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Echuca Anglican Church-1 (cropped).jpg
Echuca-Moama rail bridge Stevage.jpg
Hotel -- IMG 2196.jpg
Echuca is located in Shire of Campaspe
Coordinates36°08′0″S 144°45′0″E / 36.13333°S 144.75000°E / -36.13333; 144.75000Coordinates: 36°08′0″S 144°45′0″E / 36.13333°S 144.75000°E / -36.13333; 144.75000
Population14,934 (2018)[1]
Elevation96 m (315 ft)
LGA(s)Shire of Campaspe
State electorate(s)Murray Plains
Federal division(s)Nicholls
Mean max temp Mean min temp Annual rainfall
22.2 °C
72 °F
9.3 °C
49 °F
428.4 mm
16.9 in

Echuca (/əˈkə/ ə-CHOO-kə)[2] is a town on the banks of the Murray River and Campaspe River in Victoria, Australia. The border town of Moama is adjacent on the northern side of the Murray River in New South Wales. Echuca is the administrative centre and largest settlement in the Shire of Campaspe. As at June 2018, Echuca had a population of 14,934,[1] and the population of the combined Echuca and Moama townships was 21,242[3]

Echuca lies within traditional Yorta Yorta country. The town's name is a Yorta Yorta word meaning "meeting of the waters".[4] Echuca is close to the junction of the Goulburn, Campaspe, and Murray Rivers. Its position at the closest point of the Murray to Melbourne contributed to its development as a thriving river port city during the 19th century.



The riverine plains of the Goulburn Broken catchment are the traditional lands of the Yorta Yorta Nation.[5] Their population before European contact is estimated to have been approximately 2400.[6] The Yorta Yorta were dispossessed of their traditional lands and left to eke out an existence on the edges of European settlements as remnant tribal groups.[7]

Present-day Echuca was founded by one of the most enterprising figures of the early colonial period, an ex-convict named Henry Hopwood. In 1850 he purchased a small punt to ferry people and goods across the Murray River near the Campaspe junction. The small settlement known as Hopwood's Ferry grew to become the town of Echuca. The Hopwood's Punt Post Office opened around 1854 and was renamed Echuca Post Office on 1 January 1855.[8]

Australia's inland port[edit]

By the 1870s Echuca had risen to prominence as Australia's largest inland port. Being the point of shortest distance between the Murray River and the major city of Melbourne, Echuca was both a key river port and railway junction. Steam-driven paddleboats would arrive at the 332-metre long redgum Echuca Wharf, which were unloaded by hydraulic crane, and the goods then transported by rail to Melbourne. Wool, wheat, other grains, livestock, and timber were the most common commodities transported to Echuca. The wharf has been listed as a Heritage Place on the Australian National Heritage List.

This industrial boom led to a rapidly expanding population, at one stage in excess of 6000, with more than a hundred pubs/hotels rumoured to exist in the Echuca district at one time. An iron bridge was constructed over the Murray River in 1878 by the NSW Railways Department.[9]


The expansion of the railways from Melbourne to most parts of Victoria, as well as improvements to roads and fickle river conditions all combined to lessen Echuca's importance, and by the 1890s the paddlesteamer fleet was in decline. An economic depression and the collapse of several banks virtually ended Echuca's role as a major economic centre, and its population began to disperse.


As of June 2018, there were 14,934 people in Echuca.

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people made up 3.5% of the population.
  • 84.7% of people were born in Australia. The next most common countries of birth were England 1.8% and New Zealand 1.0%.
  • 89.7% of people spoke only English at home.
  • The most common responses for religion were No Religion 30.7%, Catholic 24.2% and Anglican 16.8%[10]



Echuca has a semi-arid climate (BSk) with Mediterranean climate (Csa) tendencies.

Climate data for Echuca RSL
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 45.3
Average high °C (°F) 31.1
Average low °C (°F) 15.0
Record low °C (°F) 5.0
Average precipitation mm (inches) 27.5
Average precipitation days 3.9 3.7 4.6 5.9 8.3 10.3 11.5 11.4 9.5 8.3 6.0 5.1 88.5
Source: [11]


Campaspe Shire Council Building

Echuca is the administrative centre for the Campaspe Shire Council.[12]

At the state level, Echuca is represented by the Electoral district of Murray Plains.

At the federal level, Echuca is represented by the Division of Nicholls.


The main industry in Echuca is tourism; it earns about $250 million a year for the Echuca economy. Visitors are attracted to the town by its warm climate, the Murray River and its paddle steamers, recreational attractions, and historical features, some of which have come to public awareness by the Nancy Cato novel All the Rivers Run which was made into a TV miniseries. These include the Port of Echuca which has the world's largest fleet of operating paddle steamers.[citation needed]

Echuca is also a major regional service economy.

Agriculture is very important to the region. Dairy, wheat, sheep, pig, and cattle farms are all within close proximity.


