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Sale, VIC

Major historic service centre in Gippsland.

Sale is an attractive and prosperous city located at the western end of the Gippsland Lakes. In recent times considerable amounts have been spent on upgrading the town and making it an accessible and desirable weekend and holiday destination. The primary appeal is twofold. It is only 215 km (about 2 1/2 hours) from Melbourne and it is an ideal access point for two very major attractions: the Gippsland Lakes and 90 Mile Beach. Add, in winter time, access to the Victorian Alps and it is a town with major tourist appeal. The Port of Sale has been ungraded and the edges of the Gippsland Lakes have been turned into outstanding environments for the rich birdlife of the lakes and for pleasant walking paths.


Sale is located 215 km east of Melbourne via the Princes Highway. It is five metres above sea level.


Origin of Name

Sale was originally called the very graphic, Flooding Creek. When it was formally gazetted in 1851 Flooding Creek was replaced by Sale, a tribute to Major-General Sir Robert Sale, a British army officer who died five years earlier, in 1845, in the First Anglo-Sikh War.


Things to See and Do

Sale Heritage Walk
There is a pleasant, short walk around the centre of the town which focuses on the main buildings of historic interest. More information can be accessed at http://www.tourismwellington.com.au/sale/attractions/item/sale-heritage-walk-drive. The walk, known simply as the Sale Heritage Walk, includes a total of 27 places of interest. Some of the most interesting include:

1. Sale Historical Museum
The Sale Historical Museum is housed in the former Sale borough offices at 130 Foster Street. It was built in 1863 and still possesses the original council chamber furniture. The museum has a collection of photographs of Sale's historic past and a collection of artefacts. It is open on Wednesdays and Sundays from 1.30 pm - 4.00 pm. Tel: (03) 5144 5944.

5. AMP Building
The AMP Building, which is part of a distinguished collection of buildings in Raymond Street, stands at 118-124 Raymond Street and, when completed in 1930, was described as 'the most notable addition to the architecture of the town'. 

7. Magistrates Court (1863) and Supreme Court (1887)
Located at 79-87 Foster Street the "Sale Court House is a complex of rendered brick buildings constructed in stages by the Public Works Department of Victoria in 1863, 1874, 1889, 1920, and 1986. JJ Clark designed the original 1863 Court House which featured three arched openings and a gabled court room with a hipped roof over the main offices. The public entered through the middle arch which led directly to the central court room, flanked by a Barristers' Room, Jury Room, Clerks Office, Judge's Room and Magistrate's Room. Access to a Writing Room and Upper Gallery was provided on either side of the public entrance. In 1874 the Court Room was enlarged by adding three rooms to the northern end (also designed by JJ Clark). A small Prisoner's Room attached to the 1863 Barristers' Room was demolished in 1889, when a Supreme Court and linking corridor were added to the western side of the building. The Supreme Court features a central court room with clerestory windows and offices with lower roof levels flanking the court room. Externally, the Supreme Court is notable for finely detailed decoration displaying Greek, Roman and Egyptian influences. An additional room was added to the front south- east corner of the building in 1889-90. Further alterations occurred in 1920 and, in a major upgrade in 1986, a new slate roof was installed and a wing added at the rear of the building to house a Family Court, offices and library. Additions have been generally sympathetic with the Victorian Free Classical style that characterised the original 1863 building. The judge's chambers and later courts have retained their identity and original usage, and the Supreme Court retains many early features, including its timber court room furniture and fittings." It is architecturally important "as a representative, generally intact example of a Victorian Free Classical style court house built in the 1840-1890 period." For more information check out http://vhd.heritagecouncil.vic.gov.au/places/1008/download-report.

