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Story of the settlement Underbool & District

Prior to settlement, descriptions of the Mallee were derogatory. It was known as a desolate, unproductive region where endless difficulties were experienced by those overlanders seeking to venture into the thick, sometimes impenetrable scrub country.

Pastoralists, Clow, Ellerman and Cameron to name a few, sought leases in the 1850’s, however, drought and vermin made the ventures fraught with hardships. Uncertain tenure along with lack of water did not encourage those leasing, to improve land. A Royal Commission in 1878 sought more controlled conditions for Mallee leases.

In 1883, the Mallee Leases Act approved the establishment of A and B Blocks by dividing Mallee land in lines of 10 mile intervals. T.H.Turner surveyed the County of Weeah into A and B blocks in 1887.         

Sir Thomas Bent, Premier of Victoria from 1904-09, recognised the potential for agricultural development along the Ouyen to Kow Plains route following the success of similar Mallee area in South Australia.

It was recognised that the three major requirements prior to settlement were: rail, road and water.

In 1907 the Mallee Select Committee recommended that Kow Plains be thrown open for selection and a rail link established. Following detailed investigations the rail extension from Ouyen to Kow Plains was deemed the most feasible by the Railways Standing Committee. A.S.Kenyon conducted the survey and by May 1908 the Ouyen to Underbool section was determined.

As rail sections were completed land was opened for selection with block sizes set at between 600-700 acres. Soils were reported to be fertile and underground water had been detected from Underbool west to the border. Public bores were sunk for the provision of water.

Surveying of land continued with the Parish of Nyang completed July 7, 1910 and Parish of Underbool July 24, 1910. In August 1910, 20,500 acres in Parish of Nyang and 31,000 acres in Parish of Underbool were declared available for selection, a total of 92 blocks. With applications closing September 14, the demand was immediate with 900 individuals seeking land.  On Dec 10, 1910 the names of the 90 successful candidates were published in the Age newspaper.

Surveying of Parish of Boinka was completed November 7, 1910; Worooa - June 9, 1911; Daalko - September 16 1911. In November 1910, 123 allotments were thrown open for selection in the Parishes of Boinka, Worooa and Manpy with closing date December 24, 1910.

The railway line from Ouyen to Kow Plains was officially declared open 25 June 1912.

And so began the story of our District, the fabric of which has been woven by the many families who dared to dream and ventured into the Mallee to make that dream a reality.

Once the central region of the Shire of Walpeup, now an outreach area of the Mildura Rural City Council, the Underbool district has flourished as an agricultural region, landholders determined to overcome whatever adversity comes their way. Whilst the townships of Boinka, Linga and Torrita have diminished, Underbool continues to provide service to the district despite the decrease in its population.


Have you seen our "Pioneer Wall"?   On it are recorded many of the original settlers and the blocks where they lived. There is also a map showing where these blocks are located.