Coordinates: 37°42′0″S 148°27′0″E / 37.70000°S 148.45000°E / -37.70000; 148.45000
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The Orbost Club Hotel, the oldest pub in town established in 1835, also known as "The Bottom Pub" by the locals, situated at 63 Nicholson Street, Orbost.
Orbost is located in Shire of East Gippsland
Coordinates37°42′0″S 148°27′0″E / 37.70000°S 148.45000°E / -37.70000; 148.45000
Population2,264 (2021 census)[1]
Elevation41 m (135 ft)
LGA(s)Shire of East Gippsland
State electorate(s)Gippsland East
Federal division(s)Gippsland
Mean max temp Mean min temp Annual rainfall
20.4 °C
69 °F
10.1 °C
50 °F
770.2 mm
30.3 in

Orbost is a historic early settlers town in the Shire of East Gippsland, Victoria, 375 kilometres (233 mi) east of Melbourne and 235 kilometres (146 mi) south of Canberra where the Princes Highway crosses the Snowy River. It is about 16 kilometres (10 mi) from the surf and fishing seaside town of Marlo on the coast of Bass Strait and 217 km drive to Hotham Alpine Resort. Orbost is the service centre for the primary industries of beef, dairy cattle and sawmilling. More recently, tourism has become an important and thriving industry, being the major town close to several national parks that are between the east access to either the surf or the snow, including the famous Snowy River National Park, Alpine National Park, Errinundra National Park, Croajingolong National Park and Cape Conran Coastal Park.

The establishment of the Sailors Grave Brewery[2] has also brought significant tourism to the area with its multiple festivals throughout the year.[3] Cycling and canoeing have also become major tourist attractions drawing people to the area for its wide range of cycling tours and spectacular rivers throughout the region.


The Cameron family settled on the rich alluvial river flats in 1876, followed by many other selectors, many of them Scottish migrants. Allan Burn opened the Post Office on 1 December 1880 named Neumerella (sic) and was renamed Orbost in 1883. He and wife Joyce (nee Morgan) had nine children. They owned 237 acres on the Snowy River (now Burn Rd). Allan and his brother Robert Burn arrived in Australia in 1850. Robert's descendants still live in Orbost today. A Newmerella office opened in 1889 and closed in 1897, then reopened in 1921.[4] The township was proclaimed in 1890 and a bridge constructed across the Snowy River and a telegraph office established. Sawmills were established in the area and the first batch of sawn timber was cut at Orbost in 1882. By the late 1890s produce was regularly being exported to Melbourne via coastal trading vessels sailing up the Snowy River to Orbost. The railway from Melbourne arrived in 1916, allowing further agricultural settlement up the valley, and exploitation of native hardwood forests for timber and railway sleepers.

The conversion of the disused rail line to the East Gippsland Rail Trail has created a cycle tourism industry in the town.

The Gippsland railway line and surrounding townships have embarked on a campaign to "Save the Snowy River Rail Bridge."[5]

For most of the 20th century, Orbost was a fairly prosperous local centre for the forestry and agricultural industries and a supply point for smaller towns in the area. In the 1950s and 1960s several new sawmills were opened to exploit the native forests north and east of Orbost.[citation needed] By the 1980s, logging of East Gippsland native forests had become an environmental issue. This resulted in the creation or extension of National Parks in the area, and a steady decline in forestry and sawmilling jobs. The general rural decline of the area and its economy saw the railway close in the mid-1980s and the population drop from around 4,000 to around 2000 by the start of the 21st century. Logging and forestry continues to be a contentious issue in 2004 and 2005 in the Goolengook Valley, near the Errinundra National Park.[citation needed]

The Snowy Mountains Scheme resulted in the waters of the Snowy River being diverted to the Murray and Murrumbidgee Rivers and associated irrigation schemes. During the 1990s the low level of water in the Snowy River was a major concern, with a political campaign to increase the flow of water from the dam at Jindabyne.[citation needed] Independent candidate from the Orbost district, Craig Ingram, was elected in 1999, and re-elected in 2002, to the Victorian Legislative Assembly.

The small rural communities of Bendoc, Bonang and Tubbut lie North East of Orbost. Delegate in NSW is the next major town geographically across the NSW/Vic Border from Orbost.


The town is represented in the sport of Australian rules football by the Orbost-Snowy Rovers in the East Gippsland Football League.[6]

The town's cricket teams have been successful at all levels in the Bairnsdale Cricket Association, ranging from U13s to A Grade.

The town also boasts a field hockey club which fields junior, women's and men's sides in the East Gippsland Hockey Association.

