Wunghnu 3139

Wunghnu is a rural township in northern Victoria 7 km. south of Numurkah, on the Goulburn Valley Highway and railway between Shepparton and Numurkah. It is situated on Nine Mile Creek in the Murray Valley irrigation area.

In 1873 when pastoral runs were being subdivided for farm selections, a government surveyor, Alfred Leahy, surveyed a number of proposed townships in the district, including Wunghnu. It is thought that the name was derived from an Aboriginal word meaning boomerang. The township is on a boomerang-shaped bend of the Nine Mile Creek, which was a bi-annual camping place for Aborigines.

Land sales occurred in 1877, by when a bark store and hotel were built. A school was opened in 1877. In 1881 the railway was extended through Wunghnu, from Shepparton to Numurkah, initiating a short period of development.

The two-storey mechanics' institute (1890) included a grand stage and hall, a reading room and a pool room.

Wunghnu was an active district commercial centre until after the first World War. At its peak it had two stores, two butchers, two fruit shops, a newsagent, a produce merchant and a flour mill. Its decline to a smaller town came from its proximity to Numurkah, where the railway line terminated for several years.

Wunghnu is situated in a mainly flat irrigation area with scattered woodland along the Nine Mile Creek and to the east of the town. There are two swamps to the north-east. The school and a church are north of the creek and most of the town is to the south, which includes a reserve with two ovals, tennis courts and the mechanics' institute which has been restored as a tavern and restaurant. The school had thirty pupils in 1998.

Wunghnu's census population have been 69 (1891), 317 (1911), 239 (1947) and 159 (1966).


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