Warracknabeal was first settled by the Scott brothers in 1845, they were squatters who took up a station of approx 124,000 acres which ran a reported 10,000 head of sheep. The Scott brothers called their station Werracknabeal which is an Aboriginal term for “gum trees shading the water course.” In 1869 The Land Act was introduced subdividing the Scott’s run into 320 acre blocks which were purchased by selectors reducing the Scott brothers holdings down to two 640 acre blocks.
Today Warracknabeal is a strong rural community supporting approx 2500 people. Warracknabeal is serviced by the 4 major banks and has 2 supermarkets, 2 hardware outlets, Country Target and a good number of speciality shops.
The major industries in the town are broad acre farming, the head quarters for the Yarriambiack Shire Council and the Woodbine Centre.
The Wimmera/Mallee pipeline was a major capital works program under taken in the region. Now that it is completed it brings high quality and effiicient water from the Grampians to the area making other industries such as mining possible.
Warracknabeal is serviced by 2 Primary Schools and a Secondary College. There is also a Special Development School for people with an intellectual disability and Woodbine which provides adult services for people with disabilities. Recently the hospital received a major upgrade and redevelopment. For a town of it’s size Warracknabeal is lucky to have a number of doctors, a dentists and a vet
The Wimmera/Mallee is one of the countries premier grain growing areas. The main industry in the area is broad acre farming. The average rainfall for the region is approx 15 inches of rain which enables the farmers to grow a wide range of winter crops from wheat and barley to lentils.
The area is well known for its very livable climate with mild winters and warm to hot summers. Autumn and Spring in the Wimmera/Mallee are the picks of the seasons when you wouldn’t want to live anywhere else.
Apart from the Grampians the landscape is flat for as far as the eye can see. The Wimmera river is the major water course in our area which feeds into Lake Hindmarsh at Jeparit. There are smaller lakes dotted around the area which are supplied with water from the Grampians Water Storages.
The Wimmera/Mallee is one of the last regions of Australia that offers value for money for the budget conscious buyer. Affordable housing and living, excellent schools and modern health facilities attract buyers from all over the country.
First to come to the area were the Scottish Parstoralists, earliest of whom was William Donald, who with his brothers John, Stirling, James and William Bogal Hamilton who applied in 1844 for a lease of 80,000 acres on the east side of the R ichardson River and 100,000 acres of Corack land adjacent to Lake Buloke on the north.
When a road from St Arnaud to Morton Plains was surveyed in 1864 the bridge was relocated. Johann Meyer built a weatherboard Store and Hotel near the site of the present Mt Jeffcott Hotel. Edward Miller followed him building his Royal Hotel and this was the nucleus of the Town that was called Richardson Bridge until the name “Donald” appeared on a survey map in 1866.
The influx of selectors to the surveyed farms in the early 1870’s was a stimulus to the Town, as storekeepers, blacksmiths, bakers, flour millers and Doctors arrived to meet the demand.
The Railway reached Cope Cope and Donald in 1882 and for many years was mainstay of the local shopkeepers, as the regular wages of the railway workers kept them solvent while waiting for the “after harvest” payments from the struggling selectors. Agriculture to this day remains the basis of livelihood in the District.
Today the Donald Township boasts a population of 1700, which is serviced by 2 Primary Schools, a High School, the Donald campus of East Wimmera Health and an Aged Care facility.
Donald is a strong community, local businesses include 3 hotels, 2 motels, a caravan park, numerous eateries, a supermarket, butcher, bakery, hardware, pharmacy and others supporting local agriculture industries. Manufacturing industries include “Kookas” and “Waratah” biscuits.
For more information on Donald please see donald.org.au and buloke.vic.gov.au