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Natimuk  Victoria

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The Wimmera village of Natimuk regularly takes on an international focus as experienced rock climbers from around the world hit town to prepare for the assault on the sheer faces of 356m Mt Arapiles. Located in the Mt Arapilies-Tooan State Park, the sandstone monolith was first ‘conquered’ in 1836 by explorer Thomas Mitchell and, while there is an easy, tourist’s trail to the summit, the toughest routes have remained a constant challenge to experienced climbers ever since. The local museum, which is housed in the old courthouse, is open on the second Sunday in each month or by appointment, while yabbies, redfin and trout lurk in Lake Natimuk, 3km to the north of town. Heroism touched Natimuk back in 1864 when three young children from the local Duff family were lost in the bush for nine days until they were found by King Richard, an Aboriginal tracker from the Vestis Station. Although only four-year-old Frank was conscious when the children were found, Jane (7) was later accredited with keeping Frank and older brother Isaac (9) alive during their ordeal. Certainly she is remembered in the Jane Duff Memorial at Duffholme to the east of Natimuk. The book, Babes in the Wood, was based on the real-life Duff drama.


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