Clarkefield and Monegeeta

Clarkefield and Monegeeta are rural localities between 40 km and 52 km north-west of central Melbourne. Their small villages (school, hall etc) are on the road from Sunbury to Lancefield, and their areas extend eastwards from the Lancefield Road to Deep Creek, a distance of about 14 km. For census purposes Clarkefield includes Bolinda, which is between the two main places.

Clarkefield and Monegeeta were occupied as the Bullando Vale and Mooneejettee pastoral runs (1837, 1844). It is thought that the names Bolinda and Monegeeta derive from two pastoral runs. Clarkefield derived from the millionaire pastoralist Sir William Clarke, who was a lessee of Bullando Vale (1854) and had extensive interests closer to Sunbury.

In 1861 the railway from Melbourne to Bendigo opened with a station at Clarkefield, at that time named Lancefield Road. Twenty years later the station became a junction, with a line branching off to Lancefield, directly north. The name of the post office (1862) changed from Lancefield Road to Lancefield Junction and lastly to Clarkefield (1926). A short walk from the station there was the Clarkefield hotel and stables (1857) which continues as a heritage listed going concern.

The area's first school was at Bolinda (1870), followed by Clarkefield (1890), known at first as Bolinda South. Monegeeta never had a school. All three places had post offices: Clarkefield (1862-1982), Bolinda (1879-1980) and Monegeeta (1911-92).

Monegeeta also has a general store, an Army vehicle testing ground and, next door, the area's most splendid homestead, the heritage listed Mintaro (1882) built by a lessee of both the big pastoral runs.

The pastoral runs were on some of Port Phillip's best grazing land, ready made by centuries of controlled burns by Aborigines. White settlers built and planted pastoral improvements, the best visual evidence being extensive cypress windbreaks.

Despite their proximity to each other, Bolinda and Clarkefield schools continue, with enrolments of 26 and 33 in 2014. Both places have recreation reserves, Bolinda has a mechanics' institute hall (1913) and Clarkefield a CFA station.

Census populations have been:

census date population
  Bolinda Monegeeta Clarkefield
1911 129    
1921 106 134  
1933 70   199
1947 61 136 131
1954     127
1961 53 139 148
2011   321 433*

*and Bolinda

Further Reading

John Reid, When memory turns the key: the history of the Shire of Romsey, Bacchus Marsh, 1992

Peter Mitchell, Romsey: a veritable garden of Eden, Romsey, 2004