Welcome To Clunes

History of Booktown

In 2007 the first Booktown (Booktown for a Day) was held attracting over 6,000 visitors. Since then a two day festival, Clunes Booktown Festival has been held annually in May. Over 60 booktraders from around Australia bring stock to the town and set up shop for the weekend. Street entertainment, food and wine, music and writer’s talks add to the festivities.

In April 2012 Clunes gained International Organisation of Booktowns membership, becoming the 15th International Booktown and the only booktown in Australia.

About the Town

Clunes is located 36 km north of Ballarat (30 minutes by car), and 142 km north-west of Melbourne (90 minutes by car). It is the first accredited Booktown in the Southern Hemisphere and Victoria’s first gold town.

There are a number of cafes, a bakery, confectionary, photographer, gift and antique shops, along with an art gallery and an Australian natural fibres shop. We also have a gourmet greengrocer, butcher, delicatessen, restaurant and wine shop. The service station and the local supermarket are open 7 days a week and an ATM is available in the main street. The hotel serves evening meals Wednesday to Sunday.

It is a vibrant town of approximately 2000 people who collaborate to achieve the best of small town living. There are a number of active social and sporting groups and many facilities including a swimming pool, ovals, petanque piste, netball/basketball courts, tennis courts as well as a golf course.

Education is an important aspect of Clunes’ development with a primary school, regional campus of Wesley College and an adult learning centre at the Clunes Neighbourhood House and a public library.

There is a strong connection with our rural community celebrated in the major annual Clunes and District Agricultural Show which has been running for over 150 years. The Show occurs on the third Saturday of November.

The town is located in an expanding and award-winning wine growing area. There are three wineries in close proximity to the town.

Current Situation

Clunes has a population of about 2000 and for its size it has a high proportion of published writers currently living in Clunes, including J.P. Pomare, Mark Ogge, Pam Adams, Dr Tess Brady, Andrew Masterson, Christine Rowe, Andrew Reeves and Kier Reeves.

Clunes is also home to a vast array of creative and artistic professionals such as sculpture artist Tom Ripon, visual theatre collaborative Ken Evans and Rebecca Russell, abstract artist Chris O’Donnell, Christy Flaws and Luke O’Connor, founders of physical theatre company Asking for Trouble, potter June Johnstone and designer and craftsman Peter de Deugd of Timmermans, to name some of the talents living and working in Clunes.

The town has regularly been used as a backdrop for a number of films and TV series, most famously for the first in the Mad Max film franchise, as well as the recent HBO series of Picnic At Hanging Rock; the ABCTV series Tomorrow When The War Began, the Ned Kelly film starring Heath Ledger, STANS series Bloom and True History of the Kelly Gang , a British-Australian biographical western film which has its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival in September 2019.