Lucknow, now a suburb east of Bairnsdale, is on the eastern side of the Mitchell River in East Gippsland, about 288 km east of Melbourne.
The Lucknow run, occupied in 1842, was named after a town in India. Sheep and cattle were grazed, and horses bred for the Indian remount trade. A store commenced business in 1854 and the first hotel opened in 1857, both encouraged by gold rushes in the surrounding area.
A government punt began operations at the Mitchell River crossing in 1860. In the same year, a coach service ran from Sale to Lucknow, and steamers began regular trips up the Mitchell River. By the end of the 1860s Lucknow boasted four hotels, as well as several brick kilns, sawmills, builders, saddler and wheelwright. A.W. Howitt, Police magistrate and distinguished anthropologist, botanist and geologist, settled at Lucknow in 1866.
The government township Bairnsdale, surveyed on the west bank of the Mitchell River in 1860, rapidly became the focus for development. Although Lucknow later had its own school, post office, hall and churches as well as a fire brigade, social and sporting clubs, it was generally regarded as part of Bairnsdale. Lucknow was described in the 1903 Australian handbook:
Lucknow experienced considerable growth from 1950 with the development of brickworks, a joinery and a drive-in theatre. When the city of Bairnsdale was proclaimed in 1967, Lucknow was part of the new municipality.
In 1927, a cairn was installed on a small hill near the Mitchell River, commemorating the passage of explorer Angus McMillan in 1840. At this time, an area of land was set aside as Howitt Park, named after A.W. Howitt. From the 1950s, this park was developed with sporting facilities and playgrounds.
The State primary school was on the Lucknow to Bruthen Road, but in 2003 moved to a new site in Howitt Road on the border between Lucknow and Wy Yung. (Both places were becoming urbanised.) The school's enrolments went from 197 in 2002 to 528 in 2014.
Glendale school, established by the highly conservative and controversial Exclusive Brethren Christian evangelicals, took over the old site.
Census populations for Lucknow have been:
Lucknow Primary School No. 1231: 125 years of memories 1873-1998, Lucknow, 1998