9. Port of Sale
The Port of Sale is the western entrance to the Gippsland Lakes. The boat moorings, jetty, slipway, boat club and boat moorings are all located just one block from Foster Street behind the Sale Art Gallery. An historic canal which links Sale to the Gippsland Lakes system and the open sea. 
As early as 1879 people were talking about making Sale an important port and by 1890 the Sale Canal had been completed. It linked the Thomson and Latrobe Rivers with the Gippsland Lakes. In recent times a multimillion dollar development has turned the port into a centre for entertainment within the city. It now boasts restaurants, an art gallery, a 200 metre boardwalk and a 5 km walk along the canal and the Thomson River to the historic Swing Bridge. It is now possible to launch a boat at Port of Sale and sail 63 nautical miles to Lake Entrance.

10. St Mary's Cathedral (1887) 
Located on the corner of Foster Street and Pearson Street, St Mary's Cathedral "was constructed in 1886-7 to the design of Barker and Henderson ... The building is notable for the broad polygonal plaster-vaulted apse which, together with the side chapel, is elaborately painted and decorated. The interior also includes marble fittings with mosaic panels and numerous stained glass windows. Originally of brick with decorated Gothic window tracery of Warn Ponds stone, the church is now cement-faced. The church's organ was installed in 1903 and restored in 1993. For more information check out http://www.ohta.org.au/organs/organs/SaleStMarysCathedral.html which has some excellent photos of the cathedral and the organ.

14. Cobb & Co Stables
Located in Raymond Street, the Cobb and Co stables, dating back to the 1870s, are also in Raymond Street. Cobb & Co had arrived in Sale in 1864 and during the next decade they established themselves as the most significant transport operator between Sale and Melbourne. Sale became the Gippsland headquarters for the company.

17. The Clocktower
Located at the end of the Pedestrian Mall the clocktower dates from 1988 but it replaced an early clocktower built on the Post Office in 1884. The mechanism and balustrades from that original clocktower were incorporated in the new building.

19. St Paul's Anglican Cathedral (1885)
Located at 149 Cunninghame Street St Paul's Cathedral is the cathedral church of the Anglican Diocese of Gippsland. The cathedral was built in 1884 and consecrated in 1885. It was constructed of red brick and slate roofing. The cathedral's interior is decorated in a Gothic style and the walls are of white rendered plaster with Oregon roof buttressing. The cathedral's stained glass windows are particularly impressive. Above the sanctuary is the "great western window" depicting the Sermon on the Mount and several other windows include St Paul's vision of the Macedonian. Within the nave are a Lady chapel, a bishop's chapel and an honour roll. The cathedral's pipe organ was built in 1882 by George Fincham and was restored in 1981.

20. Victoria Park
Located over the road from St Paul's Anglican Cathedral, Victoria Park has an impressive brick water tower which dates from 1887 and a bandstand which dates from 1913. Much of the work on the park was done by returned servicemen after World War I.

23. Criterion Hotel
With its impressive facade, window architraves and mouldings, the Criterion Hotel, built in 1866, is one of the oldest hotels in Gippsland. The ornate cast-iron, two-storey veranda with its delicate lacework was erected in place of the original timber structure later in the century. It is located at the corner of York Street and Macalister Street. The Heritage Council of Victoria notes: "The Criterion Hotel is of architectural and aesthetic significance as one of the largest, intact, nineteenth century hotels in Victoria. The facade is notable for its unusual and highly detailed rendered ornamentation, and the two storey corner cast iron verandah, amongst the largest in Victoria. The prominently located hotel is an important landmark, making a significant contribution to the urban landscape of the town. - See more at: http://vhd.heritagecouncil.vic.gov.au/places/1011."

