Horsham Rural City is a vibrant, multi-cultural community situated in the heart of the Wimmera region of Victoria, approximately 300 kilometres north-west of Melbourne. The municipality has a population of 19,880, covering an area of 4,267 square kilometres, with approximately three quarters of residents living within the urban area of Horsham.
Horsham is the major provider of retail, community and government services in the Wimmera, with dryland and broadacre agriculture being our major industry. There are a range of quality educational and health care facilities including secondary colleges, a university and an agricultural college. The Grains Innovation Park, a nationally acclaimed agricultural research centre, is also based in Horsham.
The municipality has a diverse array of natural assets including recreational lakes, wetlands, the Wimmera River, Mount Arapiles, the Wartook Valley, and the Grampians National Park is nearby.
Horsham Rural City Council includes the major centres of Horsham and Natimuk, and the localities of: Arapiles, Blackheath, Brimpaen, Bungalally, Clear Lake, Dadswells Bridge, Dooen, Douglas, Drung, Duchembegarra, Grass Flat, Green Lake, Greenland Dam, Haven, Jilpanger, Jung, Kalkee, Kanagulk, Kewell, Laharum, Longerenong, Lower Norton, McKenzie Creek, Mitre, Mockinya, Mount Talbot, Murra Warra, Noradjuha, Nurrabiel, Pimpinio, Quantong, Riverside, St Helen's Plains, Telangatuk East, Tooan, Toolondo, Vectis, Wail, Wartook and Wonwondah.
Council is committed to working with the community to develop the municipality through strong leadership, vision, good governance, responsive services and quality infrastructure, whilst enhancing our liveability and natural environment.
The Council Plan, associated Strategic Resource Plan and the Council Budget, set the strategic direction for Council and management and include the indicators that Council use to deliver key outcomes.
- Population - 19,880
- Road Length - 2,974 kilometres
- Number of Council Employees - 216.78 (FTE)
- Number of Councillors - 7
- Rateable Properties - 12,454
- Rates and Charges Revenue - $23,495,000
- Total Revenue (including grants) - $59,156,000
- Municipal Charge - $287
- Garbage Charge - $224/$365
- Major Employment Sector in Municipality - Agriculture, Retail, Health Care and Social Assistance
“The Horsham Rural City Council acknowledges the five traditional owner groups of this land; the Wotjobaluk, Wergaia, Jupagulk, Jaadwa and Jadawadjali people.
We recognise the important and ongoing place that all Indigenous people hold in our community.
We pay our respects to the elders, both past and present, and commit to working together in the spirit of mutual understanding and respect for the benefit of the broader community and future generations.”
- Horsham is the centre of the Wimmera wheat and wool growing district in north-west Victoria, Australia.
- The first inhabitants of the area were the Djura Balug indigenous Australian tribe who spoke the Jardwadjali language.
- The Wimmera district was previously know by the aboriginal word “Bogambilor”, meaning place of flowers, because the area was covered with a dense scrub of wattles.
- Major Thomas Mitchell was the first European to pass through the area, naming the Wimmera River in 1836.
- The town itself was named by James Monckton Darlot, the first squatter to take up land in 1842 - named after his native town in Horsham, England.
- The Horsham Post Office opened in 1848 with an elaborate building and the clock tower was erected in 1880.
- In the 1870s, when squatting runs were divided up for smaller selection, a large German population settled in the area and many descendants still remain today.
- The main railway from Melbourne reached Horsham in 1879 and was later extended to Adelaide, South Australia, whilst a branch line west to Carpolac began in 1887 and closed in 1988.
- The Horsham Borough Council and the Wimmera Shire operated the McKenzie Creek Tramway from the town to a stone quarry, some eight kilometres to the south.
- The horse tramway opened in 1885 and ceased operating in 1927.
- Major flooding affected the area in 1894 and again in 1909, with the Wimmera River reaching 3.87 metres.
- Green Lake, originally planned as an agricultural irrigation reservoir, was constructed in 1933, with a capacity of 5,350 ML .
