Small town on the edge of the Mallee - site of the smallest mountain in Australia.
Wycheproof is an unusual town with a very wide main street - known to the locals as Broadway - and a huge grain silo. It is a service town for the surrounding cereal growing properties and is famous because Mount Wycheproof, which rises only 43 metres above the surrounding countryside, is the smallest registered mountain in Australia.
Wycheproof is located 277 km north-west of Melbourne and 136 km from Bendigo on the Calder Highway.^ TOP
Origin of Name
It is claimed that the town is named after a local Aboriginal word, 'witchi-poorp', which meant 'grass on a hill' or 'reed on a hill', a reference to Mt Wycheproof.^ TOP
Things to See and Do
Mount Wycheproof, at 43 m above the surrounding flat countryside, is said to be the smallest registered mountain in the Australia. It has pleasant views over the town and the surrounding plains. From 1978-1988 the King of the Mountain race saw men carrying 70-kg bags of wheat racing each other up the hill. There are walking tracks around the mountain and it is sometimes possible to see emus and kangaroos. Mt Wycheproof is geologically known as a ‘metamorphic boss’ or a granite eruption. These unique granite outcrops feature a very distinctive botanical composition, quite different to that of the open country. The lightwood wattle, acacia implexa, is particularly impressive in spring.
Centenary Park on the Broadway (Calder Highway) is worth visiting as it has a number of boards explaining the history of the area with some good photographs. There is also a monument to Bernard 'Bunny' Read who in the 1970s was a four-time world champion boomerang thrower. And if that sounds like a modest achievement it is worth noting that his record included 147 consecutive catches. Are you impressed? There is also a wooden statue of a man carrying a 70kg bag of wheat and a large board recording the colourful history of the King of the Mountain race.
The local museum is located in Mount Street at the school. It is open on Wednesday and Sunday or by appointment. Of special interest is a flag embroidered by the ladies of the district to raise funds during/after World War 1. It has been restored.
Yo-Yo Tourist Attraction and Collectibles
For sheer country town quirkiness there is nothing quite like Yo-Yo Tourist Attraction and Collectibles in the main street. It appears to be a collection of rather large metal sculptures. Owned and run by former scrap metal merchant, Jimmy Johnson, it is an amazing collection of sculptures created out of out of everything from railway sleepers to bulldozer chains. Inside Johnson has turned his petrol station-come-art gallery into a celebration of Australian pennies and halfpennies by making wall-sized murals, key rings and postcards out of the coins.
The Post Office and Courthouse
Wycheproof doesn't appear to have a lot of significant historic buildings until the visitor arrives at the corner of Broadway and O'Connor streets where the town's post office (1889) and old courthouse (also 1889) stand out. The courthouse was constructed in a Classical Revival design with cream brick detailing on a red-brick, gabled facade. It is the town's most distinctive building.
* Before European settlement Mount Wycheproof was a crossroads for the local Buller Buller Wycher Aboriginal people.
* The first station in the district was established in 1846 by Robert Macredie. It was 76,800 acres (31,800 ha) and by 1867 it was running 50,000 sheep.
* By 1874 there was still only one settler in the district but a subdivision on the northern side of the mountain in that year saw the population rise to 130. James O'Connor built the Wycheproof Hotel in 1874. The town was surveyed in 1875.
* the railway arrived in 1883 with the railway line running up the main thoroughfare. The government was unwilling to pay extra money to purchase land for the track. The wide main street (officially the Calder Highway) is known as Broadway Street apparently because an American-born chemist said it reminded him of New York's Broadway.
* The grandfather of the Sir Douglas Nicholls, the first knighted Aborigine and first Aboriginal Governor of South Australia, lived in Wycheproof in the 1880s.
* In 1918 the Lonsdale Channel brought reliable water to the district.
* Today the town's economic base is evident in the one-million-bushel silos at the northern end of town. The district is known for its broad acre cereal farming.^ TOP
Contact Wycheproof Community Resource Centre, 280 Broadway; (03) 5493 7455.^ TOP
There is a useful local website - http://www.wycheproof.vic.au - which records upcoming events in the town and offers suggestions of activities for visitors.^ TOP