24. McMillan Monument
Located on the corner of Foster and York Streets, this monument, made primarily from random rubble and unveiled in 1927, is a reminder of how, when the truth eventually comes out, people who are admired by one generation are reviled by a later generation. In the case of Angus McMillan the story is a blight on early settlers and their indifference to local Aborigines. In 1840 Angus McMillan, at the age of 30 and an emigrant from the Isle of Skye, became the first European to explore the Gippsland region of Victoria.
He had been sent by another Scot, Captain Lachlan Macalister, from the high plains of the Monaro, over the Snowy Mountains, and down onto the plains of Gippsland, to look for new areas of pastureland. At the time the Monaro was in drought.
The prospects were good and McMillan moved into the area permanently setting up home at Bushy Park and eventually dying and being buried at Sale.
In 1967 the Australian Dictionary of Biography wrote that he was “courageous, strong and generous, with a great love for his adopted country.”
In 1927 the McMillan Monument was unveiled in Sale with the bland inscription: “Explorer of Gippsland Angus McMillan passed this way in 1840”. He was the founding father. He was the man who opened up Gippsland to European settlement.
Then, in 1988, Peter Gardner, a Gippsland-based schoolteacher and bookshop owner living in Ensay outside Bairnsdale, wrote (and self-published) a book titled Our Founding Murdering Father – Angus McMillan and the Kurnai Tribe of Gippsland 1839-1865 and with meticulous research he showed that this “generous” man had been a liar (he created the myth of a white woman stolen by the Kurnai) and a brutal and irrational murderer who had been responsible, either directly or indirectly, for nearly 3,000 killings in Gippsland. Certainly he was directly involved in massacres at the appropriately named Boney Point and Butchers Creek.

26. Lake Guthridge Parklands and Lake Guyatt
Lake Guthridge and Lake Guyatt are located off Foster Street and are part of the longer River Heritage and Wetlands Trail. They offer a tranquil watery setting with a chainsaw wood carving of the Jolly Swagman, a pleasant 3 km walk around the shoreline, an Aboriginal Interpretative Trail, the Powder Magazine, extensive and fascinating birdlife and the Botanic Gardens. There is a very useful website, complete with maps, which is well worth consulting. Check https://walkingmaps.com.au/walk/748. Of the other attractions in the Parklands there are:

Port of Sale Heritage Cruise
There is a short cruise which leaves the Port of Sale at 10.00 am and 2.00 pm daily. This is a truly delightful way to experience both the port and the swing bridge. The cruise is run by Alan who was the Sale Council Engineer from 1968 to 1985. 
Now, in retirement and deeply involved in the daily life of Sale, he runs “Port of Sale Heritage Cruises”. They are a simple cruise in a 1910 timber boat which holds, at capacity, 42 people ... although Alan reckons that is 42 people in 1910. Nowadays it is probably about 32 – because we have all become fatties.
Alan just loves cruising up and down the Sale Canal. It is 5 km long. His vessel runs on electricity. He will take it down to the Swing Bridge and back with no passengers. It is just a very pleasant way to spend a couple of retirement hours. So he really makes the journey every day.
On the wonderfully peaceful trip it is reasonable to expect to see koalas in the trees; diverse water birds on the shoreline; and trees, some hundreds of years old, where the scars of canoes (the GurnaiKurnai cut the trees to shape them into bark canoes) along the shoreline. And, at the end of the lazy journey (5 km in an hour), we see a swing bridge designed and built by Percy Grainger’s father. See the note on the Swing Bridge. Bookings for the Rubeena can be made at the Visitor Information Centre or tel: 0400 933 112 or check out http://www.saleheritagecruises.com.au.

River Heritage and Wetlands Trail
There is an excellent brochure - http://rotaryclubofsale.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/River-Heritage-and-Wetlands-Trail.pdf.pdf - which describes this trail which runs from the Sale Visitor Information Centre, past the Port of Sale, through McArdell's Gap (a cut in the bank of the canal) and the mouth of the Thomson River and beside the Sale Game Refuge ("This portion of the trail, much of it over a boardwalk of generous size, spanning extensive, Ramsar-listed wetlands, is full of surprises: a tree-lined natural lagoon, haven to so much bird life; ancient gum trees, twisted and gnarled; a blazed tree evocative of the earliest explorers of Gippsland; an old rifle butt reincarnated as a bird hide; a large brick water trough, now incongruous in its wilderness setting, and so much more.") This freshwater marsh is a noted breeding area for birds. It supports high populations of a variety of waterbirds, birds of prey and small mammals. When times are good there are over forty species, including the dusky moorhen, pelicans, magpie hen, royal spoonbill plovers, kingfishers, brown hawks and eastern swamphen. Many are migratory. Beyond the Game Refuge is the Sale Swing Bridge. This walk is 5 km one way or 10 km return.

