The Magic Crystals Trivia

Warning: This section contains spoilers.

Chopville

Chopville, Victoria, Australia
Coordinates36.655S, 145.255E
Population:
  • 7163 (2010 estimate)
  • 7033 (2006)
  • 6514 (2001)
  • 2247 (1996)
Average Elevation:175 m(574 ft) AMSL
Area:5.3 kmĀ² (3.3 sq mi)
Time Zone:
  • Winter (Standard): AEST (UTC+10)
  • Summer (Daylight): AEDT (UTC+11)
Political:
Postcode:3609 (formerly 3608)
Location of Chopville (all distances by road)

Chopville is the town where the majority of the Magic Crystals story is set, and the residence of most of the characters up to this point. It is a small town in rural Victoria, Australia, located northeast of Melbourne.

History

Chopville began as a tiny settlement in the mid 1870s as a midway point between the wining town of Nagambie and the growing town of Shepparton. Its purpose was originally to service the growing agricultural community in the Goulburn Valley. It went officially unnamed for several years until 1880, when the railway between Seymour and Shepparton passed the town. The name ‘Chopville’ had been used colloquially up until then, the name coming from Thomas J. Chopper, who had originally provided the economic backbone to get the town off the ground.

The population living within what became known as the Chopville Ring Road (though the term was technically incorrect) in 1880 was 347. At that point, the town consisted of a town hall (which still stands today as the oldest building in town), general store, police station, recently opened train station, and a number of small properties situated on the opposite bank of the river. Geographically, the town covers the same area in 2010, the time of the Magic Crystals saga, as it did 130 years earlier. The main difference was that back then, there were only three bridges (Main Street, Rosewood Street and Bater Road) and much of the town was made up of various parks and reserves. To this day, the town natives have ensured that at least one of these reserves would remain.

By 1914, Chopville's skyline had changed considerably. Its population had increased almost five-fold to around 1,500. This was due in part to the railway line, which had made the town much more accessible than it would have been otherwise, but mostly it was because of the booming trade that had developed in the land around the town (fruit growing in the North and West, dairying in the East and wine production in the South). To accommodate the growing population, much land that had previously been natural was used to establish homes. Only the area Southwest of what was even then coming to be known as the Town Central, most of the northwestern quadrant, as well as Hamster's Stretch Reserve, was left untouched.

Growth in the town halted during WWI and in the years that followed, its population slowly slumping towards the 1,000 mark. Agriculture continued in the surrounding area throughout the depression but trading became difficult, resulting in many leaving the area to seek work in Melbourne. Not until around 1950 did Chopville's outlook pick up. Money came pouring into the region again and along with it came many folks looking to escape the city life in the aftermath of the war. The population of the town climbed to just over 2,000 people in the next ten years, where it hovered for the next 37 years. The economy of the town, which was still provided in great part by the greater community, was strong enough to enable the town to develop continually as the times changed and its inhabitants changed with it.

In 1997, the town of Chopville was not unlike any other small rural town in Australia. It now had a supermarket as well as several specialty stores. There was a local newspaper, the Chopville Telegraph (issued twice weekly), and a single local radio station on the AM band, 3CV. The original police station had been replaced by a more modern, slightly larger station, and it had been joined by a fire station and a small hospital, which was really only equipped to treat the most minor injuries. There were only two schools in the town, Chopville Primary and Chopville Secondary (also known as Chopville High). Both of them were secular and both provided only limited services in the way of assistance for special needs students.

Hamster's Stretch Reserve was just as it had always been, though in addition to the many street bridges that crossed the Jade River throughout town, four foot bridges were also erected within the reserve for the benefit of people wishing to enjoy the peace the reserve offered. These bridges had always been a source of controversy around town due to the number of young people who had either hurt themselves or drowned in the river as a result of falling off them. Yet in spite of this, whenever a motion to have them demolished was made, it never seemed to be seconded. The rumor was that somebody in a high place liked having them there, but the unacknowledged truth of the matter was that the town liked having them there—most of the time. The area to the Southwest of the town, which had gone mostly unused during the town's first 70 years, had been made into the town's upper-class area. Greenly Street, which connected Main Street to Bater Road, had been lined with large homes which only the wealthy could afford.

The year 1997 was when the whole outlook of the town changed. In April of that year, the Hammerson Sorcerers moved to town. At first it wasn't made public knowledge, but there were a few Hammerson supporters living in the town even then, and without meaning to, they got the rumors circulating. For four months, nothing could be confirmed, because although the Hammersons were indeed living within the town, they had never bothered to buy a property there; naturally, they didn't need to. The Woodwards arrived later that year, however, and although they tried not to make a spectacle of their arrival, they made sure to go through the proper channels when establishing residence in town. It was impossible to hide such an arrival in a town which would have stood to attention if anyone of importance passed through.

