The town`s Heritage Trail highlights many of Koroit`s beautiful old buildings. It is walkable and driveable and features 30 places of interest. Brochures are available at businesses throughout Koroit or by downloading it from here.
The former Tower Hill Lake National School in High Street near the Koroit Oval is the least altered of three surviving substantially intact examples of schools of the National School era existing in Victoria. Its design is unusual in that it is built to an H-shaped plan with the classrooms flanking the teacher's residence. It is significant to the Koroit community as its oldest building, having been constructed in the same year that the township was surveyed (1857), and was the venue for the first election and the early meetings of the Koroit Borough Council following a break away from the Belfast Shire in 1870.
If you are interested in examining the town's architectural heritage, start at the State School in Commercial Rd, just east of the intersection with High St. The school was established in 1878. The present building dates from c.1890.
Head west, towards the High St intersection. To the left are the courthouse (1872) and the police station, built c.1885 as a police residence. At that time there was another building on its eastern side which served as the police station.
On the corner is the post office which carries a plaque recalling the early postmistress Marie Richardson, the mother of novelist Henry Handel Richardson. In Ultima Thule (1929) Richardson based the town of 'Gymgurra' upon Koroit. In it she refers to the post office 'built of an iron-grey stone that was almost as dark as the earth itself...with on its front the large round clock by which the township told the time'. The western and central sections were built in 1872 as a residence and telegraph office.
The Olde Courthouse Inn
Over the road from the post office, at 100 Commercial Rd, is the Olde Courthouse Inn - a former hotel built in 1901 to carry on the licence granted to the Dunfermline Inn which was built on an adjacent site in 1857. The Courthouse Inn is now a bed-and-breakfast and curiosity shop. It is open Tuesday to Saturday from 11.00 a.m. to 4.30 p.m. and Sundays from 1.00 p.m. to 5.00 p.m., tel: (03) 5565 8346.
Carwicks House of Antiques
Opposite, at the north-western corner of Commercial Rd and High St, is Carwicks House of Antiques, which sells antique furniture, decorative pieces, early 20th-century prints, estate jewellery, collectables and bric-a-brac. It was built as a general store and adjoining residence c.1857, making it one of the first stores in town. Carwicks is open weekends and holiday periods from 11.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. or by appointment, tel: (03) 5565 8548.
Former Railway Station
Head north along High St and turn left into Bourke Ave. At the corner with Station St you can see the former railway station which was built c.1880. The line to Koroit ceased operations in 1977.
Follow Station St to its southern end then turn left, back into Commercial Rd. As its name suggests, Commercial Rd was always the town's major business avenue. Note the verandahs fronting onto the kerb and the shop fronts.
At the corner of Station St and Commercial Rd is a store built c.1883. Head east towards the intersection with High St. To the left are a large double-fronted shop built c.1906 and the National Bank. This building was erected as a single-storey structure in 1868. The facade and upper storey were added in 1872.
Over the road is the State Bank of Victoria in a building constructed in 1876 as a doctor's residence. It became the Colonial Bank of Australasia and, in 1920, the State Bank.
On the south-western corner of Commercial Rd and High St is Bourke's Koroit Hotel, erected in 1853 (other sources suggest 1856). At that time it was a simple two-storey bluestone structure. The elaborate Art Nouveau facade was added in the early 1900s. The interior is furnished with antiques to create a period feel.
Turn right, heading south along High St. To the left, just before the bend in the road, is the Guide Hall, built in the late 19th century as a fire station. On the same side of the road, slightly further along, is the civic centre and library. The north wing was built in 1870 to house the Koroit Borough Chambers. The south wing was added in 1970.
Further along High St, on the other side of the road (over King St) is the former Tower Hill Lake National School, built of sandstone in 1857. The school has an unusual design with the central section being used as the teacher's residence while the two wings were used as classrooms. It is one of the oldest national schools in the state.
Proceed south along High St. To the right are the Botanic Gardens which were constructed on land set aside in 1862. These are no ordinary rural town gardens. They were designed in 1880 by William Guilfoyle who at the time was the curator of the Melbourne Botanic Gardens. He designed the winding paths and sweeping lawns. Today only five conifers remain from the plantings that took place in the 1880s. However the gardens do have some genuine rarities. Six of the trees are registered with the National Trust and the Dragon's Blood Tree is on the World Rare and Endangered List. There are children's play facilities and electric barbecues.
Return to High St and proceed a short distance southwards to the intersection of High St and Garden St. On the eastern side of the road are 'Old Hillcrest' (1910) and an early cottage built in 1860. It has been considerably altered over the years although the thatched roof remains under the galvanised iron. Over the road is the former Methodist Church (1865-67) which is now a scout hall.
Walk along Garden St to the Scots Presbyterian Church (1859). The manse dates from the 1860s.
Cross over Anzac Ave. Slightly further along, on the right-hand side of the road, is an antiquated horse trough. It was one of many placed in country Victoria by Annis and George Bills in the late 19th century.
Further west, on the other side of the road, are a couple of early settlers' cottages.
Return along Garden St then turn right into Anzac Ave. To the right is the former Convent of the Good Samaritan, now an hostel. Opposite is St Patrick's School. The oldest of its buildings dates back to 1890.
Cross over Queen St. To the immediate left is the Catholic Church of the Infant Jesus. It was designed by William Wardell who was also the architect of St Patrick's Cathedral in Melbourne. The first section was completed in 1870 with additions made in 1915-16. The adjacent presbytery dates from the late 1880s.
Continue south along Anzac Ave then turn left into Anne St. At the corner of Anne St and Horne St is a fine home built in 1918 (note the shamrock in the stonework above the front left window).
Turn left, heading north along Horne St. To the right is St Paul's Anglican Church (1870). Slightly further north, where Horne St connects with High St (on the right-hand side of the road), is a fine Edwardian weatherboard home built in 1900.
You can download the 'Koroit Heritage Trail' brochure here. The brochure is produced by the Koroit and District Historical Society Inc..