Sale Swing Bridge
The Sale Swing Bridge was built to a design by engineer and bridge builder, John Grainger, the father of the famous pianist and composer, Percy Grainger. It is an elegant, wrought-iron 45 metre, swing bridge which spans the Latrobe River at its junction with the Thomson. The bridge's centre rests on cylindrical steel columns which once allowed it to swing open twenty times a day to allow the passage of steamers between Sale and Melbourne. It could be opened and closed by a single operator. It ceased operations in the 1930s but it has been reinstated and still swings open today. A visit to the bridge is well worth the effort. It is possible to walk across it, inspect the interesting "canoe" sculpture on the other side, and read the extensive signage which explains that, having been built in 1883, it is the oldest operational swing bridge in Australia. The bridge was restored and reopened in 2006 after over $1 million had been spent on the repairs. The total cost of the Bridge Project, which involved realignment and restoration, was $15.6 million. The bridge is opened between 3.00 pm and 4.00 pm on Saturdays and Sundays.

Aboriginal Bark Canoe
Located on the bank below the Swing Bridge is a metal sculpture of a traditional Aboriginal bark canoe. It was created by artists Colin Little and Deborah Milligan with assistance from the Gurnaikurnai Joint Management Cultural Rangers and it was opened in July, 2013. Given the large number of trees lining the Port of Sale Canal which have been cut for bark canoes it is an entirely appropriate symbol. The Dreamtime story of Boorun the Pelican is recorded on the sides of the canoe.

River Heritage and Wetlands Trail
The trail continues beyond the Swing Bridge and beside the Latrobe River until it reaches the mouth of Flooding Creek. This total walk is 15 km and winds back to the Port of Sale via Lake Guyatt and Lake Guthridge. This walk can also include the Powder Magazine and the town's Botanic Gardens.

Bug Blitz Bollards
The sign near the edge of Lake Gutheridge explains that "In 2009 students from 15 schools in Central Gippsland studied 'Biodiversity' as part of Bug Blitz Field Science days. Each school has two 'Bug Blitz Bollards' in their school grounds. Artist, Kathy Luxford-Carr, in association with students, has painted 41 bollards. The 3 Bollards here represent a collective of student images valuing Biodiversity. They are located just below the Angus McMillan monument on the the corner of Foster and York Streets.

Powder Magazine
The signage tells the story: "Sale Powder Magazine - Built for the Victorian Government in 1864, this magazine stored black powder (gunpowder) which was primarily used by Gippsland gold miners in blasting rock in their search for the precious metal. This is the only government-built magazine in Gippsland that has survived. It houses a small mining museum. Enquiries 1800 677 520." 
The facts about the building include:
* Builder - Joseph Irving & Co. 
* Built for the Victorian Government
* Sergeant Edward Scanlon appointed keeper in 1865
* Used to store gunpowder - mainly for the North Gippsland goldmines
* Closed as a government store in 1881
* Acquisition commenced by the City of Sale in 1994
* Restored by the community.
It is located on the shore of Lake Guyatt. With its massive walls, buttresses, barrel-vaulted ceiling and timber dowels used to fix the flooring, it was designed to contain any explosion of powder and project it upwards rather than outwards. The building was also placed adjacent Flooding Creek, in order to provide a buffer from bushfires.  

