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Orbost

Orbost is a historic early settlers town in the Shire of East Gippsland, Victoria, 375 kilometres (233 mi) east of Melbourne and 235 kilometres (146 mi) south of Canberra where the Princes Highway crosses the Snowy River.

Details

  • Area:208.615 km2
  • Elevation:27 m
  • Population:2,227
  • Local Government Area:East Gippsland Shire Council

Description

Orbost is a historic early settlers town in the Shire of East Gippsland, Victoria, 375 kilometres (233 mi) east of Melbourne and 235 kilometres (146 mi) south of Canberra where the Princes Highway crosses the Snowy River. It is about 16 kilometres (10 mi) from the surf and fishing seaside town of Marlo on the coast of Bass Strait and 217 km drive to Mount Hotham Snow Resort. Orbost is the service centre for the primary industries of beef, dairy cattle and sawmilling. More recently, tourism has become an important and thriving industry, being the major town close to several national parks that are between the east access to either the surf or the snow, including the famous Snowy River National Park, Alpine National Park, Errinundra National Park, Croajingolong National Park and Cape Conran Coastal Park. The establishment of the Sailors Grave Brewery has also brought significant tourism to the area with its multiple festivals throughout the year. Cycling and canoeing have also become major tourist attractions drawing people worldwide to the area for its wide range of cycling tours and spectacular rivers throughout the region. # History Peter Imlay established the Snowy River Station for grazing in 1842, and his brother the Newmerella run nearby. In 1845 the land was sold to Norman McLeod, who named the area after Orbost farm in the northwest of Isle of Skye, in Scotland. Gold was discovered in the mid-1850s in the Bendoc area, in the mountains north of Orbost, which brought an influx of people to the district. By 1868 it was estimated that there was a population of 500 miners and squatters in the vicinity of Bendoc. The Cameron family settled on the rich alluvial river flats in 1876, followed by many other selectors, many of them Scottish migrants. Allan Burn opened the Post Office on 1 December 1880 named Neumerella (sic) and was renamed Orbost in 1883. He and wife Joyce (nee Morgan) had nine children. They owned 237 acres on the Snowy River (now Burn Rd). Allan and his brother Robert Burn arrived in Australia in 1850. Robert's descendants still live in Orbost today. A Newmerella office opened in 1889 and closed in 1897, then reopened in 1921. The township was proclaimed in 1890 and a bridge constructed across the Snowy River and a telegraph office established. Sawmills were established in the area and the first batch of sawn timber was cut at Orbost in 1882. By the late 1890s produce was regularly being exported to Melbourne via coastal trading vessels sailing up the Snowy River to Orbost. The railway from Melbourne arrived in 1916, allowing further agricultural settlement up the valley, and exploitation of native hardwood forests for timber and railway sleepers. TheOrbost railway line and surrounding townships have embarked on a campaign to "Save the Snowy River Rail Bridge."For most of the 20th century, Orbost was a fairly prosperous local centre for the forestry and agricultural industries and a supply point for smaller towns in the area.In the 1950s and 1960s several new sawmills were opened to exploit the native forests north and east of Orbost.By the 1980s logging of East Gippsland native forests had become an environmental issue.This resulted in the creation or extension of National Parks in the area, and a steady decline in forestry and sawmilling jobs.The general rural decline of the area and its economy saw the railway close in the mid-1980s and the population drop from around 4000 to around 2000 by the start of the 21st century.Logging and forestry continues to be a contentious issue in 2004 and 2005 in the Goolengook Valley, near the Errinundra National Park.The Snowy Mountains Scheme resulted in the waters of the Snowy River being diverted to the Murray and Murrumbidgee Rivers and associated irrigation schemes. During the 1990s the low level of water in the Snowy River was a major concern, with a political campaign to increase the flow of water from the dam at Jindabyne. Independent candidate from the Orbost district, Craig Ingram, was elected in 1999, and re-elected in 2002, to the Victorian Legislative Assembly on a platform to increase the flow of water in the Snowy River.The small rural communities of Bendoc, Bonang and Tubbut lie North East of Orbost. Delegate in NSW is the next major town geographically across the NSW/Vic Border from Orbost. # Weather Orbost has a mild temperate climate with warm summers and mild to cool winters. # Things to do

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