Panmure is a rural village in western Victoria on the Princes Highway and South Western railway (1890), 22 km north-east of Warrnambool. Panmure is located where the Warrnambool Road (Princes Highway) forded Mount Emu Creek, a long waterway flowing from near Beaufort to the Hopkins River. It was named after Lord Panmure, English Secretary for War in 1855. Panmure was described in Bailliere’s Victorian gazetteer (1865) as a roadside village situated in thickly timbered country with rich black soil.

A school was opened in 1870. Its teacher in 1873 was Thomas Lowe, whose son, Charles Lowe (1880-1969) was a pupil. Thomas became blind and took up storekeeping in 1880, and his son became a temporary monitor. He later was knighted as Victoria’s Chief Justice and Chancellor of the University of Melbourne.

Thomas also took up a small dairy farm, the main farm use to emerge from the forest clearings. In 1884 the Victorian municipal directory recorded timber splitting, sawmilling, grazing and cheese making as Panmure’s chief occupations. About 8 km west the Hopkins River falls were a venue for excursionists and from about 6 km east the farmers of Laang marketed their produce through Panmure. The Terang to Warrnambool railway, via Panmure, was opened in 1890.

In 1903 Panmure was described in the Australian handbook:

Panmure has become a minor district centre, having retained its hotel, general store, post office and school which, with 21 pupils in 2014, serves a wider locality. Panmure also has a public hall, a recreation reserve and a church. Grazing and dairying are the main farm occupations.

Panmure’s census populations have been:

area census date population
Panmure 1871 194
  1901 135
  1933 273
  1947 273
  1966 172
Panmure and environs 2006 421
  2011 273

Further Reading

C.E. Sayers, Of many things: a history of Warrnambool shire, Olinda, 1972

Dedy Friebe, School on the rise: Panmure primary school 1079, Panmure, 1995