Campaspe Shire

Campaspe Shire was formed on 18 November 1994, by the union of Echuca city, Kyabram town, Deakin Shire, most of Rochester and Waranga Shires and part of Rodney Shire. Its area is 4526 sq km and its administrative centre is Echuca.

The shire is named after the Campaspe River which flows northwards through the shire from the Kyneton region, joining the Murray River at Echuca. In 1834 the New South Wales Surveyor-General, Thomas Mitchell named the river after Campaspe, a concubine of Alexander the Great. Mitchell drew on Macedonian and Greek history for several place names.

The shire's southern boundary is near Toolleen. A short distance north of there the Waranga Reservoir western channel carries irrigation water to dairy and orchard areas, and irrigated pasture for mixed grazing in the Bamawm and Lockington districts. The Torrumbarry Weir on the Murray River irrigates the Gunbower region. Echuca on the Murray River is an important tourism centre and is the intersection of the Northern and Murray Valley Highways. A railway line approximately parallels the Northern Highway, connecting Echuca to Bendigo.

The shire's northern boundary is the Murray River from Gunbower to Echuca and then the Goulburn River from Echuca to a point roughly north of Kyabram.

The shire has several industries for food processing. Among the larger ones are:

Nestlé (Echuca - yoghurt and dairy deserts, and Tongala - milk products); Fonterra Foods Ltd (Stanhope - milk and cheese products); Murray Goulburn Cooperative (Rochester - milk and cheese products);  Henry Jones IXL (Kyabram - jams and conserves); and Simplot/Leggo's tomato products (Echuca - tomato products).

Campaspe Shire's census populations have been:

census date population
1996 33,320
2001 34,551
2006 36,209
2011 36,365

The largest towns in the shire at the 2011 census (comprising 56.3% of the shire's population) had populations of:

Town population
Echuca 12,613
Kyabram   5642
Tongala   1245 
Rushworth   981

At the 2011 census, dairy farming accounted for 6.3% of employment and sheep, cattle and cereals farming 3.7%. The drought of the early 2000s and subsequent floods caused many tomato growers to switch to other crops.

Further Reading

Echuca city, Kyabram town and Deakin, Rochester, Rodney and Waranga Shires' entries