THE history of Kilmore’s Monument Hill is under scrutiny after a historical journal published assertions the famous Hume and Hovell expedition of the 1820s passed further to the east of the site.
Heritage Victoria last week confirmed it was reviewing evidence contained in a new peer-reviewed article in relation to the Hume and Hovell monument on the hill, which was added to the Victorian Heritage Register in 2015.
The expedition of 1824-25 has historical significance as the first inland exploration of south-eastern Australia and the first crossing of the southern end of the Great Dividing Range by European colonisers.
The Monument Hill precinct was added to the heritage register after the Heritage Council of Victoria, HCV, received submissions from Kilmore residents in 2014 supporting a theory that Hume and Hovell passed directly over it.
The heritage application for the hill and surrounding precinct was part of a case to lobby the State Government against selecting a Kilmore East option as the preferred Northern Highway bypass route around Kilmore.
But historian Martin Williams, whose paper on the subject was published in this month’s Victorian Historical Journal, said the 2014 submissions were based on misinterpreted evidence.
He said his study of sketch maps attributed to Hamilton Hume, as well as the journal entries of the explorers, placed their route further east near Wandong and Wallan East, roughly following the current Hume Freeway.
“It has been proven unequivocally that Hume and Hovell got to Broadford at the intersection of Dry Creek and Sunday Creek,” he said.
“They went down to what is now Waterford Park to get across Sunday Creek because it was too muddy. They went from Sunday Creek … straight through the middle of Wandong … up the nearest hill to the peak.
“It’s quite distinctive now on the skyline, but completely unknown and unrecognised.”
Mr Williams said the explorers then descended a ridge along the eastern edge of Hidden Valley.
“What this means is that Wallan and Wandong have two of the most important historical sites in Australian history,” he said.
“They are what we are now going to try to name properly as Hume’s Pass and Eastern Ridge.”
Mr Williams said he was motivated by a desire to set the record straight.
“[Six] years ago Broadford had taken away from it the fact that Hume and Hovell went to Broadford and camped there. They get their history back now,” he said.
“Wandong deserved the history and never had it, but the people in the Wandong Historical Society are jumping up and down for joy now.
“Historical accuracy is really important in places like Kilmore, Wallan, Wandong and Broadford because of all the major infrastructure that’s going in around it. We have to get it right.”
For full story and local reaction, see next week’s Review.