Within three years of Irish migrant William Rutledge naming the emergent Victorian Midlands village after his birthplace in County Cavan in 1841, Kilmore had taken on the look of a town that was there to stay.
By 1844 the town 61km north of Melbourne boasted a number of shops including a bootmaker, a smithy, a boarding house and, of course, the obligatory hotel.
Much of that mid 19-century colonial fabric has been preserved, both in commercial buildings and in private homes such as Whitburgh Cottage - a bluestone cottage built for Scotch coachbuilder and blacksmith William Smeaton in 1853. Descendants of the pioneer settler’s family lived in the home until 1966.
Only marginally younger is the Kilmore Gaol which received its first unwilling guests in 1857. The building served as a maximum security prison until 1891 when it underwent an extraordinary metamorphosis to become a butter factory and private residence. These days it is a corridor into Kilmore's past.
Modern Kilmore has virtually become a satellite of Melbourne and is an important racing and trotting centre. Kilmore Pacing Cup is Australia’s richest provincial harness race.