Attractive town on the Murray River
Robinvale is a picturesque border town of some
1800 people, surrounded on three sides by the
twisting tendrils of the Murray River which
extends 2530 km from north-eastern Victoria to
the coast of South Australia, forming the bulk
of the Victoria-NSW border. This makes it one of
the longest navigable rivers in the world with a
catchment area covering 14 per cent of the
continent. The local section is quite attractive
and is popular with anglers. The town's huge
median strips are so wide you almost need to
pack a lunch to travel from one side of the road
to the other. They are actually broader than the
roads on either side.
Robinvale is located 480 km north-west of
Melbourne on the Murray Valley Highway, 136 km
north-west of Swan Hill and 83 km south-east of
Bumbang Island, which is diagonally opposite
the north-eastern corner of town, contains clear
evidence of pre-colonial settlement. It is
thought the earlier inhabitants were the
In 1830 explorer Charles Sturt and his party
became the first known Europeans in the area. He
was followed by surveyor Thomas Mitchell in
1836. The first settler in the district was
Edmund Morey who established the 'Euston'
station in 1846. The following year, John Grant
obtained 19 000 acres at what is now Robinvale,
naming the station 'Bumbang'. His property was
sold at the end of the century to A.J. Creswick
who was one of the area's early wheat-growers.
The first successful steamboat voyage up the
Murray passed by the future townsite in 1853,
thereby triggering Australia's inland river
In 1912 Herbert Cuttle settled on the future
townsite with his family. The railway from
Bendigo arrived in 1924, plans were made for a
bridge over the river, and work on the weir and
lock began. Consequently, Cuttle subdivided his
land and allotments were advertised for sale in
Melbourne in 1924 with a special train organised
so that prospective buyers could attend the
auction. A townsite was surveyed and named by
Cuttle after his son, George Robin Cuttle, who
was killed during air combat over France in the
First World War.
Although the railway closed in 1943, soldier
settlement took place here in 1947 with a view
to developing grape and citrus-growing. Herbert
Cuttle Jnr, who did much to facilitate the
development of the town, established a large
olive grove in the late 1940s. Today, it is the
state's largest olive plantation and a major
supplier of the country's olive products.
Citrus fruits, vegetables, almonds,
pistachios and wheat are also grown. One of the
mainstays of the local economy is the dried
fruit industry, managed by a co-op formed in
The Bumbang Crafters' Festival is held in
Things to see:
The Robinvale-Euston Information Centre in
Bromley Rd can help you with local information
and they also sell local craftwork and produce.
Opening hours are 9.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m.
weekdays and 9.00 a.m. to 12.00 p.m. Saturdays,
tel: (03) 5026 1388.
Driving into Robinvale from the north (or
heading out of town towards New South Wales)
there is a caravan park on the southern bank of
the river. Turning down River Rd towards the
caravan park the visitor will notice a huge
windmill, erected in 1948 to supply the town
with water. At 18.3 m, it is supposedly the
largest in the Southern Hemisphere. There are
good views of the bridge and the river.
Continuing along River Rd, past the entrance to
the caravan park and along the bank of the
Murray, there is a pleasant private house called
'Robinswood', erected on the site of Bumbang
homestead (c.1847). Set in pleasant gardens with
distinctive palm trees, it was built c. 1926 as
the home of the town founder, Herbert Cuttle.
Both house and town were named in memory of
Lieutenant George Robin Cuttle, killed in action
during air combat over France in 1918.
Consequently, Robinvale was twinned with the
French town of Villers-Bretonneux, located near
the site of Cuttle's death. In fact, the school
at the French town was rebuilt with money raised
by the Victorian government and an appeal
organised by local schoolchildren.
Although better than most of the houses in
town, at the time of its construction, this is
really an ordinary brick-and-stucco middle-class
dwelling of its period. Inside are historical
items relating to the French connection. It can
be opened for inspection by contacting the
caretaker who lives next door.
Indigenous Garden and Bumbang Island
Also on River Rd is the newly-formed Aboriginal
Indigenous Garden and nearby is Bumbang Island
which contains a number of important historic
items such as middens and canoe trees but it is
only accessible by boat and only by permission.
However, both sites are owned and have been
developed by the local Koori community and
permission must be obtained before entry is
attempted. For further information ring the
Koori craft shop where in Perrin St on (03) 5026
Euston Weir and Lock 15 are located on the
south-western edge of town at the end of Pethard
Rd. Built to store water for irrigation, it
features a fish ladder which allows fish to jump
over the weir. There are picnic-barbecue
facilities, pleasant lawns and shelters.
One of McWilliams largest vineyards is located
near the Robinvale Producer's Co-operative in
Moore St which runs parallel with the highway on
the other side of the railway line. It was
established in 1961 and specialises in a cream
sherry made almost entirely from local grapes.
The tasting room is an old log cabin from the
'Prill' property near Euston. It is open
weekdays from 9.00 a.m. to 12.00 p.m. and from
1.00 p.m. to 4.00 p.m. Tours of the winery can
be arranged by appointment only, tel: (03) 5026
Robinvale Organic and Bio-Dynamic Wines
Free wine-tasting and sales are available at
Robinvale Winery, 5 km south of town on the Sea
Lake Rd. Established in 1976 it produces a large
range of wines, non-alcoholic beverages, pure
grape juices and a range of biodynamic, organic
and preservative-free wines. They are open from
9.00 a.m. to 6.00 p.m. every day but Sunday when
they open from 1.00 p.m. to 6.00 p.m.. There is
a children's playground, tel: (03) 5026 3955.
Belsar Island is a remote state forest area
containing floodplain vegetation and waterways.
Swimming, bushwalking and fishing can all be
enjoyed. The access road is signposted from the
Murray Valley Highway to the south of Robinvale.
Kyndalyn Park Almond Farm is located off the
Murray Valley Highway at Kyndalyn, 23 km
south-east of Robinvale. It supplies 30% of
Australia's almond market. There are door sales
of dry-roasted, scorched and smoked almonds and
a video which details the entire process. If you
want to see 200 000 trees in bloom, mid to late
August is the best time to visit, tel: (03) 5026
About 45 km south-east of Robinvale along the
Murray Valley Highway is the small town of
Boundary Bend. A dry-weather gravel road heads
off the Murray Valley Highway to the junction of
Australia's two biggest rivers, the Murrumbidgee
and the Murray. The store can help you to
pinpoint the track.
Wilga Park Flora and Fauna Sanctuary
65 km south-east of Robinvale is a 12-ha flora
reserve of drought-resistant native trees,
shrubs and wildflowers from around Australia. It
is signposted off the Murray Valley Highway.
15 km north-east of town, just off the Sturt
Highway, in NSW, is Lake Benanee, a pleasant
swimming and water sports spot with sandy