living history




Girgarre Living History was formed in 2001 when a group of passionate local residents began to research present and former families of Girgarre. In the early years most of the workload was shouldered by Carol Ohlin with assistance from Rob Axen. 


Families were interviewed, precious photographs were copied and information relating to Girgarre was collected. It was envisaged that the family stories be incorporated in a publication depicting the history of Girgarre including closer and soldier settlement.


Much research was undertaken by Athol McDonald regarding Girgarre’s history and Girgarre Living History members assisted on visits to the Public Record Office Victoria to view and photograph closer and soldier settlers’ files. In all, 3800 photographs were taken.


The group had hoped to have the book completed to mark the centenary of closer settlement blocks being offered for sale at Girgarre. However it was 101 years after that date when the book Girgarre was launched on November 12, 2016. At that time members of Girgarre Living History were Rob Axen, John Crilly, Athol McDonald, Jan Smith, Robyna Varcoe and Jenny Wadelton.

the BOOK


The history of Girgarre is wrapped up in a hard cover at last!


The 15 year book project on Girgarre ~ its history, closer and soldier settlement and family stories has finally come to the print stage. The 250 pages contain details of local history, family stories and details of settlement before and after the first World War.

As noted above, the family stories in the main have been submitted by current and former residents, but the Closer and Soldier Settlement section of the book involved lengthy and detailed research through many avenues including the Public Records Office of Victoria.

Girgarre and Stanhope were in the main settled by returning World War I soldiers, Australian and Allies and the book details their names, allotment numbers, service records and the trials they had to face working on the land. Also included are historical topics, such as the Coming of the Railway to Girgarre.


About 300 copies have been sold since the launch.

One of the chief compilers, Athol McDonald said the book has been something the community has been wanting to do for some time and the book has been well received by the whole community. ‘‘Everyone is quite proud of what we have put together and have enjoyed reading it,’’ Mr McDonald said.


Copies of 'Girgarre' are available for $30.00AU.


To order your copy please contact:


Athol McDonald in Girgarre

+613 5854 6324

John Crilly in Tatura

0437 438 077

Jenny Wadelton in Kyabram

+613 5852 2301




We invite people who have not contributed their family stories and wish to do so, to contact the group. Photographs and information relating to Girgarre are always welcomed. A storage and display area has been constructed in a small room at the Memorial Hall, so anything received by the group can be archived there. Rob Axen has done a great job sourcing signs from Girgarre’s past and he has affixed these to the walls of the room. 


The Girgarre RSL has organised the printing of three soldier settlement information panels which will be erected in the rail trail area. It is proposed that the panels will be unveiled in February 2018.

The next significant historical event will be the centenary of the Girgarre Primary School – it being 100 years on November 4, 2018 since the first teacher began duty at the school. A celebration of the occasion is to be held on November 9,10 & 11, 2018. As yet the programme has not been finalised. Any photos or stories relating to the school would be most appreciated. The centenary committee is still seeking interested people to help plan and organise this event. 


If you can assist with any of the above, please contact:

Girgarre Primary School +613 5854 6275 or

Jenny Wadelton +613 5852 2301 / mobile 0409 929 031

By email -

The Girgarre Cricket Club will be celebrating its centenary in 2020 and

Garry Lennie has been busy collecting information, memorabilia and photos. If you have anything to contribute please contact him on 0459 233 020.