The township of Jindivick sits high on a ridge in the steep foothills of the Great Dividing Range, about 15 km north of Drouin and about 110 km east of Melbourne. The Tarago River bounds the eastern and southern extent of the district.

In the early 1860s a track was blazed through the heavily timbered hills by Joseph Jackson. Miners and drovers used Jackson's Track and patronised the store and accommodation house which Jackson established at the Tarago River crossing. Selectors traversed the area from the early 1870s. The parish was named Jindivick, which according to Bunce's Language of the Aborigines of the Colony of Victoria (1859), is an Aboriginal word meaning burst asunder.

In 1877 a store opened for business in the southern part of the district, and a school also commenced in Jindivick. A mechanics' institute hall was constructed in 1886. A store opened in 1889 and the district post officer was transferred to Jindivick.

From the 1880s sawmills utilised the tall timber, assisting the clearing of land. Oats were grown extensively and root crops flourished in the red volcanic soil. As pastures were established dairying became widespread, serviced by a creamery. The poor condition of the few roads prompted agitation for a railway to the district. A route was surveyed from Drouin in 1882, and a line planned from Longwarry in 1890, but neither was built. Horse drawn wooden tramways served the sawmills. In 1892 the second of the several Tucker village settlements was started at Jindivick.

By 1903, the Australian handbook described a prosperous farming district:

A Presbyterian church was built in 1910, and the Anglican church relocated to the township in the same year. Memorial gates were constructed in 1936, commemorating the European pioneers of the area. The town was threatened by bushfires in 1898 and 1926 and part of the district burnt. In addition to dairying, large numbers of pigs were raised while milk was separated for cream. Onions and potatoes were common crops and some flax was grown in the 1930s. Several sawmills operated after 1900, producing scantling and casing timber, as well as timber for projects such as Williamstown jetty, San Remo bridge, and the Wonthaggi coal mines. The construction of Tarago Reservoir in the 1960s augmented the population of the area for some years.

In addition to a general store and a restaurant, Jindivick serves mainly as a social focus for the district with a hall, school (48 pupils, 2014), church, tennis courts and recreation reserve. The extensive farming district is mainly devoted to dairying, and is well known for Jindi specialty cheeses produced on-farm. From the 1970s there was some subdivision of farmlets, offering a country lifestyle and panoramic views.

Census populations for the Jindivick district have been:

Area Census Date Population
Jindivick 1911 331
  1933 265
  1954 390
  1966 108
Includes environs 2006 514
  2011 522

Jacksons Track

Jacksons Track runs westerly in an arc from just below Neerim South to north of Longwarry. The only place of settlement it passes through is Jindivick, but in 2000 Jacksons Track became known nationally with the publication of a memoir by Daryl Tonkin. He settled there in 1936 to set up a timber mill and lived out most of his days with the Jacksons Track Aboriginal community. One of the four Aboriginal families was the Roses. Their son Lionel (1948-2011) became world bantam weight boxing champion in 1968. Daryl Tonkin was his uncle by marriage.

Further Reading

Burst asunder: Jindivick, the first hundred years, 1977

Carolyn Landon and Daryl Tonkin, Jackson's Track: memoir of a dreamtime place, Melbourne, 1999

Carolyn Landon, Jackson's Track revisited, Clayton, 2006

G. Butler, Buln Buln: a history of the Buln Buln Shire, 1979