The first white men in the district were explorers Hume and Hovell in 1824. Overlanders drove their stock through an area to the north of the present townsite in 1837 or 1838 while following the track cut by explorer Thomas Mitchell in 1837. Squatters began taking up runs in the district in 1838. One of the first was Seven Creeks, established by Janet Templeton in 1838. The adjacent 'Urowa' station was taken up in 1840.
It was at Seven Creeks that the first fine-wool Saxon merino sheep in Victoria were introduced in 1851 by Eliza Forlonge who had selected the sheep in Saxony. There's actually a memorial to her a bit out of town, so significant was this in the history of Australia and her cottage is part of the Historical Museum located adjacent to Seven Creeks Park.
Euroa was surveyed in 1849 and planned as a roadside squatting centre in 1850-51 on the road from Melbourne to Wodonga. Drovers camped at the spot due to the presence of a permanent water supply where today there's a lovely park.
By 1852 the townsite consisted of Euroa homestead in Kirkland St and two huts occupied by a bootmaker and a married couple who worked on Euroa station. However, the town grew more rapidly than expected due to the road traffic generated by the goldrushes. A store and butcher's shop were the first commercial buildings. A hotel opened in 1853 and a post office in 1854. The first school was established in a small bark hut in 1854.
At this time the residences were all of slab or bark construction clotted with clay and roofed with stringybark. In 1856 wheat farming began on small blocks and Euroa became a regular coach stop on the Melbourne to Beechworth run. Timber and honey were also exploited commercially in the town's early days. The first substantial church (Catholic) was built in 1867.
Italianate arches banded over a large banded arch with rendered dressings in Romanesque style make this a standout and it was the first picture I ever took in Euroa.
Built by the Public Works in 1890 after the original one burnt down it cost a relatively modest 1,300 pounds for the 13 rooms contained within.
There's a fair bit of history in this town, other than anything associated with bushrangers.
There's also some well placed interpretive boards with relevant information. We learn, for instance, that the first building cost 5,000 pounds and was completed in 1884 and was a bank.
The second is the Euroa Hotel while the third is the very attractive Federation Style Seven Creeks Hotel with its standout wrought iron balcony.
The fourth is the Court House, one of the most advanced architecturally Court Houses ever built in Victoria. Completed in 1890, it was heritage listed in 1981.
The last is the Methodist Church, built at a very modest 308 pounds and dating back to 1897. Today it is a funeral parlour.
Terip Terip Road, Euroa, VIC, 3666, au
Australia's best-known figure from early times is bushranger Ned Kelly who has strong associations with the town and with this part of Victoria. After two prison sentences and a series of brushes with the law the 22-year-old Ned and his younger brother Dan went into hiding in the Wombat Ranges to the south-east of Euroa in 1878 where Ned killed three constables during a confrontation.
In December, Steve Hart was sent into Euroa to ascertain the whereabouts of key buildings. On December 9, the gang took over the Faithful Creek sheep station, 7.5 km from Euroa, using it as a base while they prepared for their first bank robbery. 22 people were locked in a storeroom which Byrne was left to guard. After cutting the telegraph lines, the Kelly brothers and Steve Hart proceeded to Euroa where, just on closing time, they stuck up the National Bank which was located at the corner of Binney and Railway Sts, unfortunately demolished in 1975.
They stole 2000 pounds in cash and gold and then took the bank manager, his mother, wife and seven children, two servants and two tellers to Faithful Creek station where they held them until late in the evening. They were gentlemanly and polite with their 'guests' and entertained them with trick riding. Ned spoke at length by way of explaining his actions and grievances and he handed over a lengthy document which did the same. It was to be mailed to politician Donald Cameron whom they hoped would put their case before parliament. He decided against that action.
At eight o'clock in the evening Ned declared that nobody was to leave for three hours after the gang's departure, on pain of death, then they rode off into the Strathbogie mountains.
When one of the captives returned to Euroa he was thought to be joking until the bank was checked and it was found that the doors and safe were open and nobody there. The next morning a number of police and black trackers arrived from Benalla by train. They were followed by a contingent of militia who patrolled the streets for 2 months for fear of a return though they were drunken and troublesome. Detective Ward appeared periodically unconvincingly disguised in various garbs and guises.
Fondest memory: As a result of the Euroa robbery the reward was doubled and the gang's run was eventually terminated at Glenrowan in June 1880.
Ned Kelly has become inextricably associated with aspects of Australia's national mythology and is a potent symbol of Australian larrikinism and a widely felt disrespect for authority and scepticism about the function of the law. Clive Turnbull has observed: 'Ned Kelly is the best known Australian, our only folk hero...Popular instinct has found in Kelly a type of manliness much to be esteemed - to reiterate: courage, resolution, independence, sympathy with the under-dog '; hence the saying 'as game as Ned Kelly'.
His story has been converted into numerous tales and folk songs and was committed to film as early as 1906. Noted Australian painter Sidney Nolan also executed a distinguished series of works focusing on Kelly in the 1940s and 1950s.
However, you have to also consider that he shot people in cold blood and chose a lifestyle that was only going to end one way - such is life!
Floods devastated Euroa in 1870 but ongoing expansion saw an extension of the town boundaries in 1872; the year prior to the railway's arrival. A road was cut through to link up with the Shepparton Rd in 1874 and, in conjunction with the railway, this made Euroa a viable trading centre for the exchange of goods between Melbourne and the district's farmers and shopkeepers which proved an impetus to local farming.
The area around this park would have been well under water.
Fondest memory: Seven Creeks Park is located on either side of the waterway that bisects the town and flows under Tarcombe St in the town centre. It is a pleasant picnic area with barbecue facilities and a toilet block.
It also has something unusual for parks, it has a fish ladder. There is an explanatory sign that details just how it works; quite interesting.
The park has some lovely mature trees, a small bridge and the occasional rose bush.