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Kyabram, VIC

Regional service centre in a rich dairy and orchard area

Kyabram is a substantial rural service centre which grew dramatically after World War I when returning soldiers moved into the district and, with the help of excellent irrigation from the Goulburn River, turned the land into a successful producer of fruit and dairy products. Initial success with canned fruit was followed by production of jam and conserves.

Location

Kyabram is located 211 km north of Melbourne via the Hume Freeway. It is 105 metres above sea-level.

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Origin of Name

It is believed that the town is named after a local Aboriginal word which meant "thick forest".

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Things to See and Do

Kyabram Fauna Park 
Located at 75 Lake Road, at the southern end of town, is the Kyabram Fauna Park which was opened in 1976 as a non-profit venture and now has the second largest collection of Australian fauna in Victoria. It proudly declares that it has "Koalas, Alpine Dingoes, Owls, Snakes, Wombats, Kangaroos, Wallabies, Tasmanian Devils, Cockatoos, Parrots, Waterfowl, Cranes, Finches, Lizards and many more. There is a large Walk Thru Aviary; Australia's first, energy efficient Reptile House; Wetland Viewing Hides and a Wetland Observation Tower." It is spread across 55 ha of open woodland.
On the grounds is Hazelman's Cottage (1867), which was originally built 5 km away for Theodore Hazelman, a Frenchman who travelled to the USA as a cabin boy, fought in the American Civil War at the age of 14, and then moved to Australia where he became a boundary rider, married, had 13 children and became a wheat and dairy farmer.
The complex has a 3 ha picnic area, electric barbecues and a childrens' playground. It is open daily from 9.30 am to 5.30 pm, tel: (03) 5852 2883. Check out http://www.kyabramfaunapark.com.au for more details.

Town Mural
Located in an arcade to the west of Kyabram Town Hall in Allan Street is an unusual and impressive mural which, as it explains, "depicts many aspects of Kyabram's history which has helped to create the town's unique character ... Murray Ross was the designer and coordinator of the Mural ... Kyabram school children and parents produced the paintings at the base of the mural and were part of the re-enactment of Colonial Times in Kyabram."

Town Hall
The refurbished Town Hall, located in the Main Street, dates from the 1890’s and houses the unusual “A Stitch Back in Time”, Isobel Harvie’s collection of Edwardian and Victorian clothing and accessories. It is open from 10.00 am - 4.00 pm Monday to Saturday. Check out https://kyabramtownhall.com.au for current exhibitions.

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History

* Prior to European settlement the area was home to the Bangarang Aboriginal people for at least 40,000 years. 

* The first squatter, M.F. Scobie, took up land in the district in 1840. 

* From 1869-1872 the district was a single and huge sheep run owned by James McBain.

* The area was opened up to selection in the 1870s. Wheat farming and dairying became the dominant agricultural industries. 

* A school was opened in 1875.

* Township blocks were sold in 1876.

* The first business was a general store which was opened in 1876.

* In 1884 the Post Master General suggested the name of Sheridan for the town.

* In 1886 the Post Office was renamed Kyabram.

* The railway reached the town in 1887.

* Fruit orchards arrived with the first irrigation water in the 1890s.

* The local Mechanics Institute was opened in 1891. That same year the Kyabram Railway School was opened. 

* In 1902 local businessmen initiated a statewide movement to dismiss the newly-elected Peacock government for breach of election promise. That year saw a second water storage open on the Goulburn River.

* In the early years of the twentieth century subdivision and utilisation of the Goulburn River's water supply saw the district develop. 

* Returning soldiers from World War I focused on fruit-growing. 

* A Fruit Preserving Co-Operative was established in 1922. It built one of the largest canneries in the Southern Hemisphere.

* A butter factory was built in 1926.

* A local cinema was built in 1927. 

* A bush nursing hospital was established in 1933.

* Local stock salesyards were opened in 1937.

* A factory to supply the tin containers for the canned fruit was established in the 1950s.

* Kyabram became a borough in 1954.

* A high school was opened in the town in 1955.

* The Kyabram Irrigation Research Station was opened in 1959.

* In 1960 the Kyrabram District Memorial Community Hospital was opened.

* Kyabram became a town on 4 July, 1973.

* By the early 1970s the local Fruit Co-op had gone private.

*  The Fruit Co-op closed in 1983. 

* In 1989 the factory reopened, converting some of the produce into jams, conserves and toppings.

* In 1994 Kyabram became part of the Campaspe Shire.

* The Kyabram Irrigation Research Station closed in 2008.

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Visitor Information

Kyabram Town Hall Information Centre, 199-209 Allan St, tel: (03) 5852 1546. Open 10.00 am - 4.00 pm.

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Useful Websites

There is a local website. Check out http://www.kyabramtown.com.au.

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