It was also impossible not to connect the Woodwards with the rumors that had circulated in the months leading up to their arrival, and questions began flying all over the place as to their motive. The Woodwards and Hammersons had lived in London and Miami respectively since time out of mind (since as long as the general public had known of the existence of Sorcerers, in fact), so what reason could both families have for turning up in such an out-of-the-way location as Chopville? All these questions were directed to the Woodwards, as the Hammersons never made themselves available for interviews, and the answers were always the same: The Woodwards had come because the Hammersons were here, and as nobody knew what reasons the Hammersons could have for coming, it was in everyone's best interest for the Woodwards to be there to keep an eye on them. Frederic Woodward, the leader of the family for all intents and purposes, had a suspicion as to the Hammersons' motive; it had been incorrect, in fact, but as he hadn't confided in anyone, that hadn't mattered. For their part, the Hammersons had privately scoffed at the attention the Woodwards were receiving, agreeing that if the Woodwards had been more like them, they wouldn't have to put up with this sort of crap from the lowly non-magical folk.

The stigma that had surrounded the Sorcerers and magic in general ever since the Great Sorcerous War (1978–1981) meant that neither family was entirely trusted in the general public. For the first few years, the entire town's population seemed to walk on eggshells, never knowing what might happen on any given day, whether the two families would suddenly start a magical battle right in the middle of the reserve. As time went on and nothing much happened, the town's population began to relax, but at the same time, it was increasing at an alarming rate. Those who hadn't had the Sorcerers thrust upon them were jumping at the chance to get in a position where they could see or even meet them. Most of this was directed towards the Woodwards but there were always a few oddities who would have liked to meet the Hammersons—after all, even they still had their supporters.

By the turn of the century, Chopville's population had reached 2,700 and was showing no signs of slowing. In addition, tourism was now growing exponentially. In short, the town's resources had become extremely strained. In some desperation, the Strathbogie council had set up a department whose sole purpose was to oversee the growth of Chopville. Fortunately, there influx was providing the town with just enough money to employ a number of contracting companies who, over the following years, transformed the town.

By 2010, the present at the time of the Magic Crystals saga, the town had undergone sweeping changes. In ten years, the population had more than doubled; it was now estimated to be around 7,000, give or take, and that wasn't counting the several hundred extra who lived within a seven kilometre radius of the town. Many of the older properties had been demolished in that time and replaced with smaller, more modern properties. Rather than growing outward, in order not to encroach on the surrounding farming land, the town had become extremely dense. It had also grown appreciably in the only direction it had left available to it: vertically. This was both in terms of height, with both the hospital and the Chopville Luxury Inn undergoing major transformations in that time, and also depth, with a lot of residents choosing to build basements in their houses (or in the case of a select few, their entire houses below the ground).

The Luxury Inn, located in the most ideal spot in town, was the largest building in town, almost single-handedly supporting the town's entire tourist accommodation. The only competition came from a small truck stop located about half a kilometre out of town, where Main Street tunneled beneath the Goulburn Valley Highway. The hospital had also grown, not just to support the larger population but, once with the support of the Woodwards, to include a centre specialising in magical medicine. There was still only one radio station in town, and unlike most things, it hadn't changed very much, except perhaps that their quantity of ads had practically doubled. The newspaper, on the other hand, had changed considerably; it had been renamed the Chopville Daily Telegraph and, of course, was issued daily to all registered properties within the town and within a seven kilometre radius. With the growth of the Internet, online subscriptions were now also offered, and given that it was the only newspaper servicing the town in which the Sorcerers lived, it was a very popular subscription to have.

Notable Features

Notable features of the town include:

  • Chopville Primary and Chopville High schools, located on the east side of Main Street
  • Chopville Luxury Inn, located on the west side of Main Street on the corner of Achior Stroll, giving it a panoramic view of the Jade River below
  • Chopville Town Hall, located on the west side of Main Street to the south of the hotel
  • Chopville Medical Centre, located within the town central in the southwest of town
  • St Paul's Anglican Church, located on Main Street to the south of the town just outside the Chopville ring
  • Stanton Chapel, sitting in the shadow of the much larger church
  • Chopville Local Cemetery, located behind the church and chapel
  • Chopville Truck Stop, located southeast of town where Main Street crosses beneath the Goulburn Valley Highway and becomes the Chopville-Euroa Road
  • Chopville Police Station, located on the west side of Main Street next to the town hall
  • Chopville Railway Station, located in the far west of the town just inside the Chopville ring, just south of the Jade River; the railway bridge is immediately north of the station
  • Hamster's Stretch Reserve, located roughly in the centre of town between the school and the river
  • A supermarket, which is located in the town central and has changed hands numerous times in Chopville's history
  • River Road, which ironically is not located on the river but in the north of the town central, and is the site of many of Chopville's local businesses, restaurants, and two local pubs.
  • Chopville Leisure and Recreation Centre, containing a gym, public swimming pools and most of Chopville's sporting facilities

Demographics

Chopville has a fairly young demographic within the ring, and a slightly older average population in the surrounding district. This is due mainly to many young people moving away to seek higher education, and while some of them return (usually for family reasons), many do not. As Chopville has become a tourism hub since the Sorcerers came to town, however, new people have come into the town to establish business there (some succeeding, others not so).

