80 Year Anniversary of Murchison Bridge

The iconic bridge across the Goulburn River at Murchison was officially opened amid week-long celebrations, on 31st March 1937, 80 years ago.

Photo above of Light Horse parade and the crowd at the opening of the bridge in 1937.

Celebrations to mark the occasion of the 80 year anniversary will be a very much more modest affair than in 1937! On Saturday 1st of April 2017, some old cars of the 1937 era will travel over the bridge from the east side at approximately 10.30 am, driving slowly to allow for photo opportunities, turn right along the main street, Stevenson Street, and travel up to the Heritage Centre where the drivers will be welcomed with morning tea, a guided tour of the Gallery and some interesting photos about the building of the bridge. Police will be in attendance to stop the traffic briefly to allow the cars a safe and individual passage across the bridge. Heritage Centre will be open for any visitors.

The festivities in 1937 were considerably more impressive! Hundreds of people travelled to Murchison to attend a combined ‘Back To’ and opening of the bridge with many events organised over the Easter period. There were concerts, processions, a cycling race, church services, Fancy Dress Ball, picnic at the show grounds and a show by the Dramatic Club even before Lord Huntingfield, the Governor of Victoria arrived who would officially open the bridge. After the Governor was welcomed at a formal Civic Reception in the gardens with lots of introductions, speeches, formalities and singing from the school children, it is reported some two or three thousand people witnessed Lord Huntingfield make his speech and cut the ribbon. Finally, on Wednesday 31st March 1937, the Murchison Bridge was officially open.

But the celebrations were not over yet! After lunch enjoyed at the notable Gregory’s Hotel, the Governor went out to the Dargalong and Murchison District Turf Club for a special ‘Back To’ race meeting. Here he presented the trophies to the owner and jockey of the winning horse in the main feature, a mile long ‘Back to Murchison’ handicap race. The week finished that evening with a dance and euchre party. They certainly knew how to kick up their heels in Murchison in 1937!

Even though celebrations will be much more modest, do come along on Saturday first of April to see the old cars, take some photos and reflect on the service this bridge has provided as an important crossing place in our region for 80 years.

Enquiries: 0475 018 743 or email: murchison-historical-society@hotmail.com

(Reference: WHBossence, Hawthorn Press, 1965)

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ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING for year ending 28.2.1917

The ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING & will be held on

Tuesday 21st of March 2017

 at 7.30pm in the Murchison Heritage Centre

 Featuring an interactive presentation about the Murchison Riverbank Gardens

Your memories, recollections and comments will add to the exploration of the history and development of our delightful Riverbank Gardens.

All welcome to attend. The meeting will be followed by supper.

Enquiries: 0475 018 743

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Event Cancelled

Unfortunately the open day at Day’s Mill has been cancelled due to Parks Vic. Staffing issues. It will be rescheduled at another time.

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Day’s Mill Open Day in February



Anyone keen to visit Day’s Mill will have an opportunity on Sunday 19th February from 10.30 am to 1.30 pm.

This Open Day is arranged as part of City of Greater Shepparton’s Activities in the Park Program and entry is free. Bring along the family and enjoy a picnic after exploring the Mill, house and outbuildings. Signage at various locations explains many aspects of daily life and farming practises as they happened in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s.



The Mill and farm complex located in Day Road, South Murchison, was established by the Day family from 1865.  It was acquired by Parks Victoria in the 1980’s as it is the best preserved example of a 19th century steam-driven flour mill in Victoria. This Heritage listed site is remarkably intact and visitors will feel transported back in time while wandering around the property.


Belinda Conna, Team Leader Healthy Communities, Greater Shepparton City Council – 5832 9432     Email:  belinda.conna@shepparton.vic.gov.au

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Open Hours during Christmas

The Heritage Centre will be closed Saturday 24th and Saturday 31st December.

We apologise for any inconvenience. The Centre will resume normal Saturday opening times as from 7th January 2017: 10 am to 12.30pm every Saturday. Visitors are very welcome at other times by arrangement.

To organise a visit other than a Saturday morning please email:


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Visit from Artist’s Grand-daughter

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One of von Gruenewaldt’s murals.

The murals painted on the walls of the Recreation Hall once used at Camp 13 Murchison, are well-known locally as they were retrieved when the hall was demolished and now hang in venues around the township of Murchison.

These comical caricatures were painted by Hans Wolter von Gruenewaldt, a German POW in Camp 13. Hans was a Mining Engineer working in South Africa who was trying to escape internment when World War 2 broke out, but was captured by the British on board a ship off the coast of South Africa. He had an eventful journey after that, from miraculously surviving being torpedoed aboard the ill-fated Arandora Star only to be transported to Australia under appalling conditions on the notorious ‘hell-ship’ Dunera.

During his time in Camp 13 his artistic ability was evident as he sketched and drew the scenes around him, painted portraits of his fellow in-mates and decorated the backdrops for various stage productions. He used a wide variety of painting and drawing materials according to what could be sourced.

The Murchison Historical Society have a large collection of his work that have been donated by his son, Axel.

Recently, von Gruenewaldt’s grand-daughter Fleur and partner Steve, who live in New Zealand, visited Murchison. We were able to show them the murals hanging in the Community Centre and DPJones Nursing Home, as well as the large collection housed at the Heritage Centre. Fleur was delighted to see her Grandfather’s ability to paint in a wide range of medium, the extent of styles and obvious talent evident in his works. We also drove out to the site of Camp 13 and explained how the camp was set out and how it functioned.

It was wonderful to have a visit from von Gruenewaldt’s grand-daughter. Fleur would like to return to Murchison and bring her mother with her – hopefully in October 2017 to coincide with the launch of a book telling von Gruenewaldt’s amazing story.


Fleur and Steve outside entrance to the site of POW Camp 13 Murchison


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Procession to lay flowers

Despite cold rainy weather, hundreds attended the Annual pilgrimage to the Italian Ossario at the Murchison Cemetery.


Flowers on the monument

The colourful pageantry was added to with many colours of assorted umbrellas but the weather didn’t seem to deter those that had travelled from long distances, some from interstate but mostly from Melbourne Italian Clubs and communities.

The formal proceedings included a speech from City of Greater Shepparton Cr. Bruce Giovanetti who also laid a wreath representing the people of Shepparton.


Cr. Bruce Giovanetti

The Murchison Lions Club was very supportive, with the surrounds in good order and on the day providing fresh flowers from Murchison Flower Farm for the attendees. The Club also organised for the Community Centre to be open so everyone could shelter from the rain and cold instead of the usual picnic in the gardens. Music soon filled the hall and many kicked up their heels and danced the afternoon away!

It is wonderful to see so many coming to this unique place each year to remember those Italian Internees and Prisoners of War who died on Australian soil during the Second World War.  The Ossario is the last resting place for 129 men and one woman of Italian descent, who passed away behind barbed wire in Camps all over Australia and whose remains were retrieved many years later to be together in one place here at the Ossario in Murchison.


Dignitaries at the Ossario

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