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Benalla Rural City

About the area

Name origin

Benalla is named after an Aboriginal tribe who once inhabited the area.

Location and boundaries

Benalla Rural City is located in the Goulburn Statistical Division of Victoria, about 180 kilometres north-east of Melbourne. Benalla Rural City is bounded by the Shire of Moira in the north, the Rural City of Wangaratta in the east, the Shire of Mansfield in the south and the Shire of Strathbogie and City of Greater Shepparton in the west.

Included areas

Benalla Rural City includes the townships and rural districts of Archerton (part), Baddaginnie (part), Barjarg (part), Benalla, Boho South (part), Boweya (part), Boxwood (part), Bridge Creek (part), Broken Creek, Bungeet, Bungeet West, Chesney Vale, Creek Junction (part), Devenish, Glenrowan (part), Glenrowan West, Goomalibee, Goorambat, Lima, Lima East, Lima South (part), Lurg, Major Plains (part), Molyullah, Moorngag, Mount Bruno, Myrrhee (part), Samaria, Stewarton (part), Strathbogie (part), Swanpool, Taminick, Tarnook, Tatong, Thoona, Tolmie (part), Upper Lurg (part), Upper Ryans Creek, Warrenbayne, Winton and Winton North.

Land use

Benalla Rural City is predominantly a rural area, but has substantial residential areas in and around the township of Benalla. Smaller townships are located at Baddaginnie, Devenish, Goorambat, Swanpool, Tatong, Thoona, Warrenbayne and Winton. Most of the City's retail space is in shopping strips in central Benalla. There is some industrial land use to the north-east and east of the city. Most of the rural area is used for agricultural purposes, including wool and meat production, dairying and crop farming.


Benalla Rural City is served by the Hume Freeway, the Midland Highway and the Melbourne to Wodonga railway line.

Settlement history

European settlement of the area dates from 1836, although growth was generally slow until the post-war period. The town was first surveyed in 1839, then again in 1848. Pastoralists began setting up sheep and cattle stations along the Broken River in the 1840s, using the land mainly for wheat growing, orchards, vines and grazing. The township of Benalla developed in the 1850s and 1860s, aided by the gold-rush which caused a general population increase in the area, with people travelling through the town to the Bendigo and Beechworth goldfields. Population growth was aided by the opening of the Benalla to Wodonga railway line in 1873 and the branch line from Benalla to Yarrawonga in 1883. Initially the western side of the town grew first, but when the railway station was placed on the eastern side, growth took place there, especially of a commercial nature. In the late 1800s Benalla was the centre of an agricultural and pastoral district, characterised by wheat, oat and potato growing, with some vineyards and mining. In the early 1900s Benalla became a regional centre, with a number of private secondary schools and a state high school. There were several industries in the township, including a clothing factory, flour mill, butter factories, brickworks, cordial factories and railway workshops. Agricultural uses expanded to include tobacco and hop crops as well as considerable dairying, wool and meat production. The population in the area, especially within and around the town, grew significantly during the 1960s and 1970s. The population of the City has been relatively stable in more recent decades, stabilising at about 13,000 from the early 1990s.