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Agriculture on the Wimmera Plains



The Wimmera Region of Victoria lies in the west-central part of the state covering 36 and 37 degrees south and is bordered to the west by South Australia, to the north by the Mallee Region, to the south by the Western District and to the east by the Central Region. The Region is 30 thousand square kilometres in area, 13 per cent of the Victoria's landmass, with four per cent of its population. Average rainfall varies across the region, ranging from more than 600 mm in the south-west to around 350 mm in the north-east, with most falling in spring. Average temperatures are 13.5C minimum and maximum 30C in summer and 3.7C minimum and 13.3C maximum in winter.

The Jochinke farm is located in the centre of the townships of Dimboola, Horsham and Warracknabeal.  Each of these towns are also in different shires Dimboola - Hindmarsh, Horsham - Horsham Rural City Council and Warracknabeal - Yarriambiack.  The farm is roughly located 30 km out of Horsham on the Blue Ribbon Road. The area that the farm is located in is called Murra Warra which is aboriginal for 'Place with no water'.


Dimboola, the town immortalised in the Australian film of the same name, is the Eastern Gateway to the Little Desert. The town is set on the Wimmera River under big river red gums and home to an annual rowing regatta held in November. The lawn covered banks of the river are a relaxing place to throw in a line, while platypus and their young are frequently seen at dusk, returning to their burrows along the river banks.

Dimboola comes from the Ceylonese word 'Dimbula' meaning 'Land of Figs'. William Lloyd is credited with establishing the town of Dimboola in 1859 by building a store and hotel. Then known as "Nine Creeks", it was later changed to Dimboola.

In nearby Antwerp you will find the Ebenezer Mission, founded in 1858 by Moravian missionaries in an effort to Christianise the local Aboriginal peoples. Today it stands in ruins. It's pale pink stone buildings are surrounded by wheatfields and bush. A tiny cemetery contains graves of Mission Koories and Lutheran priests. An Antwerp Koorie, Bobby Kinnear, who won the rich Stawell Gift footrace in 1883, is buried here. His grave is marked by a Koorie monument erected in 1985 by the Goolum Goolum Aboriginal Co-operative to remember local Koories. The National Trust is preserving the building.

Dimboola is approximately 350kms north-west of Melbourne, Victoria
Pop: 1560
Hindmarsh Shire Council

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Horsham is situated on the banks of the beautiful Wimmera River, and is the unofficial capital and commercial centre of the Wimmera. Hosting one of the largest ranges of Service Industries to be found anywhere in Rural Australia, Horsham is centrally located to Mt Arapiles - Tooan State Park, Little Desert National Park, Black Ranges State Park and the Northern Grampians. To the south of the city, an extensive lakes and waterways system offers great fishing.

The town was named after Horsham in Sussex by James Darlot, commonly regarded as the founder of the Wimmera. Darlot persuaded Melbourne interests to set up a store and post office in 1849, from which grew the progressive township.  Although originally opened up for grazing purposes, the Wimmera lands became better known for wheat production, made possible by the introduction of superphosphate in 1903 and the Federation wheat strain in 1904.  Local foundries sprang up to service the new industry. Land for agriculture was made available after WW1 and WW2 to returned servicemen with some farming experience. Horsham was proclaimed a town in 1932, fifty years after it's birth, and in 1949 it was declared a city.

Horsham is located 301km north-west of Melbourne
Pop: 18,000

Horsham Rural City Council

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Warracknabeal is a thriving rural commercial township at the centre of the major grain growing area of the state. Wheat and barley remain the cash crops, but canola, peas, beans and lupins provide the diversity. The town's Aboriginal name means 'the place of big red gums shading the watercourse'.

The first to occupy land around the future Warracknabeal township, were the Scott brothers, who in 1845 moved to a spot on Yarriambiack Creek, which they called "Warracknabeal", after the Aboriginal word describing the gum trees shading the watercourse.  There they established their "run" or station. Under the Scott's, the total area of the Station was reported to be up to 124,000 acres and supported up to 100,000 sheep.  Many of the early settlers found their properties overrun with wild dogs, rabbits, kangaroos, emus and wild horses but a recurring shortage of water was their biggest problem.  Finally the government was able to construct the channel system and provide permanent water and the district never looked back.  Six buildings in the town have been classified by the National Trust. The Post Office in Scott Street is an attractive example of Tudor style architecture. It was built in 1909 and remains a unique feature of the shopping centre.

Warracknabeal is 330kms north-west of Melbourne
Pop: 2400
Yarriambiack Shire Council

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