Whorouly is a rural township in north-east Victoria. It is on the Ovens River, between Wangaratta and Myrtleford, and is about 230 km from Melbourne.

Whorouly is situated in a basin with forested hills to its west, south and east. The basin has numerous creeks and billabongs, in addition to the Ovens River. During censuses before 1950 there were Whorouly East, North and South. Whorouly East and South continue as defined agricultural districts.

The district was occupied by Dr George Mackay in 1838 who took up the ‘Warouly’ pastoral run. The name is thought to be derived from an Aboriginal word meaning a black (or red) cockatoo, although another authority suggests the meaning was ‘underwater’.

Farm selections were opened up in the late 1860s and the Whorouly township surveyed in 1871. A Catholic church was opened in the early 1870s, the Anglican church in 1873 and a primary school in 1874. Whorouly East primary school opened in 1882. Farming was mixed as the plentiful water enabled crops such as oats, tobacco, potatoes and maize to be grown. Animal stock included sheep, pigs and dairy and fat cattle. A creamery was opened in 1896 and a library hall in 1907. Whorouly's farm produce gained better access to markets when the Wangaratta to Beechworth railway line (1883) passed within 5 km of Whorouly.

Soldier-settler farms at Whorouly East and Whorouly South resulted in a third school opening in 1925. During World War II an influx population of 1000 males occurred when an Italian Prisoner-of-War camp was at Whorouly East. Some ex-prisoners settled in the area after the war.

Whorouly has a school (26 pupils, 2014), hall, three churches (a Methodist church opened in 1960), memorial park with an oval and tennis courts, a hotel and a store. The schools at Whorouly East and South were closed in 1985.

The Whorouly District Community Plan was produced in 2010-11, prioritising upgrades to the recreation reserve and transport to the regional centre of Wangaratta.

The census populations for the Whorouly district have been:

Census date Population
1921 382
1954 447
1961 718
2006 785
2011 519

At the 2011 census dairy farming accounted for 6.3% of employment and other farming 11.2%.

Further Reading

Thomas Spink and Elsie Spink , Whorouly through the century 1861-1961, The authors, 1961

Whorouly East State School No 2478 Centenary Booklet 1882-1982, school editorial committee, 1982