Things to Do and See in Nhill Victoria
Nhill Victoria is a vibrant community located halfway between Melbourne and Adelaide along the Western Highway. It is also between Bordertown in South Australia and Horsham in Victoria. As well as being the administrative centre for Hindmarsh Shire, it is an important area for grain and duck farming. Known as a centre for merino sheep grazing, it is more commonly known as an important part of the Wimmera wheat belt, being home to the largest single-bin silo in the Southern Hemisphere.
The Shire claims a lifestyle that is complemented by the great outdoors, with breathtaking national parks and beautiful lakes in the region. Big Desert Wilderness Park is an area of sandstone ridges, sand dunes, mallee scrub and heath. Little Desert National Park was first made a reserve in 1955 to protect the mallee fowl and is now Victoria’s second largest national park with tea-trees, banksia and sheoak, stringybark and spring wildflowers. Wildlife includes possums, the black-faced kangaroo, the silky desert mouse, reptiles such as the bearded dragon and the short-tailed snake, and 220 bird species, including the Mallee Fowl which is indigenous to this semi-arid portion of Victoria.
Hindmarsh Shire also has a thriving arts community with creative and performing artists, the play Dimboola, the Piggery Lane Players, the Nhill Community Memorial Centre and the Nhill Arts Council. The Historical Museum is located in McPherson Street and the John Shaw Neilson National Memorial Cottage documents the poet’s life in Nhill.
Nhill is an Aboriginal word thought to mean “mist over the water.” The area has been home to the Wotjobaluk Aboriginal people for thousands of years and was first visited by Europeans in 1845 when squatters Dugald Macpherson and George Belche arrived. They understood the place to be called ‘nhill’, though the word was possibly an identification between the swamp and the people – the sub-group Nyill of the Tyatyalla tribe. Brothers Frank and John Oliver decided to build a sawmill on Crown land beside the Dimboola-Lawloit road, the township of Nhill grew from there.
The Nhill area went from grazing to wheat growing and by 1874 many farms had sprung up. Nhill was one of the first towns in Victoria to have electric street lighting. Nhill had Victoria’s first inland aerodrome, built as a refuelling stop halfway between Adelaide and Melbourne. Midway through World War II, Nhill’s aerodrome was turned into an air-navigation school.
If you like to play golf, the Nhill Golf Course is said to be one of the state’s best country 18-hole courses and was the 17th course opened in Victoria. Bushwalking, fishing and water sports are seasonal activities in the area.
Nhill has made its mark on the sporting world as the birthplace of Masters Australian football (Superules) and the hometown of Australian test
cricketers J.W. Trumble and Hugh Trumble. Nhill has an Australian Rules football team competing in the Wimmera Football League and the town is the base for the Cricket competition known as the West Wimmera Cricket Association. Nhill also has a golf course, the Nhill Golf Club on Netherby Road. For horse racing enthusiasts there is the Wimmera Racing Club, which holds the annual Nhill Cup meeting on Boxing day, the 26th of December.
Events and Activities around Nhill, Victoria
There are walking tracks to explore along the Wimmera River, the Nhill Lake and nearby national parks. Lake Nhill was originally part of Nhill Swamp and when not in drought there is boating, a boardwalk and plenty
of bird life. Herman’s Hill Tourist Walk is located to the north-east of town and offers a stroll through mallee scrub and heathland to a hill overlooking the surrounding district.
There is a bird-hide and an information bay. Activities around the shire include visiting the historic limestone Pella Church west of Rainbow or Ebenezer Mission at Antwerp. In Rainbow you can view the 1930s community murals and Edwardian Yurunga Homestead in Rainbow for a glimpse of days gone by. Visitors can also enjoy stargazing, picnics and friendly country hospitality and the Nhill Memorial Community Centre offers movie nights.
In February the Nhill Duck and Jazz Festival offers excellent music and delicious local cuisine.
Mid-October brings the shire’s Agricultural and Pastoral Show.
On Boxing Day everyone enjoys dressing up for the Nhill Cup horse races.
The Back to Nhill Festival is returning in October to celebrate what has happened in Nhill and district over the past 32 years since the last ‘Back To’ was held. The Nhill Show is also celebrating their 125 year anniversary in 2009. There will be a lot to see and enjoy so don’t miss out!