The Goulburn Valley is a region of Victoria, Australia. The region consists of those areas in the catchment of the Goulburn River and other nearby streams, and is part of the Murray-Darling Basin. The Goulburn Valley is bordered on the south by the Great Dividing Range and to the north by the Murray River, the state border with New South Wales. The region is one of Australia's most productive and intensively farmed areas and is predominantly irrigated.
Major transport routes through the Goulburn Valley region include the Goulburn Valley Highway, Midland Highway and the Murray Valley Highway. Passenger rail services are provided from Melbourne to Shepparton and Echuca by V/Line.
Aboriginal groups inhabited the Goulburn Valley region prior to European settlement. In the central Goulburn around Nagambie, these groups are said to have included the Natrakboolok, Ngooraialum or Thagungwurung tribes. Downstream, at Shepparton, the area was inhabited by the Yorta Yorta people.
Industries in the Goulburn Valley include agricultural activities such as fruit growing and dairying, which supply processing plants in Shepparton and outlying towns such as Strathmerton and Tongala. This extensive food processing industry allows the region to produce around 25% of Victoria's rural output. The SPC Ardmona plant, founded in 1917 in Shepparton, is one of the world's largest fruit canneries. Other important agricultural activities include woolgrowing and cropping. Water for irrigation is sourced from Lake Eildon and Goulburn Weir, with Lake Eildon supplying over half the water used in the Shepparton irrigation district.
The Goulburn Valley is also a significant wine region. Wine production began in the region in 1860. A syndicate raised £25,000 to develop the Tahbilk winery. By 1875 a thriving trade with England had been established, and the winery was producing the equivalent of 70,000 cases of wine per year. Due to the sandy soil, Tahbilk was able to withstand the spread of Phylloxera, and in 1925 was the only winery in the area. As a result, the region is home to the oldest and largest plantings of Marsanne grape variety in the world. Other major wine varieties grown today include Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Riesling and a Shiraz of awesome flavour and longevity. As well as Tahbilk, other major wineries include Michelton near Nagambie in the south and Monichino near Katunga in the north.
Local government in the region is provided by the City of Greater Shepparton and the Shires of Moira, Campaspe and Strathbogie. The region is represented at the federal level in the Australian House of Representatives by the Division of Murray as well as parts of the Divisions of McEwen and Indi. At the state level, the region includes the Electoral districts of Shepparton, Rodney, Murray Valley, Benalla and Seymour.
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