history of Berriwillock

Berriwillock was settled in 1890 and a Centenary was held at Easter in 1990. For this Centenary, locals worked together to produce a Centenary Book including information and photos about groups, committees, farming and a few individuals.

The history of Berriwillock is vital to the memory of the area's development and needs to be documented. The first known book of Berriwillock history is ‘While the Mallee Roots Blaze' by Winifred Nixon, published in 1965 and was added too by Alan Mills and David Bibby for a second edition in 1978.

In 2009, the Berriwillock Anglican Church was deconsecrated and at that service the priest said he had looked on the internet for information about the church and found nothing. It was noted that we must get into the modern world of technology and make information about Berriwillock past and present available on the internet.

The Berriwillock Community Development Group has therefore formed a subcommittee called the Berriwillock Historical Group to gather further information, photos and stories about the Berriwillock community to bring to the internet. We are calling this project, BERRIWILLOCK MEMORY BANK.

To date (November 2010) we have conducted 9 interviews and are currently transcribing these to collate the data. We have also scanned many photos and documents which will be available in the future on the internet.

A portion of our information will be found in the two books mentioned, but we will also include individuals' memories of the past. We will hopefully continue this project into the future years to record Berriwillock's development. Many private photos that have not been seen by the public will become available on this site for anyone to see.

It is important to save our Berriwillock history and we are looking for help to do so.

If you have any photos we could copy or any interesting stories of farming, community or businesses in Berriwillock, we will gladly listen to you and hopefully add to our growing information. Please email us at memorybank@berriwillock.vic.au

So, just a few little things to whet the appetite and get you remembering............

Berriwillock, Victoria, Australia is the only locality in the world to hold this name.

In the early times, Berriwillock was first spelt Berriwielook and it was also known as: - Reserve, The Eight Mile, and South Springfield.

Squatters occupied most of the Mallee land in northwest Victoria in the early years of settlement, but by 1891, pastoral leases were granted in 320 acre lots for the purpose of cultivation. Many were taken up in the area and later a community was formed.

1891 - The earliest building in Berriwillock was a wine shanty in Bindaboo Avenue

1895 - A School was opened in the hall on 15/10/1895

1896 - Berriwillock was proclaimed a town

In the early days Berriwillock had a butcher, baker, a doctor, station building, grocer, a saddler, blacksmith shop, another grocer and fruiterer, hotelkeeper, barber & tobacconist, boarding house, and a local agent and proprietor of chaff store.

By 1899 the first postmaster was appointed to Berriwillock.

At its peak, Berriwillock had an Anglican Church (St John's), Roman Catholic Church (St Patrick's), Presbyterian Church (St Andrew's) and a Methodist congregation (who joined with St Andrew's).

First homes were tents, and then dwellings made with log slabs. Walls were plastered with mud and sometimes mutton fat on the outside and newspaper on the inside.

Grain was harvested and bagged to be transported by wagon and later trucks and stacked in large stacks in the present silo yard. Gangs of workers stacked these stacks awaiting transfer by train.

Cream and eggs were other commodities produced and transported out by train.

Written By Allison Watson.

Picture of Hall provided by Wilma Steele.

Aerial Picture Provided by Brendon Ledwich

Windmill Picture Provided By Tom Renney

The Following Three Pictures Were Provided By Jim Prater

WW1 War Memorial which was unveiled on the 6th of May 1920