Attractive township built around Lake
Nagambie is a small town of around 1200 people,
situated at the southern end of the Goulburn
Valley, 123 km north of Melbourne on the
Goulburn Valley Highway, between Seymour and
Shepparton, and 130 metres above sea-level. The
townscape is dominated by picturesque Lake
Nagambie which lies beside the main street. The
area is given over to vineyards, cereal, sheep,
cattle, horse studs and tourism.
It has been claimed that either the
Natrakboolok, Ngooraialum or Thagungwurung
Aboriginal tribes occupied the land around what
became Nagambie. Whoever it was they were
clearly devastated and dispossessed by the
arrival of Europeans.
The first white men in the district belonged
to the party of explorer Thomas Mitchell which
crossed the Goulburn River just to the
south-west at what became Mitchellstown.
Overlanders followed in his footsteps and
therefore used the same river crossing, as did
the postman on the mail route from Melbourne to
Sydney, established in 1838. It was at this
crossing that John Clark (see entry on Seymour)
built the first licensed inn outside of
Melbourne in the territory that would later
become Victoria. That same year Mitchellstown
became the first inland townsite in Victoria to
be surveyed (though it never developed) and it
was here that the survivors of the massacre at
Benalla arrived, also in 1838.
An Aboriginal Protectorate was briefly
established at Mitchellstown in 1839 but was
moved the following year to what is now
Murchison. The land on which the town would
develop was taken up as a squatting run in 1845
by Hugh Glass and John Purcell. Chateau Tahbilk
was established in 1860 on a part of this run
with the help of French vigneron Ludovic Marie
who was also instrumental to the genesis of
A hotel, church and blacksmith were set up to
cater to the through-traffic of teamsters
journeying along the river system to Adelaide.
Glass had the township surveyed in 1868 by
Marie. Land sales proceeded in 1870 and it was
proclaimed as the private town of 'Nagambie' in
1872, said to be derived from a local Aboriginal
word meaning 'lagoon'.
When floods killed off the mine at Graytown
in 1870 many businesses relocated to Nagambie.
However, the arrival of the railway in 1880 had
a detrimental effect as Nagambie lost the coach
and teamster trade.
Annual events include a craft market on the
Nagambie median strip on Easter Saturday and the
first Saturday in December. The Goulburn Valley
Winemakers host two events: the Goulburn Valley
Vintage Weekend on the third weekend in March
and the Shiraz Challenge on the Melbourne Cup
Eve weekend in November, tel: (03) 5794 2710.
Things to see:
Nagambie Lakes Visitor Information Centre is
located at 145 High St in a building shared by
The Nut House which sells 50 varieties of nuts
as well as artwork and gifts. They are open
seven days from 9.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m., tel:
(03) 5794 2647.
The Nagambie Historical Museum has a collection
of material culture pertaining to the district.
It is situated within the old courthouse and
shire offices (1871) at the corner of High St
(the highway) and Vale St. There is a large
agricultural machinery shed at the rear. It is
open by appointment, tel: (03) 5794 2833.
The old Colonial Bank building now contains the
Colonial Doll Shop and Museum at 300 High St. It
has childhood memorabilia dating back to the
1860s, as well as sales of dolls, teddy bears,
doll houses and miniatures: both new and
collectable, tel: (03) 5794 1779.
St Malachy's Catholic Church
St Malachy's Catholic Church (1872) is located
in Church St which runs west off the highway.
River weir near Nagambie
Lake Nagambie was created by the construction of
Goulburn Weir (1887-90) and is fed by the
Goulburn River. The eastern shore runs alongside
the main street and grassy picnic areas have
been established on the lakeside, such as
Buckley Park, at the southern entrance to town,
which has a boat ramp, electric barbecues and a
safe swimming area.
Nearby, on the highway, is Jacobsons Outlook,
another good picnicking spot with fine views out
over the lake.
Waterskiing is permitted on the lake. In fact
there are waterskiing, speedboating, rowing and
yachting regattas throughout the year.