Sale Botanic Gardens
As early as 1860, 20 ha of land had been set aside for the Sale Botanic Gardens. The first major tree plantings occurred in 1872. By 1884 some swampy land, now Lake Guthridge, had been included in the site. It currently covers around 5 ha with Lake Guthridge and Lake Guyatt taking up 27 ha. The gardens were created by Baron Ferdinand Von Mueller, the first state botanist, and Mr. William Guilfoyle the then Director of the Royal Melbourne Botanic Gardens.
Today the gardens include historic redgums (some of which have canoe scars left by the GunaiKunai people), some dating back 300 years, as well as trees planted by Baron Von Mueller in the late 1800s. There are 4 km of trails through the gardens as well as an Indigenous Art Trail around Lake Guyatt. The parklands include a fauna enclosure containing Red Necked Wallabies, Pademelons and Parma Wallabies and the lands attract a wide variety of birds.

The Bronzes of Annemeike Mein
Sale has huge admiration for the distinctive bas-relief bronze sculptures by Annemeike Mein. They are powerful, beautiful and thoughtful and can be seen in both St Mary's Cathedral (Mary McKillop) and Port of Sale Civic Centre, also known as the Wellington Entertainment Centre. The textile art work of Annemeike Mein can be seen, during regular exhibitions, at the Gippsland Art Gallery.

St Mary's Cathedral - Mary McKillop
Entering the cathedral via the main door there is, on the wall, an impressive Bas-Relief bronze of Mary Mckillop which was installed in 1995. To quote from Annemeike Mein's website: "The bronze is in two parts, flowing down the wall in the shape of a 'J'. Mary McKillop founded the Josephite order which have three J's in their emblem (standing for Jesus, Joseph and John the Baptist). The face of Mary depicts her when she was about 40 years old and shows the head slightly tilted and capturing her sense of loving, endearment and humbleness. Her face is surrounded by the veil to enhance the qualities of saintliness, serenity and sensitivity. The Josephite emblem is displayed prominently - a cross and the three J's. Incorporated into the bronze is a relic of Mary's cedar coffin (embedded in resin) and placed at the position of Mary's heart.
"To depict Mary's Australian roots, gum leaves together with gum nuts and blossom from the eucalypt species Southern Blue Gum (Eucalyptus globulus ) were portrayed in bas-relief and also 'flowing' down the wall.
"In the lower part of the design, the books, papers and documents portray her dedication to education and social welfare, as do the figures of children holding Mary's hands and being guided by her (shown on the cover of one of the books). A bible with a simple cross embossed on the front honours her religion and code of living.
"Coincidentally, the finished colour of the bronze sculpture closely resembles the brown habits worn by the Josephites, who were commonly called 'Brown Joeys'."

Wellington Entertainment Centre - Historically Important Gippslanders by Annemeike Mein
Each bas-relief sculpture deserves attentive study. They are rich in metaphor and detail.

Mary Grant Bruce - depicts the well-known author against a background in the shape of a billabong (the name she gave a series of children's books) with images of the house that was her birthplace, Red River Gums symbolising the Australian bush, a possum (the title of one of her books) and an open book with the titles of her 38 children's books.
Allan McLean - shaped like the chains of office of this Gippsland man who became Premier of Victoria from 1899-1901. There are 15 images on the chain which depict McLean's life from the windjammer which brought him from Scotland to Australia through to the emblems of the numerous public offices he held.
Alfred William Howitt - depict his complex roles as an explorer, naturalist, scientist and anthropologist. It includes an Eastern Water Dragon which was named after Howitt.
Angus McMillan - known as our "founding murdering father" and the first European explorer to enter Gippsland, Mein does not shrink away from McMillan's treatment of the local Aborigines. Look carefully at McMillan's saddlebags and there are two skulls reminding the viewer of his frequent massacres.
Nehemiah Guthridge - Sale's first mayor is depicted as a sailor. He was responsible for developing shipping into the area.
There are very detailed descriptions of each of these bas-relief sculptures at http://www.annemiekemein.net.au/basrelief.htm.

Our Lady of Sion Convent and other religious buildings
Located in York Street, Our Lady of Sion Convent for girls, was established by six French sisters and six Irish priests at the end of the nineteenth century. Built in the style of the Gothic revival between 1892 and 1901 it is a red-brick, three-storey structure with adjoining chapel, slate roof, dormer windows and spires adorning the towers. The assembly halls and rear wing were added in 1938 and the residential wing in 1953. 