Paddle steamers[edit]

The port is home to the largest paddle steamer fleet in the world, which includes the world's oldest operating wooden hulled paddle steamer, the PS Adelaide built in 1866. There are several historic vessels operating out of Echuca on a daily commercial basis such as PS Pevensey (built 1911), PS Alexander Arbuthnot (built 1923), PS Adelaide (built 1866) operating from Echuca Wharf itself and the PS Emmylou (built 1980 with a steam engine in use from 1906), PS Canberra (built 1913) and PV Pride of the Murray (built 1924 as a logging barge C24) operating from Riverboat Dock, a short distance downstream from the main wharf. These vessels conduct between 4-6 1 hour cruises daily, while the PS Emmylou offers lunch, dinner, and scenic cruises. There are also a number of privately owned paddle steamers in Echuca, including the PS Hero, PS Henry Charles, and the former Church of England mission steamer, PS Etona.[13] As well as the paddle steamers there are numerous houseboats, many of which can be hired. The MV Mary Ann (built 1981) operates as a cruising restaurant all year round.

The Port of Echuca is also restoring the PS Success to full working order. When operational, it will be added to the fleet of paddle steamers at Echuca Wharf.[14]

Events and festivals[edit]

Annual events held in Echuca include the Southern 80 waterski race, the largest waterski race in the world (February), the Riverboats Music Festival (February),[15] the Echuca-Moama Weddings Expo (May),[16] the Echuca Rotary Steam, Horse and Vintage Rally (Queens Birthday weekend in June)[17] and WinterBlues Festival (July).[18][19]

In popular culture[edit]

In 1984, the Australian television mini-series, All the Rivers Run, based on a novel by Nancy Cato and starring Sigrid Thornton and John Waters, was filmed in and around Echuca. The local paddle steamers PS Pevensey and PS Emmylou featured in the mini-series as the PS Philadelphia and PS Providence, respectively. The airing of this series around Australia and internationally revitalised Echuca's tourism economy.

In 1985, parts of the Australian telemovie My Brother Tom (based on the book by James Aldridge) were filmed in Echuca.

In the TV series Glitch, Vic, the district supervisor for the police forces of Echuca, the fictional Yoorana, and surrounding communities, is based in Echuca.

The ABC aired an episode of Get Krack!n on 6 February 2019 satirising morning television segments about regional food and wine tourism. There was some concern locally about how the episode depicted the town and its effect on tourism, although the intent of the segment was to "[poke] fun at commercial morning breakfast shows and their often-condescending portrayal of rural and regional areas".[20]

Restaurants and dining[edit]

Echuca has a variety of restaurants.[21] Some that have been featured in the Age Good Food Guide include The Mill,[22] Black Pudding Deli[23] and Port 53.[24][25]

A major dining attraction in Echuca was the well known wharf-side restaurant Oscar W's.[26] It held a reputation for fine dining and was awarded a Chef's Hat in the 2013 Australian Good Food and Travel Guide[27] and had previously been awarded a hat by The Age Good Food Guide.[28] It closed in 2014.[29]


The Echuca-Moama Road Rail Bridge.

Echuca is connected over the Murray River to Moama by the Echuca-Moama Road Rail Bridge, completed in 1878. This historically significant bridge has riveted iron spans supported on cast iron pillars.[30] Trains no longer run on this bridge; a dedicated rail bridge has been constructed next to the old bridge, which now only carries road vehicles.

A second Murray River crossing is currently being constructed. The project is due to be completed in 2024.[31]

Echuca-Moama Transit runs three bus services hourly to Echuca East, Echuca South and Moama. The terminus is the Old Echuca Post Office on Hare Street. V/Line operates the Echuca line rail service from the local station to Melbourne via Bendigo. Echuca Airport is also located nearby.[32]



The local newspaper, The Riverine Herald is published by McPherson Media Group[33] three days a week.


Community radio station EMFM broadcasts in Echuca on the frequency of 104.7FM.


The historic Echuca Primary School building

Echuca is served by several primary schools: 208 Primary School, Echuca East Primary School, Echuca Specialist School, St. Mary's Primary School and the newly constructed Twin Rivers Primary School (opened in 2018). Twin Rivers was formed by merging the former Echuca West and Echuca South Primary schools, and shares a place with Echuca Twin River Specialist School (formerly Echuca Specialist School)

Echuca has two high schools. Echuca College, a state secondary college, was formed in 2006 by the amalgamation of Echuca Technical College and Echuca High School. St. Joseph's College, a Catholic co-ed secondary school, occupies the site of a former Brigidine convent which opened in 1886.[34] Moama Anglican Grammar School, just over the border in NSW also attracts students from Echuca.[35]

Bendigo TAFE has a campus in Echuca, offering education up to Diploma level in various fields.[36]


The town has two Australian rules football clubs. The Murray Bombers competes in the Goulburn Valley Football League,[37] while the Echuca United competes in the Murray Football League.

The town is also home to the Echuca Rockets, an inclusive all ability football team competing in the Victorian FIDA Football League - Northern Conference.[38]

Echuca has numerous other teams competing in regional and state sporting leagues, including netball, soccer, and field hockey. Echuca formerly fielded a Baseball team, the Rich River Mariners, who played in the Goulburn Valley Baseball League.[39] The team disbanded in 2006.

