Watchupga is a rural locality and small village in north-west Victoria, 30 km north-west of Birchip. It is on the Sunraysia Highway and the railway line to Mildura.

By 1893 the railway line had extended as far north-west as Birchip, and in that year the first farm selections occurred in the Watchupga area. The Mallee soils favoured an endemic shrub, the Dodonea or Hop Bush, which was named Watchupga by Aboriginal communities. The wood of some species of hop bush is dense and hard, and was used for making native clubs.

Within three years of the early farm selections a local school was opened. Three years later (1899) the railway line was extended through Watchupga, and a small settlement formed around the station. A new school was opened at the station in 1901, along with a store and a blacksmith. The blacksmith later expanded to become a farm implement works, and a motor garage when horse power gave way to traction power and cars.

The predominantly Catholic community built a church in 1908 and a larger building in 1961. During the 1970s, however, declining population caused the general store to close in 1972 and the primary school in 1974. The railway station was demanned, but the siding has large grain storage facilities. The area's farming is mainly cereals and sheep, with livestock water supplied from the Grampians. Watchupga also has a public hall (c1960) and tennis courts. Its census populations have been:

Census Date Population
1911 207
1947 173
1961 127

Further Reading

Nancy Schumann, Land worth saving: history of Woomelang, Lascelles and Watchupga, Sunnyland Press, c1988