Golfers play at the course of the Orbost Golf Club on the Bonang Highway.[7]


The Orbost viaduct, or also known as the Snowy Rail Bridge, once carried freight trains across the alluvial flats, stopping across the river from the centre of Orbost. The 770 metre Viaduct is an iconic structure visible from the Princes Highway and a short walk from Burn Road. The Save The Snowy Rail Bridge Community Group is actively promoting its restoration for use as a cycling and walkway as part of the East Gippsland Rail Trail.

Orbost straddles the Princes Highway. A 567 metre bridge over the Orbost floodplain opened in November 1976.[8] The town was connected to Melbourne when the Gippsland railway line opened to Orbost station in 1916 principally carrying timber and farming produce. In the early days of the railway's operation dedicated passenger trains ran but these ceased by the 1930s. The line closed in 1987 when the line was cut back to Bairnsdale. The track infrastructure was dismantled in 1993/94.[9] The line traversed a mixture of farmland, hills and heavily forested country. It included numerous bridges, including the Stoney Creek Trestle Bridge, the largest of its kind in Victoria.[10] Public transport services are provided to the town by V/Line with road coach services from Batemans Bay, Marlo and Canberra to Bairnsdale that connect with train services to Melbourne.[11][12][13]

Orbost has a regional airport, Orbost Airport YORB (RBS).


Orbost has an oceanic climate with warm summers and mild winters. June is the wettest month and January is the driest. The town features 73 clear days annually, much more than Melbourne's 48 days.[14] Due to the foehn effect, winters are a few degrees warmer than Melbourne's, despite the areas being on the same latitude.

Climate data for Orbost (2000–2022)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 44.5
Mean daily maximum °C (°F) 26.3
Mean daily minimum °C (°F) 14.9
Record low °C (°F) 6.0
Average rainfall mm (inches) 48.0
Average rainy days (≥ 0.2mm) 9.5 9.6 11.1 13.3 15.1 16.4 15.5 14.6 14.4 13.2 11.3 11.2 155.2
Average afternoon relative humidity (%) 57 61 58 62 65 65 63 58 59 61 61 58 61
Source: Bureau of Meteorology[15]
Anzac Day in Orbost, 2018
Anzac Day in Orbost, 2018


The Orbost region has four State primary schools, one Catholic primary school, and Orbost Secondary College (Government).

Notable people[edit]

The main street of Orbost, entering from the south.


  1. ^ Australian Bureau of Statistics (28 June 2022). "Orbost (Suburbs and Localities)". 2021 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 11 June 2023. Edit this at Wikidata
  2. ^ Sailors Grave Brewing, retrieved 9 October 2022
  3. ^ Cornish, Richard (11 June 2018). "Six Reasons to Visit Orbost". Sydney Morning Herald.
  4. ^ Phoenix Auctions History, Post Office List, retrieved 20 January 2021
  5. ^ Quinn, Karl (9 February 2019). "'It's now or never': The campaign to save Victoria's longest timber rail bridge". The Age. Retrieved 27 July 2020.
  6. ^ Full Points Footy, Orbost Snowy Rovers, archived from the original on 30 April 2008, retrieved 25 July 2008
  7. ^ Golf Select, Orbost, retrieved 11 May 2009
  8. ^ Transport Minister opens $2.4m bridge across the Snowy River CRB News issue 34 December 1976 page 6
  9. ^ Here & There Australian Railway Historical Society Bulletin issue 675 January 1994 page 21
  10. ^ "Rail » Infrastructure » Orbost Line". Vicsig Railways site. Vicsig. 1997–2009. Retrieved 8 November 2009.
  11. ^ Sapphire Coast Link V/Line
  12. ^ Marlo, Orbost, Lakes Entrance V/Line
  13. ^ Capital Link V/Line
  14. ^ Summary statistics ORBOST (COMPARISON) Bureau of Meteorology
  15. ^ "ORBOST". Climate statistics for Australian locations. Bureau of Meteorology. May 2022. Retrieved 10 May 2022.
  16. ^ Jennifer, Hansen. "Jennifer Hansen: The Official Website". Retrieved 5 July 2013.
  17. ^ a b c Spicer, Victoria (9 July 2009). "Solo Man: A Natural Politician". CraigIngram.com. Craig Ingram. Archived from the original on 16 February 2011. Retrieved 24 February 2011.
  18. ^ "Australians at the 1996 Atlanta Paralympics: Athletes". Australian Sports Commission. Archived from the original on 20 January 2000. Retrieved 12 January 2012.

External links[edit]

Media related to Orbost, Victoria at Wikimedia Commons