Other Attractions in the Area

Sale Cemetery
There is a single reason for visiting Sale Cemetery: It is the burial place of Angus McMillan, the first European into Gippsland, who was interred in 1865. McMillan, a complex and contradictory figure, explored the area and opened it up for settlement. He was also responsible for some of the worst massacres of GunaiKurnai in the local area, and, with heavy irony, subsequently became the Victorian Protector of Aborigines. It is hardly surprising that there is a book on his life by P.D. Gardner titled Our Founding Murdering Father. His tomb is to be found at the Sale Cemetery, 5 km north-west of the town. 

Kilmany Homestead and Kilmany Park
Kilmany Homestead, at 1613 Settlement Road, 4 km south-west of Sale, is a timber house built in the 1840s by Scottish pastoralist, William Pearson. An impressive two-storey, stuccoed mansion - Kilmany Park - was erected by Pearson's grandson next to the original building in the first six years of the twentieth century. Former surgeon Daryl Page purchased Kilmany Park in 1995. The property now covers 700 acres and has 400 cows which are milked in a 44-stand rotary milker. Kilmany Park is now an elegant wedding and B&B destination. Check it out at http://www.kilmanypark.com.au.

Gippsland Lakes
The Gippsland Lakes are a group of coastal lagoons which were formed when the ocean's sand deposits created lengthy sandspits, low-lying sand islands and dunes which eventually formed a barrier (Ninety Mile Beach) separating Bass Strait from the calmer waters they enclosed. The rivers which flow into the area deposited silt and clay which divided the inland water into a series of lakes and swamps. In the 19th century graziers took up land in the area, destroying much natural bushland. At that time there was no reliable point of access to the ocean. Thus an artificial entrance had been created by 1889 to allow permanent navigable entry. This new mouth both lowered and stabilised water levels in the lakes which are fed by a number of river systems - the Latrobe and the Avon (which flow into Lake Wellington), and the Mitchell, Nicholson and Tambo (which flow into Lake King). 
Taken together the lakes constitute the largest navigable inland waterway in Australia. The major bodies of water - Wellington, Victoria and King - cover 320 km of shoreline and spread across 34,000 ha. 
The Gippsland Lakes possess features of international, national and state significance. The Mitchell River delta, for example, is an eroded digitate delta which is considered a site of international geological significance. It extends southwards from the area around Bairnsdale along the western shore of Lake King to Eagle Point Bluff. From this point it takes the form of a series of long, narrow, jetties of silted sediment which extend eastwards out into Lake King for 8 km. 
Also of geomorphological interest are Cunninghame Arm (south-east of Lakes Entrance) which is a relic of a narrow channel that connected the Lakes to the ocean before the creation of the artificial entrance in 1889; the unique ecology and geomorphology of Lake Reeve with its extensive saltmarsh areas; the Tambo River delta which extends 2.5 km south-west into Lake King (although it is rapidly eroding); the Latrobe Delta, protruding over 2 km into Lake Wellington, which is formed by silt trapped in reed swamp; McLennans Isthmus (a long, broad sandy promontory that separates Lake Victoria and Lake Wellington) and McLennans Strait (a deep narrow residual channel that connects these two lakes).
The ecosystem is an important habitat for over 40,000 ducks, swans, coots and other waterbirds, particularly in periods of drought. Lakes Wellington, Victoria and King are permanent deep saline wetlands supporting populations of migratory seabirds, including the little and fairy terns. Lake Reeve is an extensive intermittent saline wetland of international zoological significance which provides a highly significant habitat for up to 12,000 migratory wading birds, making it one of the five most important areas for waders in Victoria. Other noted bird populations exist at MacLeod Morass, Sale Common, Clydebank Morass, Dowd Morass, Jones Bay and Lake Bunga. The latter is a relatively small coastal wetland supporting waterfowl, little tern, hooded plover and the white-bellied sea-eagle. Other good bird watching sites to the north are Blond Bay State Game Reserve, located behind Lake Victoria, and Colquhoun Forest. Vegetation around the lakes is varied, including swamp paperbark, reed and salt-marsh vegetation such as glasswort, shore rush, sawsedge and salt grass. The lakes contain many archaeological sites, including shell middens, scarred trees, occupation sites, burials and axe-grinding grooves. For more information check out http://parkweb.vic.gov.au/explore/parks/the-lakes-national-park.

