Benalla Rural City

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Benalla Rural City

About the area

Key Statistics


Benalla Rural City is located in north-eastern Victoria, about 180 kilometres north-east of the Melbourne CBD. 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 the 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. The Rural City encompasses a total land area of about 2,350 square kilometres.

Name Origin

Benalla Rural City is named after the township of Benalla, which is thought to be named after a pastoral run called “Benalta”, or from an Aboriginal word meaning “musk duck”.

Indigenous Meaning

The original inhabitants of Benalla Rural City were the Pangerang, Taungurong and Yorta Yorta Aboriginal people.


European settlement dates from 1836, although growth was generally slow until the post-war period. The township of Benalla 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 town 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 Rural City has been relatively stable in more recent decades.

Major Features

Major features of Benalla Rural City include Lake Benalla, Lake Mokoan, Mount Samaria State Park, Reef Hills State Park, part of Warby-Ovens National Park, Mount Meg Nature Conservation Reserve, Benalla Aviation Museum, Benalla Costume and Kelly Museum, Benalla Aquatic Centre, Benalla Art Gallery, Benalla Performing Arts and Convention Centre, Benalla & District Memorial Hospital, Goulburn Ovens Institute of TAFE (Benalla Campus), Benalla Botanical Gardens, Winton Wetlands, Winton Motor Raceway and various wineries.


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

Benalla Rural City

economic profile