Nestled in dairy farm country in the foothills of the Strzelecki Ranges in South Gipslandshire, Leongatha has a population of about 7,000 and is approximately 130Km south east from Melbourne. It was settled in 1845 and was originally called Koorooman but was renamed in 1891 when the train service from Melbourne was established – this ceased 102 years later. Surrounding towns include Meeniyan, Korumburra, Mirboo North and Foster. Further south east is the seaside town of Port Welshpool which has a physical connect to Leongatha via the Great Southern Rail Trail. Now the pathway for bikes, horses and walking after the suspension of rail traffic, it stretches for 70km. In the township bearing the postcode’s name are boutique shops along the very wide Bair and McCartin Streets. Where these two roads intersect sits the Post Office (built in 1887), the Court House (1912) and a local history museum that started its life as the Mechanics institute, also in 1912. The most impressive building, though, is the Memorial Hall (1926) which multitasks as an art and craft gallery, community hall, tourist information and the citizen’s advice bureau.
The Murray-Goulburn Dairy factory sits north of the township part of the largest dairy co-operative in Australia, it was established in 1950. It’s large – huge in fact, accounting for 35% of Australia’s milk production and 7% of world dairy trade. Apart from dairy, the area also produces significant quantities of beef and snow peas, vegetables, herbs and berries.
The locals have multiple sports facilities including a heated indoor pool, an equestrian park, a velodrome and a number of sports grounds. 2016 saw the 60th annual daffodil and floral show and the 40th Arts Prom Country Art and Photography Show.
Pictures and words sent in by Alan Bennett.