Euroa 3666Euroa is a substantial township and rural district on the route between Melbourne and Albury. It is 130 km. north-north-east of Melbourne.
Euroa is situated on Seven Creeks, a tributary of the Goulburn River. Seven Creeks has its headwaters in the Strathbogie Ranges south-east of Euroa. The headwaters comprise seven streams - hence the name. One of those streams is Faithfull's Creek, named after the pastoral overlander William Faithfull who brought stock to the Euroa area in 1838.
The area was known to overlanders by its having been explored by the New South Wales Surveyor-General, Major Thomas Mitchell, in his Australia Felix expedition, 1836.
In addition to William Faithfull two other pastoral enterprises were important in Euroa's beginnings. The Seven Creeks pastoral run of 28,300 ha., six kilometres south-east of Euroa, was taken up by the Templeton/Forlonge family interests. Janet Templeton, nee Forlonge, and her sister-in-law Eliza Forlonge imported Saxon sheep to Australia, and stock was overlanded from Goulburn to Seven Creeks in 1838. In 1851 William Forlonge, Janet Templeton's nephew and Eliza's son, acquired the Seven Creeks run. Their names are commemorated on a memorial as the persons who imported the first fine-wool sheep to Victoria. The second pastoral pioneer was James Kirkland, the holder of the Urowa pastoral run (1844-51), which in time became the name of the town and district.
Urowa, or Euroa, is thought to be derived from an Aboriginal word meaning push or joyful. The former is the more likely.
Euroa was not one of the two prescribed or surveyed towns along the Melbourne to Sydney road, but the bridging of Seven Creeks in 1854 for improvement of the route to the north-east golf fields was the genesis of a township. An Anglican school was opened in 1856, and the town's first church, Roman Catholic, was opened in 1867. Farming around Euroa was mostly pastoral, but during the 1870s farm selections were taken up and other activities commenced. A flour mill was opened in 1873, the year the railway was opened. Further south in the direction of Strathbogie, additional farm selections were taken up, strengthening Euroa's town economy, its role as a place of supply and as a railway transport depot. A National Bank was opened, soon to be the scene of a hold-up by the Kelly gang on 10 December, 1878.
On 3 November, 1879, Euroa shire was created by severance from Benalla shire, During the next decade the township grew rapidly: the first of two weekly newspapers started (1884), lodges and friendly societies prospered, several of Euroa's surviving public and commercial buildings were built and an active agricultural society was under way. Dairying activity increased, and a butter and ice factory was opened in 1891. Creameries were opened elsewhere in the district and other butter factories at Strathbogie and Tamleugh.
Euroa gained a higher elementary school in 1919, six years after Benalla's. Its local fame was strengthened by having three Victoria Cross winners, two from Gallipoli and one from the Boer War, which was understood to be a record for a provincial town. Sporting bodies were numerous during the 1920s and 1930s - twice-yearly race meetings, polo, a swimming enclosure on Seven Creeks, a picturesque oval for district cricket, golf, cycling, tennis bowling and croquet club, coursing, and gun and rifle clubs. An athletic club was begun in 1934.
Wool production increased as a proportion of Euroa's rural output, and the wool prices gained during the early 1950s accentuated the change. The Euroa butter factory closed in 1951. Euroa gained several manufacturing industries, one being Mrs. Simons and Sons clothing factory (1944). Tourism became important, and when the Seven Creeks run was sold for $2 million in 1973 it was planned as a tourist development. The venture was wound up and sold in 1984.
Euroa was one of the last towns to be bypassed by the Hume Freeway, a cause of some concern to local retailers who knew that their shopping centre did not match those in Benalla and Shepparton. In any event the population of the town and shire increased slightly during the 1980s.
In addition to the recreational and civic facilities previously mentioned, Euroa has a show-ground, saleyards, hospital, elderly persons' homes (the population was relatively aged during the 1970s), picnic areas and a caravan park along Seven Creeks and an active shopping centre in Binney Street. About 25% of the town's employment was in retail and wholesale, reflecting its service-centre role. The court house and a stone cellar building are on the Victorian Heritage Register.
Euroa's median house prices were $52,500 and $70,000 in 1987 and 1995 respectively.
On 18 November, 1994 most of Euroa shire was united with most of Goulburn and Violet Town shires and parts of Seymour rural city and McIvor shire to form Strathbogie shire. The balance of Euroa shire was divided between Murrundindi shire and Greater Shepparton.
Euroa's census populations have been 117 (1861), 884 (1891), 1,743 (1921), 2,689 (1971) and 2,697 (1996). The shire's census populations were 4,890 (1881), 5,130 (1911), 3,880 (1933) and 4,315 (1991).
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