- Horsham was officially declared a town in 1932 and a city in 1949.
- The Black Saturday bushfires of 2009 were devastating, with 5,700 hectares burnt around the city’s fringe including the golf club and eight homes.
- Horsham experienced significant flooding in successive years in 2010 and 2011. During these events, the Wimmera River reached 3.32 metres and 4.71 metres, respectively. The 2011 event was particularly severe, with the Wimmera River reaching a record peak level. Over 1,000 residents were evacuated as flood waters divided the city and damaged 600 houses, pushing up to a metre of water into parts of the central business district.
- The municipality currently boasts a population of 19,880 and is aptly named "The Capital of the Wimmera".
Horsham Rural City Council has an estimated population of 19,880.
The age profile of the region compared to other parts of Victoria shows there are a high number of children below 19 years living in the municipality, emphasising the importance of early childhood services and services for school aged children. Conversely, there are fewer young adults in the municipality (compared to the State average), a consequence of school leavers moving to Melbourne or larger regional centres for employment and tertiary education. The municipality also has a higher percentage of people aged over 50, highlighting the need for services that cater for an ageing population.
Horsham is home to people from over 30 countries. Between 2011 and 2016, the municipality welcomed the highest percentage of residents from the Philippines, India, England and Sri Lanka. At the 2016 census, 1,186 people living in Horsham were born overseas, with 13 percent arriving int he last five years. 3.8 percent of Horsham's residents speak a language other than English at home.
The total number of residents who identified as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander in the 2016 Census was 1.5 percent.
In 2016, 60.9 percent of the population were of working age with the main industries of employment being hospitals, social assistance services, dryland and broadacre agriculture, primary education and local government.
An Economically Thriving City
Horsham has a Gross Regional Product of $1.279 Billion, growing steadily over the past five years. The industry diversity in our city creates a business environment for success today and potential for future development. Whilst existing sectors continue to thrive and grow, new and emerging sectors add strength and vitality to the business landscape.
Horsham is the major provider of retail, community and government services in the Wimmera region of Western Victoria, servicing a population of over 55,000 people. The growing rural city offers fully serviced industrial land, a variety of spaces for retail, manufacturing, transport and tourism businesses. There are also a large number of professional services and education facilities.
By working closely with the community, Horsham Rural City Council has formulated a vision for how the city can develop and the future that we can create for residents, businesses and visitors.
Council is committed to generating public and private sector investment opportunities for the future. Our intention is to create an investment environment that is attractive and flexible, one that delivers sustainable outcomes for the investor, for business and the community.
Economic Development Strategy
The Wimmera is the highest performing dryland cropping region in Australia, supported by the acclaimed Grains Innovation Park in Horsham, a national research centre for breeding pulses and pre-breeding research in cereals and oilseeds.
Horsham is home to a large number of established manufacturing companies including metal casting, air movement, furniture, plastics, engineering and steel fabrication which have formed a Manufacturing Network to support their sector.
Horsham's diverse skill base is a platform for businesses to develop wide ranging and effective business activities.
Horsham is a comfortable three and a half hour drive from Melbourne and four and a half hours from Adelaide on the Western Highway, at the hub of a State and National Highway system, leading to Mildura, Portland, Mount Gambier and Bendigo. The Wimmera is the transport hub of south-east Australia with its strong road and rail network. Residents are well provided with several daily services to Adelaide, Melbourne and other regional centres. Rail connects to the sea ports of Geelong and Portland.
The Wimmera Intermodal Freight Hub is critical for the Wimmera Mallee Region – one of the world's largest grain, pulse and oilseed growing regions exporting 60 percent of its products. The modern terminal provides a central location for container grain handling and grain processors.
The Wimmera-Mallee Pipeline now guarantees high quality and secure water to meet the region's long-term needs. The project was the largest water infrastructure project in Australia, replacing 18,000 kilometres of inefficient earthen channel with 9,159 kilometres of pressurised pipeline.