Waaia 3637

Waaia is a rural township locality in the Murray Valley irrigation area in northern Victoria. It is approximately mid-way between Nathalia and Numurkah. The name is thought to be derived from an Aboriginal word meaning crow. It is pronounced Way-eye.

In 1875 the Waaia parish was surveyed, coinciding with the subdivision of large pastoral properties for farm selection. The Waaia township site was surveyed by 1877. When the extension of the railway line from Numurkah to Nathalia was being planned in 1886, local farmers persuaded the Commissioners to build a station at Waaia. When the line was opened in 1888 Waaia had a hotel, general store, a butcher and grain agents operating out of the railway station. A school was opened in 1890.

Water shortages were a problem for both domestic supply and for farms during dry years. Waaia farmers campaigned for the extension of irrigation from the Murray River weirs. After the second World War dry-farm properties were acquired and subdivided, mainly for dairying. Soldier settlers took up the irrigation farms during the early 1950s.

Waaia has a hotel, an Anglican church, a large hall (1961), an oval and a school with which the one from Yalca South was combined in 1993. The combined school had forty-five pupils in 1998. The railway line was closed in 1987. (Patsy Adam-Smith's family worked on the railway at Waaia in the 1930s.)

Waaia's census populations have been 31 (1891), 302 (1911), 169 (1947), 314 (1954) and 141 (1961).



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