Thorpdale, Victoria

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Thorpdale
Victoria
Thorpdale - town sign.JPG
"Welcome to Thorpdale - Heart of Potato Country"
Australia Victoria Shire of Baw Baw location map.svg
Red pog.svg
Thorpdale
Coordinates 38°17′0″S146°10′0″E / 38.28333°S 146.16667°E / -38.28333; 146.16667 Coordinates: 38°17′0″S146°10′0″E / 38.28333°S 146.16667°E / -38.28333; 146.16667
Population447 (2006 census) [1]
Postcode(s) 3835
Location
LGA(s) Shire of Baw Baw
State electorate(s) Narracan
Federal Division(s) Monash

Thorpdale is a small country town in the Gippsland area of eastern Victoria, Australia, less than 20 km south of Trafalgar. Famous for its potatoes, it is located amongst the rich farmland of the Latrobe Valley. Thorpdale spuds are eaten around the country and also exported overseas. The name "Thorpdale" means "village in a valley". [2] The soil in the area is particularly rich as the town is located in a former volcanic crater. It is administered by the Shire of Baw Baw. At the 2006 census, Thorpdale and the surrounding area had a population of 447.

Contents

History

John Longstaff's Gippsland, Sunday night, February 20th, 1898 Gippsland, Sunday night, February 20th, 1898.jpg
John Longstaff's Gippsland, Sunday night, February 20th, 1898

The Thorpdale district, known at first as the Narracan district, was settled by Europeans in the 1870s. The first European settlers arrived from the old Melbourne – Sale Road via McDonalds Track – a stock route that had been surveyed in 1862 through the hills from Lang Lang to Morwell Bridge, but which later became disused and very much overgrown. Land selection began at Narracan (near the eastern end of the track) in 1873, and progressed steadily along the track, reaching Narracan West in 1876.

A Post Office opened on 1 October 1879 as Narracan West. It was renamed Thorpdale in 1884, Thorpdale South in 1888, and closed in 1968. The present town of Thorpdale (situated about 2 km north of the old town) was founded in 1888, following the opening of a branch railway line from Moe. A new Thorpdale Post Office opened in 1888 near the railway station. [3] The railway line closed in December 1958. [4]

At its height, Thorpdale was a business centre for all the farming activity that surrounded it. Much of the old town was destroyed during the large Red Tuesday (20 January 1898) bushfire that ravaged Gippsland and the Otway Ranges.

The Town today

Today, the Thorpdale township is becoming smaller and smaller as more farming families opt to live in larger townships such as Trafalgar.[ citation needed ] The national decline in consumption of potatoes is making even farming difficult in the small town.[ citation needed ]

The town has an Australian rules football team competing in the Mid Gippsland Football League.

Potato farming

In late 2008, the town was hit by the news that a potato disease ( potato cyst nematode ) had been found among its crops. The disease is not harmful to humans but can significantly reduce crop yields. Thorpdale farms were quarantined and banned from exporting potatoes interstate and overseas. [5] Interstate trade has since resumed. [6]

Attractions

The township holds the Thorpdale Potato Festival each year on the Victorian Labour Day holiday in March, although it was not held from 2002 to 2015, after the insurance cost became too great for the small community to bear. [7] The festival features potato sack races, Historic machinery, eating contests, market stalls, and much more. The lush farming surrounds give the town a peaceful rural atmosphere and there are several scenic sights nearby, including the Narracan Falls, Trafalgar South Lookout and Henderson's Gully.

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References

  1. Australian Bureau of Statistics (25 October 2007). "Thorpdale (State Suburb)". 2006 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 1 October 2007.
  2. "Trafalgar". The Sydney Morning Herald. 8 February 2004. Retrieved 12 November 2010.
  3. Premier Postal History. "Post Office List". Archived from the original on 10 May 2008. Retrieved 11 April 2008.
  4. Harrigan, Leo J. (1962). Victorian Railways to ‘62. Melbourne: Victorian Railways Public Relations and Betterment Board. p. 287.
  5. Mallia, Shaun (23 October 2008). "POTATO PLIGHT". Latrobe Valley Express. Retrieved 12 November 2010.
  6. "Interstate trading to resume for Thorpdale potatoes". ABC News. 17 December 2008. Retrieved 12 November 2010.
  7. "Thorpdale Potato Festival". Name of Template. Retrieved 22 June 2020.

1. Jim Tilgner, Recalling 100 Years (Thorpdale Centenary Committee, 1976). 2. John Adams FRHSV, So Tall the Trees (Narracan Shire Council, 1978). 3. Walter E. Savige - Savige Russell Powell 1848-1880 (Camberwell, 1981). 4. Kevin Murray – The Murrays Part 1 1840s-1890s (Melbourne, 1996). 5. Walter Savige - Historic Narracan [electronic resource], 2004. 6. Kenneth Cox - Call Back Yesterday (North Balwyn, 1979), pp 50–53.