Coordinates: 36°08′0″S 144°45′0″E / 36.13333°S 144.75000°E / -36.13333; 144.75000
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Echuca is located in Shire of Campaspe
Coordinates36°08′0″S 144°45′0″E / 36.13333°S 144.75000°E / -36.13333; 144.75000
Population15,056 (2021 census)[1]
 • Density107.47/km2 (278.34/sq mi)
Elevation96 m (315 ft)
Area140.1 km2 (54.1 sq mi)
Time zoneAEST (UTC+10)
 • Summer (DST)AEDT (UTC+11)
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 of the 2021 census, Echuca had a population of 15,056,[1] and the population of the combined Echuca and Moama townships was 22,568.[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. 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.[6]

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.[7]

Australia's inland port[edit]

By the 1870s, Echuca had risen to prominence as Australia's largest inland port.[citation needed] 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. Paddle steamers would arrive at the 332-metre long redgum Echuca Wharf, were unloaded by hydraulic crane, and the goods then transported by rail to Melbourne.[citation needed] 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, from 26 inhabitants in 1854 to 4789 during the peak year of 1871. More than 80 pubs/hotels serviced the needs of the town, but it is rumoured that many more sly-grog shops, wine shanties, and beer houses, circumventing licensing laws existed in the area. An iron bridge was constructed over the Murray River in 1878 by the NSW Railways Department.[8]


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 paddle steamer 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 the 2021 census, there were 15,056 people in Echuca.[1]

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people made up 4.1% of the population.
  • 85.3% of people were born in Australia. The next most common countries of birth were England 1.7% and New Zealand 1.1%.
  • 89.4% of people spoke only English at home.
  • The most common responses for religion were No Religion 42.7%, Catholic 21.8% and Anglican 12.4%.


Situated at the junction of the Murray and Campaspe Rivers, Echuca lies on the Northern Plains Grassland. It is flood prone.[9] In Yorta Yorta, the name Echuca translates as “meeting of the waters”.[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
Mean daily maximum °C (°F) 31.1
Mean daily minimum °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.[citation needed] Visitors are attracted to the town by its climate, the Murray River and its paddle steamers, recreational attractions, several festivals 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.

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.[citation needed]


Paddle steamers[edit]

PS Pevensey

The port is home to the largest paddle steamer fleet in the world, which includes the world's oldest operating wooden hulled paddle steamer, 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, 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 four to six 1-hour cruises daily, while Emmylou offers lunch, dinner, and scenic cruises. There are also a number of privately owned paddle steamers in Echuca, including 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. MV Mary Ann (built 1981) operates as a cruising restaurant all year round.

The Port of Echuca is also restoring 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 1983, 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 Pevensey and Emmylou featured in the mini-series as PS Philadelphia and PS Providence, respectively. The airing of this series around Australia and internationally revitalised Echuca's tourism economy.[citation needed]

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

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, named Dhungala Bridge, was completed in July 2022.[31][32]

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.[33]


The local newspaper, The Riverine Herald is published by McPherson Media Group[34] 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 that opened in 1886.[35] Moama Anglican Grammar School, just over the border in New South Wales, also attracts students from Echuca.[36]

Bendigo TAFE has a campus in Echuca, offering education up to diploma level in various fields.[37]


The town has two Australian rules football clubs. The Murray Bombers competes in the Goulburn Valley Football League,[38] while 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.[39]

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.[40] 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.[41]

Echuca Harness Racing Club conducts regular meetings at its racetrack in the town.[42]

Golfers play at the Echuca Back Nine Golf Course on Eyre and McKenzie Streets.[43]

Water sports[edit]

  • Swimming: Echuca Swimming Club. 50 metre indoor pool. YMCA Echuca War Memorial Aquatic Centre.
  • Canoeing: Echuca-Moama Canoe Club and Inland Outriggers.
  • Waterskiing: The Southern 80 Ski Race held in February finishing line is in Echuca, starting at the Torrumbarry Weir. Established over 50 years ago the race is held by the Moama Water Sports Club. The Southern 80 has become iconic with the 2-day event attracting more than 80,000 visitors to the area.

