Major Thomas Mitchell, the first European to explore the Wimmera district, was moved to describe the country he saw in 1836 as “ready for the immediate reception of civilized man and destined perhaps to become a portion of a great empire”. His glowing description of the Wimmera encouraged the squatters, who combed the countryside over the next few years and “took up” first the frontages of streams and then moved steadily outwards.
The first of the squatters to occupy land around the future Warracknabeal, were the Scott brothers, who in 1845 moved to a spot on Yarriambiack Creek which they called “Werracknabeal” after the Aboriginal word describing the gum trees shading the watercourse and established their “run” or station. Under the Scotts, the total area of the Station was reported to be 124,000 acres and supported up to 100,000 sheep. The Land Act of 1869 divided the area into 320 acre blocks for lease and eventual purchase by selectors, who arrived from many parts of Victoria and South Australia. The vast area grazed by the Scotts was reduced to two 640 acre sections, and these were finally sold in 1887, ending the squatters’ era in Warracknabeal. The Scotts are remembered through the naming of the main street in their honour.
Today, Warracknabeal is a thriving rural commercial centre, with a permanent population of about 2400, at the centre of the major grain growing area of the State. Wheat and barley remain the main cash crops but canola, peas, beans and lupins provide the diversification necessary in modern farming. The climate provides mild winters and warm summers, with an average rainfall of 430mm (17 inches) and a delightful spring and autumn.
The scarce water resource provided by the creek was the deciding factor in the selection of this site for settlement by the Scott brothers and the early survival of the community was dependent on it as the town’s only water supply. Today, it provides a haven for numerous water birds and the majestic gums that line its banks attract many varieties of native birds and animals to share this unique environment with the local residents. A walking track follows both sides of the creek providing a relaxing 4km stroll to enjoy the scenery and fresh air.
Fauna Park / Picnic Area – Craig Avenue
Created and maintained by the local Lions Club, this popular park is situated on a picturesque bend of the creek, surrounded by magnificent gums, providing free electric BBQ facilities, picnic tables, a children’s adventure playground and a collection of native birds and animals.
Wheatlands Agricultural Machinery Museum – Henty Highway (1km South)
It is appropriate that the most comprehensive collection of farm machinery in Australia should be found in the heart of the most productive grain growing area in Australia. This 16 hectare site is dedicated to the collection, restoration and display of agricultural machinery used over the past 100 years, with particular emphasis on the wheat industry.
Wheatlands Warehouse – Secondhand Store
Cnr Scott & Phillip Streets Ph 03 5394 1231
Huge warehouse of secondhand goods including furniture, tools, sporting equipment, glassware, crockery, books, videos and various collectables, all sold “on consignment” with profits going towards the further development of the Museum. Operated by Museum volunteers the warehouse is open daily.
Anzac Park – Scott Street
Built as a memorial to the fallen of World War 1, it is the sporting centre of Warracknabeal, housing football, cricket, tennis, netball and swimming.
Historical Centre – Scott Street
On display is a collection of all the items that make up the history of a typical Wimmera town. Housed in the town’s first State Savings Bank, the display consists of furniture, pictures, maps, kitchen utensils and the personal items found in the homes of the pioneers of the era. The bank chamber is as it was on opening day in 1909.
Federation Place – Cnr Scott & Woolcock Streets
The roundabout was constructed and the four street corners redeveloped in 2001 in recognition of the Centenary of Federation. The centrepiece is an unique life size sculpture of six sheep and kelpie sheep dog to signify the role of the squatters in the early settlement of the Warracknabeal area.
Post Office – Scott Street
This attractive example of Tudor style architecture was built in 1907 and still remains a unique feature of the shopping centre.
The Log Lock Up – Devereux Street
Built in 1872 when the first permanent policeman came to town and was used until 1960. Open daily for inspection – no charge.
Warracknabeal Hotel and Commercial Hotel – Scott Street
The iron work on the verandahs and balconies is a fine example of the craftsmanship of the 19th century.
Water Tower – Molyneaux Street
Built for use by the railways in 1886, it was used as the town’s water storage for 30 years.
Court House – Woolcock Street
Built in 1891 and currently used by the Historical Society and Arts Council.
Anglican Church – Anderson Street
Built in 1887 and still in use today.
18 hole, sand belt course with first class greens and lush watered fairways. Carved from virgin bush about 60 years ago, the course is a delight for lovers of native flora and fauna. The club is fully licensed and a synthetic bowling green is an additional feature. The annual tournament week is usually the last week in August, when the course is at its best. Visitors are welcome all year round. Phone (03) 5398 2035.
Very popular sport in the town and nine courts (two lit for night tennis) are provided at Anzac Park.
Full size, solar heated Olympic Pool is situated in a lawn setting at Anzac Park and is open to the public from November to March each year.
Men’s and Ladies clubs offer two synthetic greens as well as a croquet green. Bowls can be played all year round and visitors are most welcome. Annual Tournament is held around Australia Day.
A number of meetings each season are held at this excellent grass track. The first class facilities, strong betting ring and attractive surroundings, draw racegoers from all over the State.
Leisure Complex – Anderson Street
An excellent stadium providing indoor facilities for Squash, Table Tennis, Basketball, Netball, Badminton, Bowls, Volleyball, Indoor Cricket, Gymnasium, and Circuit Work. It caters for groups and individuals of all ages. Phone (03) 5398 1246.