Yarriambiack shire, an area of 7176 sq km, occupies part of the southern Mallee and part of the northern Wimmera regions, mostly north of Horsham. It comprises the former Karkarooc shire (centred on Hopetoun), the former Warracknabeal shire, most of the former Dunmunkle shire (centred on Murtoa) and part of the former Wimmera shire. It was formed on 19 January 1995.
The shire is named after the Yarriambiack Creek, a stream with waters which originate in the Grampians range as the Wimmera River, which flows northwards until it divides into two east of Horsham that marks the start of the Yarriambiack Creek, which flows almost parallel to the Henty Highway, emptying into Lake Coorong at Hopetoun. Whilst only classified as a creek, it is 110 km long, and adjoins the Mallee towns of Brim, Beulah, Rosebery and Hopetoun. Before the advent of domestic and stock water channels from Grampians storages and the Waranga Western Channel, the creek was the area’s main source of water.
The name is thought to have derived from the name of a sub-group of Wimmera Aborigines.
The creek, the Henty Highway and the Ararat to Hopetoun railway run as a northerly corridor. At Warracknabeal, the shire’s administrative centre, the highway is intersected by the Borung Highway. The shire is 170 km from north to south.
In 1995-96 farming occupied 85% of the shire’s area, and the value of the crops (mainly wheat and barley) was $193 million. Livestock meat and products were valued at $22 million. The main unfarmed areas are small flora and fauna reserves and part of Wyperfeld National Park.
Yarriambiack shire’s census population in 1996 was 8832 persons, down from an estimated 9406 in 1991.
Other census populations for the shire were:
At the 2011 census, the median age of residents was 48 years (Victoria, 37 years) and their median income was 76% of the Victorian median. Livestock and grain farming accounted for 25.5% of employment (2011 census).
Mallee, Wimmera, Karkarooc shire, Warracknabeal shire and Dunmunkle shire entries