Echuca has a horse racing club, the Echuca Racing Club, which schedules around twelve race meetings a year including the Echuca Cup meeting in March.[40]

Echuca Harness Racing Club conducts regular meetings at its racetrack in the town.[41]

Golfers play at the Echuca Back Nine Golf Course on Eyre and McKenzie Streets.[42]

Water sports:

In 2006 the Inaugural Barry Beehag race was established in honour of Barry Beehag, a founding and life member of the Moama Water Sports Club.[43]

Notable people[edit]

Sister city[edit]

Echuca's sister city was Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada.[50] However, Whitehorse terminated the special relationship in 2008 due to the relationship being "strictly ceremonial in nature".[51]


  1. ^ a b "3218.0 – Regional Population Growth, Australia, 2016: Population Estimates by Statistical Area Level 2 (ASGS 2016), 2017 to 2018". Australian Bureau of Statistics. Australian Bureau of Statistics. 27 March 2019. Retrieved 4 November 2019. Estimated resident population, 30 June 2018.
  2. ^ Macquarie Dictionary, Fourth Edition (2005). Melbourne, The Macquarie Library Pty Ltd. ISBN 1-876429-14-3
  3. ^ "3218.0 – Regional Population Growth, Australia, 2017-18: Population Estimates by Significant Urban Area, 2008 to 2018". Australian Bureau of Statistics. Australian Bureau of Statistics. 27 March 2019. Retrieved 25 October 2019. Estimated resident population, 30 June 2018.
  4. ^ "Proud past". Official website. Shire of Campaspe. Retrieved 19 April 2018.
  5. ^
  6. ^ "Trove".
  7. ^ "Long history behind Yorta Yorta land claim". 6 September 2016.
  8. ^ Premier Postal History, Post Office List, retrieved 11 April 2008
  9. ^ Hughes Trueman Reinhold 1998, Murray River Crossings Heritage Assessment Report Echuca-Moama Bridge, prepared for the Roads and Traffic Authority NSW
  10. ^ Australian Bureau of Statistics (27 June 2017). "Echuca - Moama (Echuca Part)". 2016 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 27 October 2017. Edit this at Wikidata
  11. ^ "Climate statistics for". Bureau of Meteorology. Retrieved 20 January 2014.
  12. ^
  13. ^ "Explore the Region | Paddle Steamers | Echuca Moama".
  14. ^ "P.S. Success". Port of Echuca. Archived from the original on 9 April 2013. Retrieved 22 May 2012.
  15. ^ "FAQS".
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^ Echuca Moama Tourism
  20. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 27 June 2019. Retrieved 27 June 2019.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  21. ^ "Taste | Echuca Moama | the Murray's Living Legend".
  22. ^
  23. ^[user-generated source]
  24. ^
  25. ^ "Search".
  26. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 15 July 2015. Retrieved 5 August 2015.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  27. ^ "The 20 Best Echuca-Moama,VIC Restaurants, Restaurants in Echuca-Moama".
  28. ^ "Good Food Guide 2013 | the Age".
  29. ^ "Acclaimed restaurant to close doors". 23 May 2014.
  30. ^ "Heritage and Conservation Register".
  31. ^ "Echuca-Moama Bridge Project". 7 December 2021.
  32. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 6 June 2019. Retrieved 27 June 2019.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  33. ^
  34. ^ "Welcome to St Joseph's College".
  35. ^
  36. ^ "Echuca campus".
  37. ^ Full Points Footy, Echuca, archived from the original on 24 July 2008, retrieved 25 July 2008
  38. ^ "Home Page - Echuca Moama Rockets".
  39. ^
  40. ^ Country Racing Victoria, Echuca Racing Club, archived from the original on 19 July 2008, retrieved 7 May 2009
  41. ^ Australian Harness Racing, Echuca, retrieved 11 May 2009
  42. ^ Golf Select, Echuca Back Nine, retrieved 11 May 2009
  43. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 6 February 2013. Retrieved 21 January 2013.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  44. ^ McCarthy, Susan (1972). Hopwood, Henry (1813–1869). Australian Dictionary of Biography. Australian National University. Retrieved 30 March 2015.
  45. ^ Rolfe, Amanda (1986). McKenzie, Hugh (1853–1942). Australian Dictionary of Biography. Australian National University. Retrieved 30 March 2015.
  46. ^
  47. ^ "Bio".
  48. ^ "Echuca boy enjoys star role in Gallipoli". 10 February 2015.
  49. ^[dead link]
  50. ^ Oke, Chris (21 June 2008). "Australians surprised by sister city snub". Yukon News. Retrieved 8 September 2013.
  51. ^ Oke, Chris (7 June 2008). "Whitehorse dumps two sister cities". Yukon News. Retrieved 8 September 2013.

External links[edit]

Media related to Echuca at Wikimedia Commons