Although Campaspe Shire Council is a relatively new municipality, its history goes back thousands of years to the days of the traditional owners, while European settlement in the shire started the first half of the 19th century. 

Aboriginal heritage

The Campaspe region has a strong and rich Aboriginal culture, going back at least 26,000 years and evident in the range of significant Aboriginal sites including Murray River, Kow Swamp, Lake Cooper and Kanyapella depression.

Traditional Owners have unique rights to their country. Aboriginal People are the primary guardians, keepers and knowledge holders of Aboriginal cultural heritage.

Campaspe Shire incorporates three Traditional Owner Groups: Dja Dja Wurrung, Taungurung; and Yorta Yorta. Effective relationships with these groups will support actions towards ongoing reconciliation.

Reconciliation Victoria has developed a number of resources to provide information about each of the 79 Victorian local government areas through the Maggolee website.

In acknowledgement of the traditional owners Campaspe Shire Council has adopted the following statement:

The Shire of Campaspe is the traditional lands of the Dja Dja Wurrung, Taungurung and Yorta Yorta peoples.

We respect and acknowledge their unique Aboriginal cultural heritage and pay our respect to their ancestors, descendants and emerging leaders as the Traditional Owners of this country.

We acknowledge their living culture and their unique role in the life of this region.

Find out a little about how places across the shire got their names: 


Campaspe Shire Council was established in 1994 with the amalgamation of the City of Echuca, Town of Kyabram, Shire of Rochester, Shire of Waranga and Shire of Deakin.

The shire takes its name from the Campaspe River. Major Sir Thomas L Mitchell gave the river its title in 1836 on his way to Mount Macedon, naming it after Alexander the Great’s concubine.


Echuca is situated close to the junction of the Goulburn, Campaspe and Murray Rivers. Echuca is an Aboriginal name meaning "meeting of the waters" and indicates how important rivers have been in the town's history.

It was founded by one of the more enterprising characters of Victoria’s early colonial days; an ex-convict named Henry Hopwood. In 1850 he bought a small punt which operated across the Murray River near the Campaspe junction. The relatively small settlement formerly known as "Hopwood's Ferry" became Echuca as the town grew.

For more information: Echuca Historical Society, Dickson Street, Echuca (PO Box 451, Echuca 3564) 5480 1325


Kyabram takes its name from the Aboriginal word Kiambram meaning thick forest.

For more information on the area’s history contact: Kyabram and District Historical Society, PO Box 758, Kyabram, 3620


Rochester was named after Dr John Pearson Rowe, who provided accommodation for the many drovers and prospectors passing through the district. In 1854, the settlement around his hotel was known as "Rowe's Camp" which after being named "Rowechester" in the township survey, was gazetted in 1855 as the traditionally English "Rochester".

For more information: Rochester Historical and Pioneer Society, C/- 111 High Street, Rochester, 3561


Tongala is the Aboriginal name for this section of the Murray River. The town was given the name by Edward Mickelthwaite Curr in 1841 where he held a station.

For more information: Tongala Family History Group, C/- Mrs Bev Williams, Scobie Road, Kyvalley, 3561


Located 9kms north east of Rochester, Ballendella is the Aboriginal word for "resting place”. In the early days of European settlement, it was part of the Restdown Station and was then known as Bamawm East.

With the introduction of irrigation in 1910 the large holdings were subdivided into small holdings.


Bamawm takes its name for the Aboriginal word for "windy".

Before being open for selection Bamawm had been part of Restdown and Wharparilla Station runs. In 1872, 60 blocks were selected for sale.


Situated approximately 14 kms from Rochester, Corop takes its name from the peculiar “kor-rop” cry of the local native birds.

James Cooper, who established Burramboot Station in 1841, was the first white man to settle in Corop. Lake Cooper, known by the Indigenous people as Paboinboolok, which means shallow sheet of water, is named after him.


Lockington is situated 24 kms north west of Rochester. Three of the blocks on which Lockington is built were originally known as Archibalds. The fourth block, where the railway station is located, was originally known as Piordins, then later as Joyces.

Before irrigation, Lockington and the surrounding district was a wheat growing area, and was then known as Bamawm.

The first government subdivision sale of town allotments was held in 1921, and subsequent allotments of the Joyce and Archibald estates were sold in 1923.

Lockington is named after a locality north west of Hull, England.

For more information: Lockington & District Living Heritage Centre, Market Street, Lockington, 5486 2515


Nanneella is the aboriginal word for "sandy ground".

In 1870, Patrick McCurry came from Kyneton and selected 320 acres on which to settle. He was the first settler to bore for and strike water. At that time, Nanneella was a forest, which was home to the local Indigenous people.


Rushworth was named by English poet, Richard Hengist "Orion" Horne in 1854. He was Junior Assistant Gold Commissioner at Waranga goldfields. He named it RushWorth because it was either a "rush worthwhile", or perhaps, after travelling with Henry and Rose Rushworth, fellow passengers on the sailing ship "Kent" from England. 

Other Campaspe towns and natural features 

Tennyson was first called Pannoomilloo West and was later changed to Tennyson by James Steen. 

Wyuna Waioona comes from the Aboriginal word for "clear water". 

Koyuga comes from the Aboriginal word for “plain in the forest” 

Timmering is derived from the Aboriginal word "tinara" meaning "kangaroo". 

Carag Carag is derived from the Aboriginal word from "Carrak" meaning "magpie". 

Mount Scobie is named after Mitchell Forbes Scobie, who was not only the first man to occupy the Wyuna pastoral run but also the first squatter in the Western Goulburn Valley. 

Colbinabbin means meeting of the red and black soils