A town made famous by its associations with
Euroa is a country town of some 2700 people
located adjacent Seven Creeks 147 km north-east
of Melbourne via the Hume Freeway, between
Seymour and Benalla. It is situated at an
elevation of 175 m at the foot of the
Strathbogie Ranges with Balmattum Hill adjoining
the town boundary. The district has long been
noted for its fine-wool production, although its
name is probably more familiar in relation to
Australia's most famous bushranger Ned Kelly.
The area is thought to have been occupied by
the Ngurelban Aborigines prior to European
settlement and there is an important Aboriginal
art site in the Gardens Range, 10 km south-east
of town. It is presumably from their language
that the town's name derives. 'Yera-o' is said
to mean 'joyful'.
The first white men in the district were
explorers Hume and Hovell in 1824. Overlanders
drove their stock through an area to the north
of the present townsite in 1837 or 1838 while
following the track cut by explorer Thomas
Mitchell in 1837. Squatters began taking up runs
in the district in 1838. One of the first was
Seven Creeks, established by Janet Templeton in
1838. The adjacent 'Urowa' station was taken up
It was at Seven Creeks that the first
fine-wool Saxon merino sheep in Victoria were
introduced in 1851 by Eliza Forlonge who had
selected the sheep in Saxony.
Euroa was surveyed in 1849 and planned as a
roadside squatting centre in 1850-51 on the road
from Melbourne to Wodonga. Drovers camped at the
spot due to the presence of a permanent water
By 1852 the townsite consisted of Euroa
homestead in Kirkland St and two huts occupied
by a bootmaker and a married couple who worked
on Euroa station. However, the town grew more
rapidly than expected due to the road traffic
generated by the goldrushes. A store and
butcher's shop were the first commercial
buildings. A hotel opened in 1853 and a post
office in 1854. The first school was established
in a small bark hut in 1854.
At this time the residences were all of slab
or bark construction clotted with clay and
roofed with stringybark. In 1856 wheat farming
began on small blocks and Euroa became a regular
coach stop on the Melbourne to Beechworth run.
Timber and honey were also exploited
commercially in the town's early days. The first
substantial church (Catholic) was built in 1867.
Catholic Church, Euroa
Floods devastated Euroa in 1870 but ongoing
expansion saw an extension of the town
boundaries in 1872; the year prior to the
railway's arrival. A road was cut through to
link up with the Shepparton Rd in 1874 and, in
conjunction with the railway, this made Euroa a
viable trading centre for the exchange of goods
between Melbourne and the district's farmers and
shopkeepers which proved an impetus to local
Arguably, Australia's best-known figure is
bushranger Ned Kelly who has strong associations
with the town and with this part of Victoria.
After two prison sentences and a series of
brushes with the law (see entry on Glenrowan),
the 22-year-old Ned and his younger brother Dan
went into hiding in the Wombat Ranges to the
south-east of Euroa in 1878 where Ned killed
three constables during a confrontation (see
entry on Mansfield).
In December, Steve Hart was sent into Euroa
to ascertain the whereabouts of key buildings.
On December 9, the gang took over the Faithful
Creek sheep station, 7.5 km from Euroa, using it
as a base while they prepared for their first
bank robbery. 22 people were locked in a
storeroom which Byrne was left to guard. After
cutting the telegraph lines, the Kelly brothers
and Steve Hart proceeded to Euroa where, just on
closing time, they stuck up the National Bank
which was located at the corner of Binney and
Railway Sts (until it was, unfortunately,
demolished in 1975).
They stole 2000 pounds in cash and gold and
then took the bank manager, his mother, wife and
seven children, two servants and two tellers to
Faithful Creek station where they held them
until late in the evening. They were gentlemanly
and polite with their 'guests' and entertained
them with trick riding. Ned spoke at length by
way of explaining his actions and grievances and
he handed over a lengthy document which did the
same. It was to be mailed to politician Donald
Cameron whom they hoped would put their case
before parliament (which he did not).
At eight o'clock in the evening Ned declared
that nobody was to leave for three hours after
the gang's departure, on pain of death, then
they rode off into the Strathbogie mountains.
When one of the captives returned to Euroa he
was thought to be joking until the bank was
checked and it was found that the doors and safe
were open and nobody there. The next morning a
number of police and black trackers arrived from
Benalla by train. They were followed by a
contingent of militia who patrolled the streets
for 2 months for fear of a return though they
were drunken and troublesome. Detective Ward
appeared periodically unconvincingly disguised
in various garbs and guises.
As a result of the Euroa robbery the reward
was doubled and the gang's run was eventually
terminated at Glenrowan in June 1880 (see also
entry on Jerilderie).
Ned Kelly has become inextricably associated
with aspects of Australia's national mythology
and is a potent symbol of Australian larrikinism
and a widely felt disrespect for authority and
scepticism about the function of the law. Clive
Turnbull has observed: 'Ned Kelly is the best
known Australian, our only folk hero...Popular
instinct has found in Kelly a type of manliness
much to be esteemed - to reiterate: courage,
resolution, independence, sympathy with the
under-dog '; hence the saying 'as game as Ned
His story has been converted into numerous
tales and folk songs and was committed to film
as early as 1906. Noted Australian painter
Sidney Nolan also executed a distinguished
series of works focusing on Kelly in the 1940s
The Euroa Wool Week Festival is held in late
October in conjunction with the Agricultural
Show. Events include the Golden Shears
International Shearing Championships.
Things to see:
For tourist information ring the Nagambie
Visitors' Centre on (03) 5794 2647. It is open
Seven Creeks Park
Seven Creeks Park is located on either side of
the waterway that bisects the town and flows
under Tarcombe St in the town centre. It is a
pleasant picnic area with barbecue facilities.
Farmers Arms Museum
On the edge of the park, adjacent Kirkland Ave,
is the Farmers Arms Museum which is located in
the old Farmers Arms Hotel (1876). It has a
strong and well-organised collection of local
memorabilia, farm machinery and old buggies.
Adjacent is a small timber building that was
originally the National Bank building at
Longwood. The museum is open from Friday to
Monday and on holidays from 1.00 p.m. to 4.00
Miniature Steam Train
Miniature steam train rides are held in Turnbull
St on the fourth Sunday of the month.
The Forlonge Memorial was established in 1933 as
a tribute to Eliza Forlonge who introduced the
first fine-wool Saxon merino sheep into
Victoria. She hand-picked the sheep in Saxony
then had them shipped to Australia and
overlanded to Seven Creeks station near Euroa in
The memorial is located on her grave at the
foot of the Gardens Range. Head out of town on
the Euroa-Strathbogie Rd and turn right after 9
km onto the Forlonge Memorial Road. It is to the
left about 6 km along this road.
Mt Wombat Lookout
Mt Wombat Lookout offers excellent views of the
area from the plateau atop Mt Wombat (799 m). It
is located 20 km south-east, off the
Euroa-Strathbogie Rd. The turnoff is signposted
but 2WDs will only find the last section
accessible in dry weather.
Polly McQuinns Weir
This reservoir is well signposted to the south
of Strathbogie. Water cascades over rocks at
this lovely spot which is ideal for a country
Gooram Falls are located adjacent the Merton Rd
15 km south of Euroa (signposted).
Balloon Flights Victoria
Balloon Flights Victoria are based 10 km
south-west of town, tel: (03) 5798 5417.
Skydive Euroa are located on Drysdale Rd. They
are open weekends, tel: (03) 9432 2419.
Longwood, 14 km south-west (3 km north of the
freeway) was established a few years prior to
Euroa. It has a number of historic buildings,
especially the White Hart Hotel.