working dog demonstrations and the working dog auction which sees Australia’s finest kelpies go up for auction with eye watering amounts of money paid for these top dogs. The world record price for a working kelpie was made at Casterton in 2021, with a dog selling for $35,200. This year the highest price paid was $27,000 for a working kelpie.

On the Monday of the long weekend there is a working dog training school where specialised training is provided for the handler and dogs.

Casterton, Birthplace of the Kelpie

This year’s kelpie muster included the now famous Frank Finger and his dog Annie who appeared on the ABC television series Muster Dogs, a show to watch if you want to see what makes these dogs so special. The Australian Kelpie Muster Facebook page also contains all the information, results and photos of the weekend.

Happy travels


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