Ninety Mile Beach
Ninety Mile Beach is a glorious stretch of coastline from east of Port Albert to the western side of Lakes Entrance. The major settlements on the coast are Woodside, Seaspray, Golden Beach and Loch Sport. The beach offers excellent surf fishing opportunities as the entire area is rich in bream, salmon, whiting, garfish, flathead, snapper and mullet. Ninety Mile Beach, with its firm sand, is a fine spot for walking although the water is characterised by strong rips and sharks. Whales and dolphins can be seen in season. Bird life is prolific all along the coast. Species include crimson and eastern rosellas, yellow-tailed black cockatoos, swamp harriers, hawks, blue wrens, silver eyes, red-browed finches, eastern spine bills and many other honeyeaters. The usually migratory rainbow lorikeet remains along the beach's coastal parks all year owing to the temperate climate and the dietary attraction of coastal banksia. 

Bataluk Cultural Trail
The Bataluk Cultural Trail runs from Sale in the east, through Stratford, Mitchell River National Park, Bairnsdale, Metung, LakeTyers, Buchan and Orbost to Cape Conran in the west. It follows the trails and trading routes of the GunaiKurnai people and focuses on elements of their history and culture, including Dreamtime stories, traditional lifestyles, the Den of Nargun, Legend Rock, Aboriginal Keeping Places, archaeological sites such as canoe trees and shell middens (some dating back 10,000 years), cultural centres of the region, and aspects of European invasion, colonial settlement and present-day existence. At Bairnsdale the focus is on Howitt Park, Krowathunkooloong and Mitchell River National Park. For more detailed information check out http://www.batalukculturaltrail.com.au/. At Sale the focus is on the Wetlands Information Centre of Victoria and the Sale Common State Game Reserve where there are fine examples of canoe trees. The website explains the significance of the Gippsland Redgum - "The wood was much prized for making boomerangs, shields and weapons. The bark was used for canoes, shields, infant carriers and for wrapping up the deceased. Burls were cut to make bowls. The seeds were eaten and the sap was used as medicine to treat burns and diarrhoea. The tree also provided a look-out and habitat for other food sources and resources such as birds, beehives and possums. Prior to European settlement, most people in Victoria wore a possum skin cloak. Gippsland Redgums can live for over 1000 years."

Gippsland Armed Forces Museum
Located on Lyons Crescent at the West Sale Airport, the Gippsland Armed Forces Museum is a regional museum looking at the specific role played by Gippslanders in the defence of Australia. The collection comprises "diaries, uniforms and medals, photographs, maps, reports and posters from all branches of the defence forces." It is open Saturday, Sunday and Monday from 10.00 am - 4.00 pm. For more information check out http://www.gippslandarmedforcesmuseum.com. Tel: (03) 5144 5500.



* Prior to the arrival of Europeans the area was occupied by the GurnaiKurnai First Nations peoples.

* The explorers, Paul Strzelecki and Angus McMillan, passed near Sale around 1840. 

* The first white settler was Archibald McIntosh who arrived in 1844. He established his 'Flooding Creek' property which, true to its name, was duly inundated shortly after his arrival. 

* By the 1840s, drovers heading south to Port Albert experienced marshy country around the Thomson and Latrobe Rivers, and a punt across the Latrobe River was installed. 

* In 1845 Robert Fitchett built a hotel known as the Woolpack Inn at Flooding Creek.

