Our CommunityEchuca is located on the banks of the Murray River and Campaspe river in Victoria. Twin town Moama is on the northern side of the Murray river in New South Wales. It is the administrative centre and largest settlement in the Shire of Campaspe. At the 2006 census, Echuca had a population of 12,358.
Echuca, an Aboriginal name meaning “Meeting of the Waters” is indicative of the role rivers have played in the town’s existence. Echuca is situated close to the junction of the Goulburn, Campaspe and Murray Rivers. Its location at the closest point of the Murray to Melbourne contributed to its development as a thriving river port city during the 19th century.
Echuca was founded by one of the most enterprising characters of the early colonial days, an ex-convict named Henry Hopwood. In 1850 he bought a small punt which operated across the Murray River near the Campaspe junction. The relatively small settlement known as “Hopwood’s Ferry” became Echuca as the town grew. The Post Office known as Hopwoods Punt opened around 1854 and was renamed Echuca on 1 January 1855.
By the 1870s Echuca had risen to prominence as Australia’s largest inland port. Being the point of shortest distance between the Murray River and the major city of Melbourne, Echuca was both a key river port and railway junction. Steam-driven paddleboats would arrive at the 400-metre long redgum Echuca Wharf, unloading it to be transported by rail to Melbourne. Wool, wheat, other grains, livestock and timber were the most common cargoes. The wharf has been listed as a Heritage Place on the Australian National Heritage List.
This industrial boom led to a rapidly expanding population, at one stage in excess of 15,000, with more than a hundred pubs (hotels) rumoured to exist in the Echuca district at one time. An iron bridge was constructed over the Murray River in the 1870s.
The main industry in Echuca is tourism. Tourism injects approximately $250 million into the Echuca economy annually. Visitors are attracted to the town by its warm climate, the Murray River, historical features such as the Port of Echuca which has the world’s largest fleet of operating paddle steamers, and recreational attractions.
Echuca is also a major regional service economy.
Agriculture is very important to the region and dairy, wheat, sheep, pigs and cattle farms are all within close proximity.
Echuca Port is home to the largest Paddle Steamer fleet in the world, which includes the world’s oldest surviving wooden hulled paddle boat, the 1866 built PS Adelaide. The PS Emmylou still operates from Echuca as a daily cruise boat taking tourists along the Murray River for 1 hour and 1 and a half hour cruises. The PS Alexander Arbuthnot conducts hourly cruises from the wharf as does the PS Canberra and PS Pride of the Murray from just downstream of the wharf. In addition to the local paddleboats operating cruises are numerous houseboats available for day, weekend or weekly hire. Echuca also boasts a dedicated floating restaurant the MV Mary Ann. The PS Emmylou and PS Pride of the Murray also offer lunch cruises daily.
Echuca and Moama boast several public and private Day Care Centres as well as several Kindergartens, public and private primary and secondary schools, and several adult learning centres.
Echuca has many large retailers, including a Big W, Coles, Safeway, Mitre 10, Aldi, Target Country, Cotton On, Sussans, Dick Smiths, Strandbags, Dan Murphy’s, Carters, and Bunnings Warehouse.
Echuca and Moama boast a myriad of restaurants and cafes catering to all palates and budgets as well as the sporting and social clubs.
The town has an Australian Rules football team competing in the Goulburn Valley Football League and a team Echuca United competing in the Murray Football League.
The most popular participation sport in Echuca is Australian Rules Football and Netball. The local team is called the Murray Bombers. Association Football, or soccer and hockey are also played.
Annual activities include the Southern 80 waterski race, the Jazz, Food and Wine Festival, the Winter Blues Festival, the Rotary Steam Horse and Vintage Rally, the Celtic Festival and the Murray River Marathon.
Echuca is connected over the Murray River to Moama by the Echuca-Moama Road Rail Bridge. This historically significant bridge has riveted iron spans supported on cast iron pillars. Echuca-Moama Transit runs 3 services hourly to Echuca East, South & the town of Moama. The terminus is the Old Echuca Post Office on Hare Street. V/Line operates the Echuca line rail service from the local station to Melbourne, via Bendigo.
Echuca Airport is also located outside the town.
Echuca is the administrative centre for the Shire of Campaspe Local Government Area.
At state level, Echuca is represented by the Electoral district of Rodney.
At federal level, Echuca is represented by the Division of Murray.
Riverine Herald, produced by McPherson Media Group, is published 3 days a week; it includes local and national news.
Community radio station, EMFM, broadcasts in Echuca on the frequency of 104.7FM. They currently broadcast at a power of 1 kW
Television stations such as ABC, SBS, Prime7, WIN and SC Ten as well as digital multi-channels are broadcast into Echuca from other regions.
Several Football, Netball and Basketball Clubs, Croquet, Bowls and Golf
Echuca Racing Club, which schedules around eleven race meetings a year including the Echuca Cup meeting in March.
Echuca Harness Racing Club conducts regular meetings at its racetrack in the town.
Golf – Echuca Back Nine Golf Course in Echuca and the Rich River Golf Club in Moama.
Swimming: Echuca Swimming Club. 50 meter indoor pool. YMCA Echuca War Memorial Aquatic Centre. Moama public swimming pool.
Canoeing: Echuca-Moama Canoe Club and Inland Outriggers.