Towong is a rural locality in north-east Victoria, situated on the Murray River about 70 km east of Lake Hume. It was named after the Towong pastoral run (1837), which was taken up by a New South Wales pastoralist, adjoining the Murray River south of present day Towong. Shown on some early maps as Nowong, it is thought that the name was an Aboriginal word meaning go away.
The name Towong has been prominent in the Upper Murray district since 1874 with the Towong shire (see separate entry), but the locality is quite a small one. The Towong Turf Club was formed in 1870 and a racecourse laid out on a river flat. Despite the rationalisation of country racecourses in the 1960s the course has been kept open, having an annual meeting in March. The grandstand is ‘picture perfect’.
Towong was described in the 1903 Australian handbook:
Towong has been noted for cattle grazing and horse breaking. Properties were kept large beyond the era of farm selections, although a soldier settlement scheme was established at Towong Upper in the early 1920s. The grazing property, Towong Hill, owned until the 1980s by local parliamentarian Tom Mitchell and author Elyne Mitchell, is a substantial part of the original pastoral run.
Towong has a hall, a reserve and the racecourse. Its primary school (1881) was closed 70 years later when Corryong Consolidated was opened. Towong’s census populations have been:
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Elyne Mitchell, Towong Hill: fifty years on an Upper Murray cattle station, South Melbourne, 1989
T.W. Mitchell, Corryong and the ‘Man from Snowy River’ district, Albury, 1981