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Alpine Shire

About the area

Name origin

Alpine Shire is named for its location: in the alpine region of Victoria.

Location and boundaries

Alpine Shire is located in north-eastern Victoria, about 300 kilometres north-east of the Melbourne CBD. Alpine Shire is bounded by Indigo Shire in the north, Towong Shire and East Gippsland Shire in the east, Wellington Shire in the south, and the Rural City of Wangaratta in the west.

Included areas

Alpine Shire includes the localities of Abbeyard, Barwidgee, Bogong, Bright, Buckland, Buffalo River, Cobungra (part), Coral Bank, Dandongadale, Dargo (part), Dederang, Dinner Plain, Eurobin, Falls Creek (part), Freeburgh, Gapsted, Germantown, Glen Creek, Gundowring (part), Harrietville, Havilah, Hotham Heights (part), Kancoona, Kergunyah South, Merriang, Merriang South, Mongans Bridge, Mount Beauty, Mount Buffalo, Mudgegonga (part), Myrtleford, Nug Nug, Ovens, Porepunkah, Rosewhite, Running Creek, Selwyn, Smoko, Tawonga, Tawonga South, Upper Gundowring, Wandiligong, Wongungarra (part) and Wonnangatta. Alpine Shire excludes the Unincorporated areas of the Alpine Resorts of Falls Creek and Mount Hotham.

Economic region
Alpine Shire

Land use

Alpine Shire is predominantly rural, with significant areas of national park, and snowfields at Dinner Plain and Mount Buffalo. The Shire includes the townships of Bright, Mount Beauty and Myrtleford, the smaller townships of Dederang, Harrietville, Porepunkah, Tawonga, Tawonga South and Wandiligong, and the ski villages of Bogong and Dinner Plain. The Shire surrounds the two major ski resorts of Falls Creek and Mount Hotham. Rural land is used largely for agriculture, particularly dairy farming and fruit and nut growing, with some beef farming, forestry and viticulture. Hydroelectricity and tourism are important industries. The Shire encompasses a total land area of about 4,800 square kilometres.

Transport

Alpine Shire is served by the Kiewa Valley Highway and the Great Alpine Road.

Settlement history

European settlement dates from the 1830s, with land used mainly for cattle grazing, timber-getting and farming. Population was minimal until the 1850s, with growth spurred by gold mining. The small townships of Bright, Dederang, Harrietville, Myrtleford, Porepunkah, Tawonga, Upper Gundowring and Wandiligong were established between the 1850s and the late 1800s. Growth took place from the late 1800s into the early 1900s, aided by the opening of the railway line and tourism. Mount Buffalo Chalet opened in 1910, becoming Victoria’s premier ski resort in the 1920s, then closing in 2007. Tobacco and hop growing became important industries from the early 1900s. The Kiewa Hydro Electric Scheme was developed between the 1930s and the 1960s by the State Electricity Commission of Victoria (SEC), with the township of Tawonga used as a base for operations. The Hydro Electric Scheme included the establishment of the townships of Bogong Village in 1939 and Mount Beauty in 1947, with most houses sold by the SEC following the completion of the scheme in 1961. Population growth continued during the 1970s and 1980s, particularly in Bright, Mount Beauty and Tawonga South, mainly due to tourism (proximity to ski fields). The population of the Shire fluctuated slightly from the 1990s.

Indigenous background

The original inhabitants of Alpine Shire were thought to be the Yaitmathang Aboriginal people.

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