* The first town plots in Sale went on sale in 1850. 

* A new settlement was gazetted in 1851 and the name was changed from 'Flooding Creek' to 'Sale'. 

* The town grew rapidly as a result of the 1851 gold rush at Omeo. It was situated on the Port Albert to Omeo goldfields route.

* A building boom took place in Sale between 1855-65.

* In 1857 two new hotels were built. That year also saw the town surveyed by Government Surveyor, William Tennant Dawson.

* The Gippsland Times newspaper was established in 1861.

* In 1863 the population of Sale reached 1800 and it became a borough. 

* The court house opened in 1864. 

* The first Star Hotel and the Criterion Hotel were built in 1865. 

* A proper road from Melbourne reached Sale in 1865 and Cobb & Co established a 24-hour coach service linking the town with the state capital. 

* The Latrobe Wharf was built in the 1870s and two hotels emerged to exploit the new centre of activity. It was located near the present swing bridge.

* The English novelist Anthony Trollope visited Sale in 1872.

* Children's author, Mary Grant Bruce, was born in the town in 1878.

* The railway reached the town in 1879.

* A two-storey post office, with clock tower, was built in 1884 (it was demolished in 1963). 

* The Sale gaol was completed in 1887 and it operated for 110 years until it was replaced by a private prison at Fulham. 

* The construction of the Sale Canal commenced in the 1880s. It linked the town via the Thomson River with the Gippsland Lakes and the Tasman Sea. 

* The Sale Canal was completed in 1890. 

* The swing bridge was completed in 1883. 

* Sale became a town in 1924.

* Sale became a city in 1950.

* Oil was discovered offshore in 1965. The town experienced a boom when it became the base of the Esso-BHP oil and gas exploration and development program. 

* Esso's Longford gas plant was the site of a major explosion on 25 September 1998 which killed two employees and crippled the state's gas supplies.


Visitor Information

Central Gippsland Visitor Information Centre, Wellington Centre, 70 Foster Street, tel: 1300 368 864. Open 9.00 am - 5.30 pm Monday to Friday; 10.00 am - 4.00 pm weekends.


Useful Websites

The Wellington - Central Gippsland site has a wealth of information including a huge number of brochures. Check out http://www.tourismwellington.com.au/maps-brochures.

Got something to add?

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8 suggestions
  • Hi. I am trying to locate a Mary Irving. I went to school with her in 1967-1968 in Melbourne at St. Catherine’s. She came to see me in Texas in 1978 – when she worked for Qantas. Have lost touch and would dearly love to find her if anyone in Sale could help. Thanks Katie Allred ps by the way this is a fabulous coverage of Sale!

    Katie Denney Allred New Braunfels,TX
  • What was the name of the billiard rooms in the Main Street when Alex Schuback had it ?.

  • The Visitor Information Centre has moved! In recent years the council offices in Foster St were redeveloped to include the Gippsland Art Gallery (which hosted the Archibald Prize Exhibition in Nov 2021, and always has a display of Annemieke Mein’s textile art), information centre and library, and a cafe. The cafe and library look out over the Port of Sale, and the area between the building and The Wedge entertainment centre has been landscaped. Also the adjoining skate park has been redevloped, so it’s a great spot to stop, grab some lunch and let the kids let off steam.

    Lisa Booth
  • From where did Foster Street get its name? Perhaps from William Foster Magistrate in Sale for much of the 1870s?

    Rob Coutts
  • Who was Patten Street named after? I have found that there are quite a number of Patten’s in the area since moving here from Sydney.

    Steve Patten
  • Does anyone remember the old fella who owned the bicycle shop on Raymond street
    inside the shop, he had the biggest pile possibly 1000s of bikes. he was very old and the shop looked like it had been there forever.

    Jason Thatcher
  • The textile art work of Annemeike Mein can be seen, during regular exhibitions, at the Gippsland Art Gallery.

    Christine Graeve