Noojee is a small township nestled in a valley in the Great Dividing Ranges, at the junction of the Latrobe and Loch Rivers. It is about 40 km north of Warragul in West Gippsland. According to Bunce's Language of the Aborigines of the Colony of Victoria (1859), Noojee is an Aboriginal word meaning cease.

Settlers moved into the area in the late 1880s but the steep terrain, dense forest and poor access made progress slow. In 1919, the branch railway line from Warragul was extended to Noojee. The steep descent into the valley incorporated seven high wooden trestle bridges. A township was laid out around the rail terminus. There was soon a store, post office, school and hall.

Vast amounts of timber were railed from Noojee, much of it transported to the station on tramways from the sawmills in the bush. One of the sawmills installed a hydroelectric plant to power its machinery, also supplying Noojee, Neerim and Warragul townships with electric power.

Bushfires are a constant threat and in 1926 a bushfire destroyed most of the town and many mills in the bush. The railway station and some of the railway bridges were also burnt. However, timber was in great demand and the town was soon thriving again. By 1933, Noojee had 249 inhabitants. In the 1930s, the Forests Commission established a Boys' Camp at Noojee to train unemployed youths as apprentices in forestry.

Bushfires almost completely razed the town again in 1939, with over 100 houses being destroyed. The hotel, with its well known dinosaur made of tree ferns, again escaped. The town was again rebuilt and the mills were busy salvaging fire-damaged timber. Gradually, roads were improved and the timber was carted out by truck. The railway line closed in 1954. In 1983 the town was evacuated as the Ash Wednesday bushfires approached, but was saved by a wind change.

There is still a sawmill operating in Noojee, but it is no longer solely a mill town. Nearly half of the houses in the town and district are used as weekenders or holiday homes.

Noojee has a general store, a hotel, a public hall, a school (11 pupils, 2014), a church and a CFA station.

Road access has been greatly improved in recent years and Noojee is a convenient base for camping, bushwalking, horse riding and fishing and for skiing at Mt Baw Baw. Nearby are the impressive Toorongo Falls and the Ada Tree, one of the largest trees in Australia. The only remaining railway trestle bridge has been repaired and is part of a walking track to Noojee.

Noojee's census populations have been:

census date population
1911 70
1933 249
1947 368
1961 378
1966 307
2006 261
2011 277

Further Reading

G. Butler, Buln Buln: a history of the Buln Buln Shire, 1979

D. Hunt, Noojee and Neerim, 1989

F. Palmos, Souvenir of Back to Noojee 1973, 1973

K.A. Pretty, Buln Buln to Baw Baw: a history of the Shire of Buln Buln from 1978 to 1994 and its transition into the Baw Baw Shire, 1995