Benalla Local History
Located in the northeastern region of Victoria, Australia, Benalla is a small city that has a rich and diverse history. The area where Benalla now stands was traditionally the land of the Taungurung people, who inhabited the region for thousands of years before European colonisation.
European settlement in the area began in the 1830s, with pastoralism and agriculture being the main industries. The town of Benalla was established in 1848, and for many years it was an important stopping point for travellers between Melbourne and Sydney. In the latter part of the nineteenth century, Benalla experienced significant growth and development, with the construction of the railway linking it to Melbourne in 1873 and the establishment of the Benalla Woollen Mills in 1879.
One of the most significant events in Benalla's history was the Kelly Gang's siege at nearby Glenrowan in June 1880. The gang, led by the infamous bushranger Ned Kelly, had been on the run from police for several months and had become a symbol of resistance against British colonial authority. The siege at Glenrowan ended in a bloody confrontation between the gang and police, with Kelly being captured and later executed. The Kelly Gang's story has become an integral part of Australian folklore, and visitors to Benalla can explore the town's connection to the bushranger through local museums and historical sites dedicated to his memory.
Throughout the twentieth century, Benalla continued to evolve and develop, with the establishment of new industries, such as manufacturing, and the growth of the tourism industry. Many of the town's historic buildings and landmarks have been preserved and restored, and visitors can discover the city's rich cultural heritage by exploring its numerous museums, galleries, and historical sites.
One of the most iconic landmarks in Benalla is the Benalla Art Gallery, which contains a significant collection of Australian and international artwork. The gallery is housed in a stunning Art Deco building that was constructed in the 1930s and is a striking example of the architectural style of the period. Another significant cultural institution in Benalla is the Sir Edward 'Weary' Dunlop Memorial, which honours the life and work of the Australian war hero who served as a doctor in World War II and was renowned for his humanitarian efforts during the war.
Today, Benalla is a thriving city that offers visitors a unique blend of history, culture, and natural beauty. The town's location on the banks of the beautiful Lake Benalla and the Broken River make it an ideal destination for fishing, boating, and other outdoor activities, while its charming streets and historic buildings provide a glimpse into the city's rich and fascinating past.