Shepparton East

Shepparton East, 5 km from Shepparton is one of several small towns in the irrigated dairy farm and orcharding area east of Shepparton. As a place name, it predates places such as Orrvale and Grahamvale which were established in the 1910s.

Before the adoption of Shepparton East as a place name the district was known as Pine Lodge (now 12 km east of Shepparton). The extreme west of Pine Lodge was identified by a general store, and in 1875 the Shepparton East primary school was opened near the store. The need for a school was prompted by the influx of farm selection settlers during the 1870s.

After the closer settlement farms were established at Grahamvale and Orrvale (1910-11), the wheat and grazing land at Shepparton East was subdivided for irrigated farms (1912). An early settler was Ann Elizabeth Henry, the mother of a future Victorian Premier (1950-52), Sir John McDonald. McDonald was also a director of the Shepparton fruit preserving company.

Orcharding was found to be more successful than dairying, and growers formed the preserving company in 1917. By the 1920s Shepparton East had a store, a hotel and a public hall.

Shepparton East’s orcharding has endured the vagaries of poor drainage and heavy rainfall years, the contraction of the fruit canning market and a government supported tree-pull scheme to limit fruit production. The fruit preserving company restored is profitability in the mid-1990s, and orcharding predominates over grazing and dairying. The rural population has remained relatively intact, with the schools at Grahamvale, Orrvale and Shepparton East staying open. Shepparton East had 165 pupils in 1999 and 175 in 2014. Enrolments at Grahamvale and Orrvale increased in the same period.

Shepparton East also has a general store, tradespeople, a public hall, a sports oval and a large cool store. The urban part on the Midland Highway had a census population of 222 in 2011. Census populations for Shepparton East and district have been:

census date population
1933 856
1947 738
1966 404
2006 1253
2011 1171

At the 2011 census, orcharding and fruit processing accounted for 20.2% of employment. Shepparton East has residents with Italian, Irish, Indian, Greek and Albanian ancestries.

Further Reading

Ron Michael, On Macguire’s punt: a profile of Shepparton from squatting to solar city, 1838-1988, Shepparton, 1988

Sue Wallace, Shepparton shire reflections 1879-1979, Shepparton, 1979