Counties of Victoria

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1877 map of the counties of Victoria

The Australian state of Victoria is divided into 37 counties. They are part of the lands administrative divisions of Australia. These counties were gazetted in stages between 1849 and 1871 as Victoria was progressively opened up to European settlement. By 1890 all parish boundaries had been gazetted. Unlike counties in the United States and the United Kingdom, Victoria's counties have no administrative or political function. They exist purely as cadastral units: used for the purposes of identifying the location of any piece of land. The counties are furthermore divided into 2914 parishes and townships.

The county names have also been traditionally used as names for electoral districts, although these districts seldom have boundaries coinciding exactly with county boundaries. The Victorian Legislative Assembly has electoral districts called Benambra, Evelyn, Lowan, Mornington, Polwarth and Ripon. Abolished electoral districts include Anglesey, Bogong, Borung, Dalhousie, Delatite, Dundas, Evelyn and Mornington, Grant, Grenville, Gunbower, Hampden, Kara Kara, Moira, Normanby, Rodney, Talbot and Villiers and Heytesbury. The counties are also related to the boundaries for the Victorian forecast districts.[1]

Naming of the counties[edit]

1852 map of eastern Victoria, showing seven proposed counties

The majority of the counties proclaimed prior to 1871 were named after British politicians. The counties formed from the Gipps Land District, Loddon Land District, Murray Land District and Wimmera Land District proclaimed in 1871 were all given aboriginal names.

Earlier maps of Gippsland area in the eastern part of the state show proposed counties of Douro (a title of the Duke of Wellington), Bass, Haddington, Bruce, Abinger, Combermere and Howe with approximate boundaries. These counties are shown on several early maps such as 1845 map[2] and 1848 map.[3] They were presumably changed in the mid-1860s, as they appear on maps up until 1864,[4] but the new counties appear on an 1865 map.[5] This was during the period of the liberal Government (1863-1868) of Premier James McCulloch.

Land districts[edit]

Victoria was also divided into land districts in the nineteenth century, as shown on an 1864 map.[6] The land districts were used as the names for parts of the state where no counties had been proclaimed yet. The land districts included:

  • Bourke Land District (Melbourne area, including the County of Bourke)
  • Geelong (or Grant) Land District
  • Gipps Land District (name for the area today is still Gippsland)
  • Loddon Land District
  • Murray Land District
  • Normanby Land District [7]
  • Western Land District
  • Wimmera Land District (the southern part still called the Wimmera today)

List of Victorian counties[edit]

Map showing the names of the counties

There have been 5 years in the history of the state of Victoria in which counties have been proclaimed or changed: 1849, 1853, 1869, 1870 and 1871. Below is a list of the counties including the year they were proclaimed.[8]

Year County name
1849 Anglesey
1871 Benambra
1869 Bendigo
1871 Bogong
1871 Borung
1853 Bourke
1871 Buln Buln
1871 Croajingolong
1849 Dalhousie
1871 Dargo
1871 Delatite
1849 Dundas
1849 Evelyn
1849 Follett
1870 Gladstone
1853 Grant
1849 Grenville
1871 Gunbower
1849 Hampden
1849 Heytesbury
1871 Kara Kara
1871 Karkarooc
1871 Lowan
1871 Millewa
1871 Moira
1849 Mornington
1853 Normanby
1849 Polwarth
1849 Ripon
1871 Rodney
1849 Talbot
1871 Tambo
1871 Tanjil
1871 Tatchera
1849 Villiers
1871 Weeah
1871 Wonnangatta

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Victorian Forecast Areas Map". Bureau of Meteorology. Commonwealth of Australia. 
  2. ^ Rapkin, John (1845). "Australia". National Library of Australia. London. 
  3. ^ "(No 2.) outline map shewing the positions of the proposed New Counties in the Port Phillip district which will be ready for Proclamation before the end of the Year 1848". National Library of Australia. London: J. Arrowsmith. 1948. 
  4. ^ Bartholomew, John (1864). "Victoria". National Library of Australia. London; Liverpool: George Philip & Son. 
  5. ^ Victoria. Dept. of Crown Lands and Survey (1865). "Map of Victoria". National Library of Australia. Melbourne: Dept. of Lands & Survey. 
  6. ^ Stephens, W. B. (1864). "Stephens' new map of Victoria". National Library of Australia. Melbourne: W. B. Stephens. 
  7. ^ Skene, Alexander James (1945). "Map of the district of Geelong". Geelong, Victoria: Jas. Harrison, Advertiser Office. 
  8. ^ "List of the Counties in the State of Victoria - 1910". Rootsweb Genealogy. 2000. Retrieved 2008-09-20.