In 2006, the Barry Beehag water ski race was established in honour of Barry Beehag, a founding and life member of the Moama Water Sports Club.[44]

Notable people[edit]


Sister city[edit]

Echuca's sister city was Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada.[47] However, Whitehorse terminated the special relationship in 2008 due to the relationship being "strictly ceremonial in nature".[48]


  1. ^ a b c Australian Bureau of Statistics (28 June 2022). "Echuca". 2021 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 14 November 2022. Edit this at Wikidata
  2. ^ Macquarie Dictionary, Fourth Edition (2005). Melbourne, The Macquarie Library Pty Ltd. ISBN 1-876429-14-3
  3. ^ Australian Bureau of Statistics (28 June 2022). "Echuca - Moama". 2021 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 14 November 2022. Edit this at Wikidata
  4. ^ "Proud past". Official website. Shire of Campaspe. Retrieved 19 April 2018.
  5. ^ "Yorta Yorta Nation". Goulburn Broken CMA. Retrieved 23 October 2022.
  6. ^ Robertson, Wendy (8 September 1993). "Long history behind Yorta Yorta land claim". Green Left. Retrieved 23 October 2022.
  7. ^ "Our Town's Heritage". Echuca Lions Club. Retrieved 23 October 2022.
  8. ^ "Hughes Trueman Reinhold 1998, Murray River Crossings Heritage Assessment Report Echuca-Moama Bridge, prepared for the Roads and Traffic Authority NSW". Archived from the original on 29 March 2012. Retrieved 22 September 2014.
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^ "Climate statistics for". Bureau of Meteorology. Retrieved 20 January 2014.
  12. ^ "Campaspe Shire Council". Campaspe Shire Council. Retrieved 23 October 2022.
  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". Riverboats Music Festival.
  16. ^ "Welcome to the Echuca Moama Wedding Expo". Echuca-Moama Weddings Expo. Archived from the original on 4 April 2019. Retrieved 15 March 2023.
  17. ^ "Echuca Steam Horse and Vintage Rally". Archived from the original on 27 June 2019.
  18. ^ "Winter Blues - Blues Festival In Echuca".
  19. ^ Echuca Moama Tourism
  20. ^ "'OUTRAGED': Murray River Council blasts ABC TV show". Archived from the original on 27 June 2019. Retrieved 27 June 2019.
  21. ^ "Taste | Echuca Moama | The Murray's Living Legend".
  22. ^ "The Mill Echuca - Modern Contemporary Bar and Restaurant". The Mill Echuca.
  23. ^ "The Black Pudding Cafe Echuca".
  24. ^ "Port 53 – Where good food is just the beginning". Retrieved 21 August 2022.
  25. ^ "Search".
  26. ^ "Oscar W's Wharfside - Redgum Grill & Deck Bar". Archived from the original on 15 July 2015. Retrieved 5 August 2015.
  27. ^ "The 20 Best Echuca-Moama, VIC Restaurants, Restaurants in Echuca-Moama". AGFG.
  28. ^ "Good Food Guide 2013 | the Age".
  29. ^ "Acclaimed restaurant to close doors". 23 May 2014.
  30. ^ Transport for NSW, N. S. W. "Contact us". Transport for NSW.
  31. ^ "Echuca-Moama Bridge Project". 7 December 2021.
  32. ^ "Landmark bridge opens to traffic honouring Echuca-Moama's proud Indigenous heritage". Victoria’s Big Build. 11 April 2022. Retrieved 3 December 2023.
  33. ^ "Echuca aerodrome // Campaspe Shire Council". Archived from the original on 6 June 2019. Retrieved 27 June 2019.
  34. ^ "McPherson Media Group |".
  35. ^ "Welcome to St Joseph's College".
  36. ^ "Moama Anglican Grammar". Retrieved 21 August 2022.
  37. ^ "Echuca".
  38. ^ Full Points Footy, Echuca, archived from the original on 24 July 2008, retrieved 25 July 2008
  39. ^ "Home Page - Echuca Moama Rockets". GameDay.
  40. ^ "League runner-up". Riverine Herald. 13 October 1999.
  41. ^ Country Racing Victoria, Echuca Racing Club, archived from the original on 19 July 2008, retrieved 7 May 2009
  42. ^ Australian Harness Racing, Echuca, retrieved 11 May 2009
  43. ^ Golf Select, Echuca Back Nine, retrieved 11 May 2009
  44. ^ "MWSC- Home of the Southern 80 & Barrie Beehag Ski Races". Archived from the original on 6 February 2013. Retrieved 21 January 2013.
  45. ^ McCarthy, Susan (1972). "Hopwood, Henry (1813–1869)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. National Centre of Biography, Australian National University. ISSN 1833-7538. Retrieved 30 March 2015.
  46. ^ Rolfe, Amanda (1986). "McKenzie, Hugh (1853–1942)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. National Centre of Biography, Australian National University. ISSN 1833-7538. Retrieved 30 March 2015.
  47. ^ Oke, Chris (21 June 2008). "Australians surprised by sister city snub". Yukon News. Retrieved 8 September 2013.
  48. ^ 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