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Yarragon History

Located between Warragul and Trafalgar and nestled in the foothills of the Strzelecki Ranges, Yarragon's history dates back to 1878 when a railway line was forged through the existing inhospitable country of impenetrable forest to the south and extensive swamps to the north, thus finally opening up this last part of Victoria for settlement.

First known as 'Little Moe' it then became 'Waterloo', but in 1884 because of mail going to another Waterloo near Beaufort, it was changed to 'Yarragon'.

A town quickly grew around the railway station and in the 1880s Yarragon had a very busy timber industry from clearing the enormous trees covering the hills.

By 1893 there were 5 hotels, a hall, a school and lots of shops along both sides of the Main Street.

In 1911 a new railway station was built and today, no longer functioning as a manned station, the renovated building is used as an art and community hub.

From 1900 when the land was cleared, dairying became the main industry with many small family farms surrounding the township and many of the town's residents employed at the bustling Yarragon Butter Factory, sawmills, shops & businesses. It was a totally self-sustaining community until the late 1960s.

Change was afoot. The shops, homes, tennis courts and trees on the north side of the main street were demolished and the 'S' bends at each end of town were straightened and the main street became a divided highway. More and more people got cars and this took them out of town for work and shopping.

When the Butter Factory closed in the 1970s many businesses became unsustainable and this left the main street in a sad state of decline with only milk bars, the Hotel and butcher operating amidst a string of old empty shops.

In 1984 one initiative triggered a whole transformation of the town when 'Dairy Delicacies' (now Gippsland Food & Wine) was built. There were empty shops a begging and there was a passing market to tap into. Slowly the town became reinvigorated with antiques, art, crafts, cafes and speciality shops attracting people to stop and Yarragon was resurrected as a Tourist Town.