ON THE NED KELLY TOURING ROUTE
As well as having a rich history as one of the nation’s leading wool-producing communities, Euroa is famous for of the Kelly Gang bank robbery of the National Bank.
Euroa is nestled at the foothills of the Strathbogie Ranges on the banks of the Seven Creeks. ‘Yera-o’ is said to mean ‘joyful’ in the language of the Ngurelban people, the original inhabitants of the area. Explorers Hume and Hovell passed through here in 1824 on their journey creating a route south to Port Phillip. In 1836, Thomas Mitchell cut a track to the north of the present town site for drovers and their stock. One of the first squatter runs was Seven Creeks, established by John Templeton in 1838. William Forlonge took over this station in 1851 where his mother, the famous Eliza Forlonge, spent her last remaining years.
During the gold rush years Euroa was a coach stop on the way to Beechworth and Sydney. As a prosperous town, it became the focus of the Kelly gang’s first bank robbery.
Following the events at Stringybark Creek, the Kelly Gang needed money to support themselves while in hiding. On 10 December 1878 the Gang staged a daring raid on Euroa and robbed the National Bank of £2000 worth of cash and gold, although they had been hoping for much more. The story of the planning for the holdup and memorabilia from the period is on display at the Farmers Arms Hotel Museum (open Wednesday and Sunday).
Before the bank holdup, the gang siezed Faithfulls Creek Station to rest their horses, change clothes and cut the telegraph lines by the railway line nearby. Everyone at the station or who happened to come by was held hostage in the storeroom. Joe Byrne kept watch while the others travelled into town and carried out the holdup. After the robbery, the gang forced bank staff, the bank manager, Robert Scott, and his family to accompany them back to the station so they couldn’t raise the alarm. The exuberant bank robbers then treated their hostages to a trick riding show before galloping away.
Today Euroa and surrounds is regarded as the centre of Victoria’s thoroughbred horse industry. It also has a reputation for producing quality cool-climate wines, available to try at a number of cellar doors.
The Strathbogie Ranges offer scenic drives, bush walks, creeks and waterfalls for the nature lover.