• Loddon Herald

Cave dream lives on

Sir, The dream of a Melville Caves tourist mecca came from Mr Stan Catto, a local Rheola farmer a Korong Shire councillor.

Newspaper reports going back to the 1800s had always spoke of the beautiful bushland reputedly the hideout of the bushranger Captain Melville.

Stan grew up with these stories as did many people in nearby inglewood, St Arnaud and Wedderburn who were already using the area called Melville caves for bush activities, picnics, rockclimbing and lots of bushwalking.

Stan was one of those people and he pushed to open the area up with made roads, a shelter, toilets. A six thousand pound grant around 1950 was enough to turn the bushland into a growing tourist attraction with the caves association putting Aboriginals and bushrangers at the heart of it,

Stan was a lucky man living, long enough to see his dream come true.

Today, Melville Caves is the region’s main tourist destination with over 100,000 visitors a year, mostly daytrippers but with many now choosing to camp overnight.

The removal of Catto Lodge would have been a backward step. It is probably the most photographed building in the district with most wedding parties choosing to have their wedding photos there plus all the local family functions that have been held there means it is a special place for all of us.

It was Stan who got Melville Caves going but he recieved great help from all the Rheola and Kingower families and many from Inglewood helped also including Bill McCloud from the Forests Commision.

The bricklaying Bradley families also scouced and layed the now iconic granite stonework..

We can now add to the continued development of Melville Caves through the partnership of the Dja dja Wurrung clans, adding new buildings, walking tracks and other upgrades that will keep Melville Caves a major tourist drawcard forever.

Howard Rochester


All the best!

Sir, All the best Loddon Herald!

My godson Michael Waite started up the Naracoorte Community News early 2020 when the local paper closed its doors on the community when it was needed most in the early stages of the pandemic.

Nothing better than keeping the community informed with a good local paper. Well done, and all the best!

Christine Rippon

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