Mount Macedon is both a town and a 1,013-metre peak at the end of the Great Dividing Range. The mountain was named by NSW Surveyor General Major Thomas Mitchell when he climbed it on 30 Sep 1836.
The Macedon Regional Park surrounds much of Mount Macedon and features a number of attractions. The most popular is the Memorial Cross Reserve, located at the end of Cameron Drive, which includes picnic, BBQ areas and the Top of the Range Tea Rooms.
A short 200m walk along a sealed path from the carpark (GPS coordinates S37° 23′ 12.04″, E144° 34′ 34.11″) takes visitors to the imposing 21-metre (69 ft) Memorial Cross which was established in 1935 by early resident William Cameron as a memorial to his son and to honour those Australians who lost their lives in World War I. The cross was built using Wunderlich terra cotta tiles on a steel base and over the years, has survived both bushfires and lightning strikes.
The view from the Memorial Cross is spectacular and takes in Melbourne city, the Dandenong Ranges and the You Yangs near Geelong. There are also good views from the Major Mitchell Lookout which is located on a side track before the Cross.
A number of factors contribute to the Memorial Cross being regarded as the most significant war memorial in Victoria after the Shrine of Remembrance. These include:
- its large size.
- the simplicity of its design.
- the reflective nature of its Wunderlich tiles which enable it to be viewed from a considerable distance.
- its siting on Mount Macedon
A dawn service is held annually at the base of the Cross to commemorate those who perished during the war. It also became for many a symbol of courage and survival after the 1983 Ash Wednesday bushfires.