Wangaratta Rural City
Wangaratta is a cathedral city of almost 17,000 people in the northeast
of Victoria, Australia, about 230 km (140 min) from Melbourne along the
Hume Highway, with Benalla 45 km (28 min) to the southwest, and
Albury-Wodonga 72 km (45 min) to the northeast. It is located at the
junction of the Ovens and King rivers which flow from the Victorian
Alps. It the administrative centre and most populous city in the Rural
City of Wangaratta local government area
Gold was found in the surrounding area during the 1850s and this is reflected in the name of a nearby town of Eldorado where the remains of an old dredge can still be seen today. The Post Office in the area opened on 1 February 1843 as Ovens, and moved to the township and was renamed Wangaratta in 1854. The Ovens office, and the Kilmore office which opened the same day, were the fifth and sixth to open in the Port Phillip District and the first two inland offices.
The nearby small town of Glenrowan located some 10 km away is known as the site of the final shootout that led to the capture of Australia's most famous bushranger, Ned Kelly.
Geography and Landmarks
The geographical layout of the city is unusual in that the business district is located at the north-eastern extremity of the urban area, with outlying suburbs extending only to the south and west. The reason for this arrangement is that the area beyond the rivers, to the north and east of the business district, was until the 1990s prone to flooding and so unsuitable for building. Levees were constructed in the 1990s to alleviate the flooding, however development in this area has been slow.
Wangaratta is the closest city or town of any size to Falls Creek and Mount Hotham, two of Victoria's three major snowfields.
Notable buildings include the Holy Trinity Anglican Cathedral and its Cathedral Close, St. Patrick's Catholic Church and the eccentric art déco courthouse.
In local government, the Wangaratta region is covered by the Rural City of Wangaratta. The council was created in 1994 as an amalgamation of a number of other municipalities in the region with the council chambers located at the Government Centre in central Wangaratta. The City is represented by seven councillors elected once every four years by postal voting. The mayor is elected from these councillors by their colleagues for a one year term.
In state politics, Wangaratta is located in the Legislative Assembly districts of Murray Valley currently held by the National Party of Australia.
In federal politics, Wangaratta is located in a single House of Representatives division – the Division of Indi. The Division of Indi has been a safe Liberal Party of Australia seat since 1977.
There is a considerable wine and gourmet food industry in the nearby Milawa and King Valley region. The area also has two cosiderable industry's Notably Bruck Textiles and Australian Country Spinners
Culture and Sport
Australian rules football and cricket are the most popular sports.
There are three Australian rules football clubs in Wangaratta, the Wangaratta Football Club, the Wangaratta Rovers Football Club (both competing in the Ovens and Murray Football League), and the North Wangaratta Football Club, which competes in the Ovens and King Football League. The close proximity of the Rovers and Wangaratta grounds reflects the historical sectarian split in membership of the clubs; Rovers membership being predominantly Catholic and Wangaratta being predominantly Protestant/Anglican.
The city hosted several games for the 2005 Australian Football International Cup event, with several countries competing in the sport of Australian rules football. The event was played at the City Oval and Showgrounds and set the attendance records for the tournament to date.
Cricket in Wangaratta is organised by the Wangaratta and District Cricket Association. Clubs include Wangaratta Magpies, Rovers United, City Colts and Bruck Cricket Clubs.
There is one soccer team in Wangaratta, the Wangaratta City Football Club. Founded in 1951, they compete in the Albury Wodonga Football Association.
Wangaratta has a horse racing club, the Wangaratta Turf Club, which schedules around eleven race meetings a year including the Wangaratta Cup meeting in April.
The Wangaratta Greyhound Racing Club which held regular meetings at the same venue,has been discontinued. Avian Park is no longer used.
Golfers play at the course of the Wangaratta Golf Club on Yarrawonga Road, or at the course of the Jubilee Golf Club at Wangandary nearby. A nine hole course is at Boorhaman to the north of Wangaratta.
The main annual event is the Wangaratta Festival of Jazz, which has been attended by thousands each year since 1990.
Wangaratta has three secondary schools: Galen Catholic College (private), Cathedral College (private) which has two campuses and Wangaratta High School which has three campuses.
The Goulburn Ovens Institute of TAFE has two Wangaratta campuses. The Docker street campus offers a broad range of courses from business studies to music with a central area containing a cafeteria, library and student services. The Christensen Lane campus on the outskirts of Wangaratta is the home for the National Centre for Equine Education as well as providing courses in horticulture.
The train station is on the main railway line between Sydney and Melbourne and is usually served by V/Line services between Melbourne and Albury twice-daily as well as a twice daily Countrylink XPT service in both directions between Melbourne and Sydney. Two railway gauges ran in parallel to Melbourne and Albury; the Victorian broad gauge of 1600 mm (5' 3") and the standard gauge of 1435 mm (4' 8½"). The broad gauge line closed in 2008 and will be converted to standard gauge as part of a the North East Rail Revitalisation project. Buses are replacing V/Line services for the duration of the project, while XPT services continue to operate.
There was a branch line commenced in 1873, running east to Beechworth, reaching the town in September 1876, but this was closed in January 1977. (Larsen, MayDay Hills Railway). Another branch line ran to Bright until its closure. This has since been converted into a cycling and walking track, known as the Murray to the Mountains Rail Trail. Another short branch line ran west to a wheat silo located on the north side of the Ovens River at Boorhaman.
A second rail branch was a narrow gauge (762 mm, 2' 6") line from Wangaratta to Whitfield constructed during the late 1890s and opened in 1899. The line operated until 1953 and was famous for its special engines imported from Baldwin Locomotive Works in the USA. Some of these 2-6-2T locomotives now operate on the Puffing Billy Railway outside Melbourne. A book, Focus on Victoria's Narrow Gauge, with photos, maps along the line and of Wangaratta station with its dual track gauges was published in 2002
Wangaratta is also serviced by a small regional airport, Wangaratta Airport.
A city bus service runs every half an hour during the day on weekdays
and on Saturday mornings on a route covering Wangaratta's West End, the
business district, Yarrunga and more recently, Yarrawonga Road.
This information has been sourced from Wikipedia