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Mirboo North, VIC

Small and charming Gippsland rural town

Mirboo North is an attractive rural service centre which started life as a timber town with timber workers cutting down the huge blackwood forests on the surrounding hills. Today it is a destination for people wanting to explore the beautiful Strzelecki Ranges which are known for their tall eucalypts, cool temperate rainforests and fern gullies. There are driving tours and the Grand Ridge Rail Trail is an opportunity to walk or cycle through the forests.

Location

Mirboo North is located 156 km south-east of Melbourne via the Princes Highway to Trafalgar.

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Origin of Name

"Mirboo" is a local Aboriginal word meaning "kidney". The "North" was added because the original town of Mirboo, which had been surveyed in 1878, was located on a branch of the Tarwin River, about 12 km south of the current town.

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Things to See and Do

Murals
The town has illustrated the history of the district with a number of murals which are spread throughout the town.

Historic Markers
There is a very simple way to learn about the history of Mirboo North. There are a number of excellent, and very detailed, placards around town which tell the stories of buildings, people and places from the past.
A typical example is the plaque outside the Colonial Bank of Australasia which records:
"This Colonial Bank of Australasia building was established in 1907 being built almost entirely with wood at a time when timber was abundant in this area. The Bank Chambers were fitted out in red pine and silky oak, with ceilings lined throughout with pressed metal. The strongroom was built twelve feet by seven feet with eighteen inch thick walls of reinforced concrete with a solid steel door. The residential quarters for the Bank Manager at the rear of the building were finished with equal quality to match the banking chambers. The original balustrade and finials were removed from the top leaving the building you see today. It was in 1918 that the Colonial Bank amalgamated with the National Bank of Australia. The Mirboo North branch continued until 1978 when it was downgraded to an agency and finally closed its doors in March 1994."
The Historic Markers include - CWA Park, the Colonial Bank, Police Station, Tailor Shop, Club Hotel, Shops in the main street, Pioneer Store, Post Office and a Street Scene from 1900.

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Other Attractions in the Area

Grand Ridge Road
Promoted as one of Victoria's most impressive drives, this 132 km road traverses the ridge along the Strzelecki Ranges and passes through picturesque fern gullies, farmlands and bushland reserves as well as cool temperate rainforests. Mirboo North is known as the capital of the Grand Ridge Road.
To the south it goes to the Tarra Bulga National Park and to the north is makes its way to Mount Worth State Park. In late spring, the purple and gold Mirboo Lily, the town's floral emblem, blooms at the reserve along the route. To visit the fern gullies, the wallabies, wombats, echidnas and lyrebirds of Hallston Bush, continue along Grand Ridge Road and head towards Hallston. If you continue along Grand Ridge Road, you will reach Mt Worth State Park. Some pioneers' graves can be found in a small hillside cemetery at Allambie South, seven kilometres east of Hallston. The map of the route can be downloaded at http://www.visitlatrobevalley.com/pages/the-grand-ridge-road.

Lyrebird Forest Reserve
The Lyrebird Forest Reserve, which is located 3.3 km north of Mirboo North on the Strzelecki Highway, has a 4.8 km walking track which winds from the picnic area along the Little Morwell River, through forests of stringy-barks, grey gum, banksia and king-fern, which are home to lyrebirds, crimson rosellas and yellow-tailed black cockatoos.

Grand Ridge Rail Trail
The Grand Ridge Rail Trail runs 13 km from Mirboo North to Boolarra through a section of the Strzelecki Ranges. It starts behind the Grand Ridge Brewery in Mirboo North and is noted for its impressive flora reserves and the remnants of the tall trees which initially drew timber cutters to the area. Most have now been cut down.

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History

* Prior to the arrival of Europeans the area was home to the Boonwurrung Aboriginal people.

* The area around Mirboo North was first traversed by explorer, Paul Strzelecki, in 1840.

* In 1878 the land in the area was put up for farm settlement.

* It was not until the 1880s that settlers in search of new land moved south into the area. The plentiful forests of mountain ash proved tempting for timber getters.

* A school was built in the town in 1881.

* The town acquired a general store in 1885.

* The railway reached the town in 1886.

* The Mechanics Institute was built in 1887.

* A dairy factory was opened in 1893.

* In 1894 Mirboo North became the main town in the shire.

* A bush nursing hospital was opened in 1931.

* After World War II Italian prisoners of war took up farms in the district.

* In 1955 the town acquired a High School.

* The railway closed down in 1974.

* In 1988 a brewery started in the old dairy factory.

* The Grand Ridge Rail Trail was closed after serious bushfires in 2009. Two bridges along the route were destroyed.

* The Grand Ridge Rail Trail was officially reopened in February, 2012.

* In 2014 the Grand Ridge Brewery installed 384 solar panels.

* Today, Mirboo North relies upon dairying, and the cultivation of potatoes, maize and onions as well as the Grand Ridge brewery.

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Visitor Information

There is no Visitor Information in Mirboo North. For information check Prom Country Visitor Information Centre, 12 Silkstone Road, Korumburra, tel: (03) 5655 2233.

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Useful Websites

There is a useful local website. Check out http://www.visitmirboonorth.com.au for accommodation and dining.

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1 suggestion so far
  • My mother, Julia Theresa Grasso, grew up on a sheep station in Mirboo North. Her parents were Achilles and Dominica Grasso who emigrated from Italy to settle there as Italy was facing the possibility of another war. My grandfather traveled to Australia and worked to save money to bring my grandmother and my mother and uncle back. He shovelled coal into a steam engine for passage back to Italy and used the money he saved to pay for all to go to live in Australia…such a sacrifice. My mother met my father as she worked in a rationing station where my marine dad was recuperating from malaria he had contracted in Guadalajara canal during World War II. They became engaged and my mother traveled to the USA to marry my father. We lived in Long Island New York. I so loved hearing my mother’s stories about growing up in Mirboo North. I’ve had the great privilege of visiting my cousins who now live in Brisbane with their families. My auntie Angie is now 93. Everyone moved and they sold the sheep station. So much history and so much love. I would love to visit their homestead again some day. I last visited when I was 5. I have many vivid memories of the farm…and wonderful smells. The recent visits to Brisbane are wonderful…a great country.

    Deidre Diener