More out of the way, but quite delightful, is
the area near Kirivans Bridge which is
signposted off the highway, 4 km north of
Nagambie. Shortly prior to reaching the bridge
turn onto the dirt road which leads down to a
quiet section of the lake where there are
The river is navigable for 40 km south of
Nagambie. The Department of Conservation and
Natural Resources produces a pamphlet outlining
the sections of the river which are suitable for
canoeing. Trout and redfin fishing are also
Goulburn Weir was created between 1887 and 1890,
enabling the irrigation of the lower Goulburn
Valley and hence the expansion of agricultural
activity. The stone for the high dam walls and
facing was all cut by hand and hauled to the
site by horse and dray. There is a lovely picnic
ground with barbecue facilities located 11 km
north, off the Goulburn Valley Highway.
Wineries in the Area
David Traeger Wines
David Traeger Wines, established in 1986, are
located at 139 High St, at the southern end of
Nagambie. This is a small, family-owned winery
producing a cabernet sauvignon blend, shiraz,
cabernet dolce, riesling and verdelho. Tastings
take place in the historic 1870s cellar. They
are open daily from 10.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m., tel:
(03) 5794 2514.
Chateau Tahbilk, 8 km south-west of Nagambie
(off the Goulburn Valley Highway), is Victoria's
oldest family-owned winery and vineyard and one
of the oldest in the country. Picturesquely set
adjacent the Goulburn River and decorated with
exotic trees, it was built in 1860 with
extensions to the 100-metre cellar in 1875. The
stone and timber buildings have a charming
rustic feel, with the lovely tiered 30-metre
belltower an architectural highlight. They
produce a diverse selection of varietal table
wines including marsanne and a limited range of
sparkling and fortified wines. The cellar door
is open from 9.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. every day
but Sunday and public holidays when the hours
are 11.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m., tel: (03) 5794
2555. The Goulburn Valley Vintage Festival
isheld in March.
Mitchelton Winery, Mitchellstown
Mitchelton Winery, established in 1969, is
located on the Goulburn River 14 km south-west
of Nagambie on Mitchellstown Rd. The complex is
dominated by a 55-metre observation tower , with
viewing deck and cafe-style Preece Lounge, open
seasonally and available for private functions.
At ground level is the award-winning Mitchelton
Winebar Restaurant which is open daily for
lunch. There is also an art gallery, underground
cellars, tours by arrangement, picnic areas,
electric barbecues and gift shop. The cellar
door is open seven days from 10.00 a.m. to 5.00
p.m. and it specialises in shiraz, marsanne and
riesling. There is also a rare viognier
roussanne and a mourvedre grenache shiraz.
Brands include Print Shiraz, Mitchelton,
Blackwood Park, Preece and Goulburn Valley, tel:
(03) 5794 2710. For the restaurant ring (03)
5794 2388. The Goulburn Valley Vintage Festival
isheld in March. The Great Australian Shiraz
Challenge (hosted by 7 wineries in the Nagambie
district) is in November.
Twelve Acres Winery, Bailieston
Twelve Acres Winery, established in 1994, is
located 16 km north-west of Nagambie at
Bailieston, on the Nagambie-Rushworth Rd. It is
a tiny winery specialising in red wines
(cabernet, merlot and shiraz) and is open from
10.00 a.m. to 6.00 p.m. Thursday to Monday,
except in July when it is only open on weekends
only, tel: (03) 5794 2020. There are picnic and
Bailieston is named after J. Bailey, the
first landowner in the district. The village
developed out of the Coy gold diggings which got
under way in the 1850s. The township's most
famous son was famous Australian cyclist Hubert
Opperman who attended Bailieston school.
Goulburn River Cruises
A different way to visit Chateau Tahbilk and the
Mitchelton winery is by boat. Goulburn River
Cruises offer trips along the river to the
wineries in question with lunches available.
They are also available for charters and
floodlit evening cruises.For timetables and
fares ring (03) 5794 2877.
Carlinvale Boat Hire and Country Kitchen
Carlinvale Boat Hire and Country Kitchen have
boats for hire and they offer light meals,
picnic hampers and Devonshire teas in a tranquil
riverside garden on Wattlevale Rd, tel: (03)
Mt Black Lookout
Mount Black Lookout has fine views and picnic
areas to the west of town. Follow the Heathcote
Rd then take the signposted turnoff just before
Balloon Flights are available in the district
from Balloon Flights Vic