The Rural City of Wangaratta is proud of its cultural, social, natural and built heritage. ‘Wangaratta’ is indigenous language for (‘Wonga’- resting place of the wonga (cormorants) and ‘ratta’- meeting place of the rivers). We acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the land and pay respect to their Elders, past and present.

Our Local Indigenous Culture

For thousands of years the continent was managed and conserved by indigenous Australians.  Through understanding indigenous culture we can come to appreciate and gain a spiritual connection to the land.

Indigenous communities across Australia have extensive ecological knowledge which enabled them to survive and thrive in a harsh dry continent for over 30,000 years. They know how to find food in every climate and season; they understand the medicinal properties of plants; and undertook intricate land management using fire, to increase the types of animals and plants that would be available. Underlying and resulting from this, they have a strong connection to both the land and to their understanding of it, the ’Dreaming’.

Read more about the Dirrawarra Indigenous Network and how you can Support Our Local Indigenous Culture.

Bonegilla Migrant Camp

Wangaratta has a strong history of migration facilitated by a migrant centre called ‘Bonegilla’. After World War II, the Australian Government actively sought migrants to help populate Australia. Between 1947 and 1971, Bonegilla housed over 300,000 migrants from over 50 countries.

'The first migrants to arrive at the migrant centre were displaced persons who had lived in refugee camps in Europe. Aproximately half of the 170,000 displaced people coming to Australia between 1947 and 1951 lived at Bonegilla. From 1951 to 1971, Bonegilla started to receive assisted migrants who came from a variety of countries including Germany, the Netherlands, Britain, Austria, Italy, Greece, Hungary and Germany, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Spain, Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia. They came to Australia looking for secure employment and hoping for a better life.' (www.environment.gov.au 1/7/11). Many of the migrants who came to Bonegilla settled in Wangaratta and found employment in Wangaratta’s textile industry at Bruck Textile Mills and Australian Country Spinners.

Bonegilla Migrant Camp (located 12 km from Wodonga) - Block 19 was included in the National Heritage List on 7 December 2007.

Read more about Bonegilla Migrant Camp - Block 19 or visit the ‘Culture Victoria’ website.

Ned Kelly

The Rural City of Wangaratta is proud of its heritage.  Well known Australian bushranger, Ned Kelly, was captured in and around the historic township of Glenrowan which has seen the “Siege Site” placed on the National Heritage List.

Glenrowan is situated on the Hume Freeway south of Wangaratta and is the site of the Kelly Gang’s last stand, on 28 June 1880. The Ned Kelly museums at Glenrowan explain the whole story and are a must see whilst in the region. You can also visit the sites of the Gang’s last stand as part of the Ned Kelly Touring Route.

Heritage Network

The Heritage Network meets quarterly and is a mechanism for community members and organisations with an interest in heritage throughout the Rural City of Wangaratta to have the opportunity to share information, develop heritage projects, and look at collective funding submissions.

The Heritage Network is currently piloting a quarterly Newsletter to provide information on Heritage projects throughout the Rural City of Wangaratta.

For a copy of the newsletter email council@wangaratta.vic.gov.au

Heritage Tree Walk

The Rural City of Wangaratta boasts a vast selection of Heritage Trees. 

To find out more about heritage trees within the Rural City of Wangaratta download ‘The History Surrounding Wangaratta's Heritage Trees’ brochure below, and follow a self guided heritage tree walk.

Heritage Trail (buildings and sites)

The Rural City of Wangaratta ‘Heritage Trail’ provides a walking tour past some of the more significant buildings and historic sites of Wangaratta, including: The Exhibitions Gallery, Averleigh, Memorial Gardens and the Holy Trinity Cathedral.

View the Heritage Trail brochure.

Wangaratta Cemetery

Find out more about the Wangaratta Public Cemetery. 

For further information about Cultural Development please contact Council's Cultural Development Officer on (03) 5722 0847

PDFThe History Surrounding Wangaratta's Heritage Trees brochure (771 KB)

Last Updated: 13/09/2012

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