Towns in Australia

Exploring Australia, town by town

Swan Hill VIC

Swan Hill

Postcode: 3585

Swan Hill is a city in the north west of Victoria, Australia. It is located on the Murray Valley Highway, on the south bank of the Murray River, downstream from the junction of the Loddon River. In the 2001 census, Swan Hill had 9,771 residents.

Swan Hill gives its name to a wine region straddling the Murray River. The vines are predominantly irrigated from the river.

The visitor information centre has a giant Murray Cod out the front. The historic Pioneer Settlement Museum is a tourist attraction, along with rides on the PS Pyap.

The European community grew up around a punt river crossing, which was established as early as 1846. This crossing serviced the growing agricultural area, and was the only river crossing for 100 km.

In 1853 Francis Cadell navigated the Murray river from its mouth in South Australia to Swan Hill in his paddle steamer, Lady Augusta. He arrived on 17 September 1853, narrowly beat William Randell of Mannum, who arrived 4 hours later in the in PS Mary Ann. This demonstrated the feasibility of river traffic, which flourished until the introduction of the railway in May 1890.

In 1883, the first of several red brick water towers were built to supply the growing town with water. Water was pumped out of the river and into the top of the tower by a wood-fired steam engine, and the then flowed by gravitation to surrounding businesses and private residences. Many of these towers can still be seen around town.

Swan Hill became a city in 1965.