Ouyen, Victoria, Australia
OUYEN - OVERVIEW
Before European settlement the area is thought to have been occupied by the Wergaia Aborigines. Some believe the name 'Ouyen' derives from the Wergaia term 'wuya-wuya', the name of a pink-eared duck, presumably once common in the area, others suggest it means 'ghost waterhole'.
The township of Ouyen developed around a railway station which was established in 1906 after the Melbourne to Mildura line was built. Farming blocks (640 acres) in the area were sold in 1910 and cleared for sheep grazing, wheat, barley and oat production. Water supply was initially caught in catchment dasms and transported by horse drawn wagons, later a system of gravitation channels were constructed from the Grampians in the Wimmera.
The reason the Mallee was the last region to be settled in Victoria is evident in one of the town's choice of symbols. Beside the Calder Highway at Blackburn Park Recreation Reserve, in the heart of town, lies the largest Mallee stump in Australia. It is a reminder of not only the difficulties faced by European settlers in clearing the area, but also of the agricultural basis of the region. The scrubby territory was once covered in the drought-resistant eucalypt (Mallee), which proved immensely difficult to uproot and destroy (Mallee root -lignotuber). Any remnant of the subterranean root system led to regeneration and a heartbreaking renewal of efforts at clearing. Today the dense wood is used for wood turning and heating, although its availability as a resource is limited.
Ouyen is now a transport and service centre for a vast area occupied by dryland agricultural (predominantly cereals) and grazing properties. Enormous convoys of trucks (road & rail) transport barley & wheat to Portland and various regional flourmills. Ouyen boasts the sixth largest Livestock Exchange in Victoria, with sales of 250,000 head of sheep and lambs per year.
Ouyen is situated on the crossroads of the Calder Highway (Melbourne-Mildura) and the Mallee Highway (Sydney-Adelaide). Regional centres are Mildura 110 kilometres to the north and Swan Hill 150 kilometres to the east.
The township and surrounds are serviced by the Mallee Track Health & Community Service, Ouyen P-12 College, Sunraysia Institute of TAFE, Victoria Police, State Emergency Service (SES), Country Fire Authority (CFA), Ambulance Victoria, a thriving Football & Netball Club, Lawn Bowls, Lawn Tennis Courts, Golf Course and Swimming Pool. Ouyen is also serviced by an all weather airstrip, supermarket, the Ouyen Club, the Victoria Hotel and has a vibrant shopping centre.
Ouyen has sustained a population of 1300 + since the late 1970's. The Ouyen township is in the heart of the Victorian Mallee and surrounded by a beautiful array of national parks, Wyperfeld, Hattah-Kulkyne and Murray Sunset National Parks. The northern area of Wyperfeld is 60 kilometres to the south-west, Hattah Lakes & Murray River are only 40 kilometres north and the Pink Lakes part of the Murray Sunset National Park, are 70 kilometres to west. All three parks have an abundance of drought-resistant wildflowers (as many as 100 varieties), unique wildlife and breathtaking landscapes, with access tracks throughout (4 wheel drive is advisable).
Ouyen celebrated the centenary of its proclamation year in 2009 with 12 months of celebrations, hosting 9 major events all featured on DVD 'Ouyen a Town of Choice'.
This website is managed By Ouyen Inc