Things to do and see

Murtoa has many local attractions worth staying for.

Murtoa abounds in both, with a largely original early 20th century shopping centre and many buildings of significance throughout the town. These include the Rotunda (1907) and famous arched Memorial Gates (1920) located at the Marma Lake Reserve.

Others in the township are the C.B.A. bank (1877-83), Railway Station (1878), Primary School (1875), Dr Rabl’s residence (1897) and many other private houses, churches and public institutions of the period 1880s to 1930s, when Murtoa was at its peak population. The Marma Gully Hotel is typical of the Wimmera’s fine iron lace hotels and was built in 1913.

The Murtoa Cemetery is a very well-preserved Wimmera example and features new facilities including a wonderful scuptured memorial seat to recognise the many children buried within its precinct. Most early features are intact, including many German inscribed graves, glass domed porcelain flower arrangements and early headstones.

There are several well-recognised Aboriginal sites in the Barrabool Forest just South of Murtoa, with large numbers of ‘marked’ trees throughout. Other sites can be found nearby too, many within private land, and there is a small collection of locally found Aboriginal items in the Water Tower Museum. The Murtoa area was home to the Jardwa people.

Barrabool Nature Reserve

Just south of Murtoa, this reserve is a place of largely un-disturbed Wimmera forest with important Aboriginal sites and many marked trees.

It is accessible only when dry via the many tracks throughout. Some ancient trees and even older waterways abound within – a real treat for the Nature buff.

Dunmunkle Sumpoiler’s Historic Engines Museum

  • 03 5385 2628

Located in the old Wimmera Inland Freezing Works buildings on the Eastern edge of Murtoa are some massive Ruston-Hornsby engines.

They are of impressive size, up to twenty tonnes or more, and were originally installed to generate power and refrigeration for the Works in 1911. They are probably unique to be still sited on their original foundations to this day.

Watching them run is a truly unforgettable experience and the Sumpoilers have set aside special days for viewing, when they also add a wonderful array of other engines, allied items and artefacts to the display from their own collections.

GrainCorp Receival Centre

Victoria’s largest inland grain storage, ‘Marmalake’ is located adjacent the Stick Shed and is a hive of activity during the Summer harvest, with a vast number of trucks carrying many varieties of crop to the huge storage areas, both above, and on the ground.

The products are mostly transported to their various destinations via the adjacent railway, then shipped overseas as need and market demands.

Lake Marma

This delightful lake can only be described as a tranquil oasis with its abundant birdlife and lovely treed surrounds. Originally a small dammed natural swamp it became incorporated into the Wimmera Mallee water supply system over a century ago and was the source of Murtoa’s drinking water until recently, when it became piped to town.

The Lake has always been a haven for wildlife, due to its safe location within Murtoa, and a 2km easy walk around the lake provides many varied scenes including its famous sunset and sunrise views, for which it is renowned.

Murtoa Cemetery

Three kilometres east of town is a very well-preserved 19th Century cemetery which features many intact early floral decorations and graves with old German inscriptions dating from the 1870s.

It has recently had a wonderful sculpture seat added as a memorial to the children buried within, which features a Madonna and child motif.

Rabl Park

Named after Murtoa’s most prominent doctor and long-resident family, the park has been largely developed by the now-defunct Apex Club over many years.

The hard work of this group has seen a wasteland and swamp become a delightful area for public use to the immediate North Lake Marma. It has semi-permanent water in an irregular lake, stocked with fish. There are very attractive treed surrounds, jetties, bridges, a playground, BBQ and new toilet facilities with tourism information.

The Park also features the re-located 1896 Murtoa Railway Station footbridge spanning the lake narrows and a well-used, large Skate Park for those inclined. There are made paths and plenty of space to enjoy.

Stick Shed

Originally built as a war-time emergency grain storage in 1941, this unique structure has become a memorial to Aussie ingenuity and the local farming community.

It was constructed using over 560 natural mountain ash poles and is 270m in length. Soaring to 19m in height and a width of 60m, it gives the impression of a vast forest inside, and the sheer volume of this empty building, given its bush-style construction methods, is overwhelming.

The Stick Shed is currently open each year during Murtoa’s BIG Weekend festival, and has been largely restored by Heritage Victoria. It will be open on a more regular basis after access issues (being addressed at present) are sorted out. Call 03 5385 2422 for info.

Water Tower Museum and Concordia Cottage

  • 03 5385 2287

Within the circular walls of the 1886 Railways water tower are three floors of local historic items and artefacts, including the famous James Hill taxidermy collection of over 500 birds and other fauna.

Concordia Cottage is the last remaining section of the original Lutheran Concordia College established in Murtoa in the 1890s. It holds local relevant historical material.

Both open Sunday 2-5pm or by appointment.