In 2006, the last time an official census was taken, Chopville's population was 56.3% male, 43.7% female, and it's average age was just 33.7 years old. Almost 90% of people 18 years or older were employed, while only 68% of people between the ages of 16 and 18 remained in school. Chopville's typical political persuasion was concervative, while the dominant religion in town was actually non-religious (62%), followed by Christianity (37%, of which 61% were Anglican, 28% were Catholic, and the rest didn't specify a denomination), and the other 3% were of other religions. The vast majority of Chopville's population was caucasion, most of whom were born in the area. There were also about a hundred or so people of Aboriginal ethnicity, as well as a small number of Asians.

Education

There are only two schools in Chopville, both of them public:

  • Chopville Primary (grades 0–6)
  • Chopville Secondary (grades 7–12)

There are no tertiary institutions in Chopville.

Sport

Sport in Chopville can be split into two categories: Spectator sports which the locals enjoy coming to watch; and participation sports which only exist in the town for the people who like to play them. The latter sports are usually played in the Chopville High facilities, namely its oval and its gym.

Chopville's public sporting facilities are located in the southeast of the town, generally south and southeast of the school. Dempsey Oval (capacity: 5000 spectators) is the largest sporting arena in the region and is used for field sports. It recently (2004) underwent a major upgrade which saw its first public stand installed, as well as an electrical scoreboard and light towers, enabling the oval to host night games.

To the north across the street is the Chopville Leisure and Recreation Centre, a large facility containing several large public swimming pools, indoor and outdoor basketball/netball courts, six synthetic tennis courts, and Chopville Stadium—an indoor multi-purpose arena with a spectator capacity of 500.

The Chopville Hawks are an Australian Rules football and netball team based in Chopville and playing in the Goulburn Valley Football and Netball Leagues respectively. The football team play home games at the Dempsey Oval while the netball team plays in Chopville Stadium.

The Chopville Curse is a men's and women's basketball club in the Big V competition which also play in Chopville Stadium. Their junior division mostly play in the high school gym except for games that have some public interest from the town.

The town also hosts local soccer, rugby, cricket, baseball, field hockey and volleyball teams.

The Chopville Sprint is a public footrace which takes place in Chopville on January 2–8, whichever of those dates falls on a Saturday. It is a significant enough event that all road traffic within the Chopville Ring is banned on the day between 11:00 AM and 4:00 PM. The race covers the entire perimeter of the town and goes through a number of backstreets as well as straight down Main Street, totalling exactly ten kilometres. Anyone can enter the race but participants are required to wear customised pedometer-stopwatches to ensure that if they win, they did so legitimately.

Since 2006, Chopville has hosted the Chopville Chest Championships, referred to as the ‘cha-cha-cha’ by the locals. It was created as the only four-way chess competition in the world, as the four-way adaptation was created, and is rarely played, outside of Chopville. Like the footrace, anybody is permitted to enter the championships, but in the four years that it has been held, it has always been won by a local player.

Transport

Chopville is located just west of the Goulburn Valley Freeway (National Highway M39).

There is no public transport within Chopville due to its small size. The most common in-town modes of transportation are walking (the whole town within the Chopville Ring can be traversed from one side to the other at its widest point in less than two hours by foot), bike and car.

Bus coach services running through the town connect it with Euroa, Shepparton, Bendigo, Echuca, Wangaratta, Albury and Melbourne's Tullamarine Airport.

Chopville Railway Station is located to the west of town, just inside the Chopville ring. It is on the Shepparton Line connecting it with Shepparton in the north and Melbourne's Southern Cross Station in the South.

The closest airport to Chopville is Shepparton Airport, 33 km (21 mi) away, while the closest international airport is Melbourne's Tullamarine Airport, 136 km (84 mi) away.

Media

The Chopville Daily Telegraph is by far the most popular newspaper in Chopville, and is the only newspaper to operate out of Chopville. It can be purchased at several locations within town, and is delivered to paid subscribers. It also has an online subscription option aimed mostly at readers outside its circulation. Chopville also receives the Shepparton News.

Most radio stations in Shepparton can be heard in Chopville. Chopville has only one station of its own: The community-run 3CV (103.1 FM). It also has a part-time station run by the local high school, Chopville Secondary, which can only be heard within the school grounds and properties in the close proximity.

The television networks available in Chopville are the commercial networks Prime, Win and Ten; and the government networks ABC and SBS. These include the digital affiliates of the networks.