Gannawarra Shire

Gannawarra Shire (1995-) is in northern Victoria, bordering the Murray River about midway between Echuca and Swan Hill. It comprises the former town of Kerang and most of the former Cohuna and Kerang Shires. Gannawarra was the name of a large pastoral run taken up in 1844.

When these areas were unified as Gannawarra Shire on 20 January 1995, they approximated the original shire of Kerang before it was reduced by the severance of Cohuna Shire (1922) and Kerang borough (1966). The formation of those municipalities reflected the growth of dairying and orcharding from irrigation, with the consequent concentration of small holdings and rural population. Irrigation water is obtained from the Murray River/Torrumbarry system and the Waranga Western Channel.

The Murray Valley Highway connects Cohuna and Kerang to other major towns along the Murray River. Kerang is also connected by railway to Bendigo, and the line runs beyond Kerang to the irrigation areas of Lake Charm, Lake Boga and finally Swan Hill.

At the time of amalgamation Kerang township had about 4000 people and Cohuna 2000 people. The shire thus maintains substantial ranges of services in both towns, and Kerang is its administrative centre.

Gannawarra Shire's area is 3728 sq km, of which 82% is taken up by farming. The value of livestock products (mainly dairy) during 1995-96 was $88 million. Crops were valued at $67 million and meat from livestock was valued at $29 million.

Dairy farming and orcharding are mainly in the north and east of Gannawarra Shire (Lake Charm, Cohuna, Leitchville) and cereal growing and sheep grazing are mainly in the west of the shire (Lalbert, Quambatook).

Gannawarra Shire's census populations have been:

census date population
1996 11,906
2001 11,378
2006 11,296
2011 10,366

At the 2011 census the median age of residents was 47 years (Australia, 37 years). Dairy farming accounted for 10.3% of employment and other farming 9.0% (2011 census).

Dairy produce is processed at Rochester since the closure of the Murray Goulburn factory in Leitchville in 2010.