Nagambie can trace its history back to explorer Thomas Mitchell who crossed the Goulburn River to the South West, and the location became Mitchellstown in the 1830’s.
Overlanders followed in his footsteps and used the same river crossing, as did the postman on the mail route from Melbourne to Sydney, established in 1838.
The discovery of gold at Spring Creek (Graytown) and Whroo brought thousands of miners into the area, the Balaclava mine alone producing some 20,000 ounces of gold.
A hotel, church and blacksmith were set up to cater to the through traffic of teamsters journeying along the river system to Adelaide. A township was surveyed in 1868 and land sales proceeded in 1870 before it was proclaimed as the private town of 'Nagambie' in 1872, said to be derived from a local Aboriginal word meaning 'lagoon'.
Named from water, water has always been an integral element of Nagambie then and now.
The first paddle steamer from Echuca arrived in 1875, followed by rail in 1881, providing the region with direct links to Melbourne.
The nearby Goulburn Weir, completed in 1891, was the first major diversion structure built in Australia and remains a remarkable feat of engineering that uses the Goulburn River to irrigate half a million hectares of farmland. On completion of the Goulburn Weir, the Nagambie Lakes were formed. Water transport allowed a prosperous trade in red gum timber, which was brought to Nagambie by barge, milled into blocks and sent to Melbourne for road making.
Not far away are the beautiful, old timber Kirwan’s Bridge and the ‘strutted stringer’ style drawbridge, Chinaman’s Bridge.
Tahbilk Estate, established in 1860 - Victoria’s oldest family owned winery - is home to some of the oldest Shiraz and Marsanne vines in the world, as well as having buildings and surrounds much unchanged from its early days.
The region has an intimate connection with the Kelly Legend through two towns in particular – Avenel and Euroa. At both towns there are markers to indicate where the action happened and trail maps to find the various sites that are part of one of Australia’s most notorious legends.
Are you interested in the history of Whroo? Click here for Nicola Thompsons interesting website regarding Whroo Cemetery and genealogical research.