The vibrant Victorian town of Tatura, located in the heart of what is known as ‘water wheel country’, has plenty to offer experience-seeking grey nomads. Its main street is notable for its historic architecture and displays of beautiful mosaic artwork, as well as a ‘herd’ of cow statues.
And the town, located 20 kilometres west of the regional centre of Shepparton, has some fascinating connections to the history of the Second World War to uncover. Nearby there are some world-class wetlands to explore, and a whole host of other attractions.
Driving into town, one of the first thing grey nomads will see is the Dethridge water wheel which was established to regulate the flow of water along irrigation channels.
The extensive irrigation projects in the region helped create a thriving agricultural sector which encompasses cereal crops, fruit and vegetables, as well as dairy farming, and sheep and cattle.
There is no greater indication of the importance of dairy to the area than the life-sized cow statues that have been populating the Greater Shepparton district – and particularly Tatura – since 2000. There are now nearly 100 bovine masterpieces ‘grazing’ in the area as part of the Moooving Art initiative.
Another pretty unique street feature are the mosaic murals, which colourfully depict the history and successes of the wider area.
With a population of around 5,000, Tatura prides itself on the warm welcome it offers visitors and, as well as a caravan park, it is currently trialling the provision of three 48-hour limit parking bays for fully self-contained vehicles.
The success of the 12-month trial will be assessed in June. Notable buildings in the town include the Court House, the Sacred Heart Catholic Church, and the old convent buildings. Just to the south is Dhurringile Mansion, which dates back to 1877, and was one of the largest station homesteads ever built in Australia. Interestingly, it is now part of is HM Prison Dhurringile, so is obviously not open to the public!
The mansion was also used to house German prisoners of war back in the 1940s. There were actually seven POW camps in operation around the district during the Second World War. A German War Cemetery is located three kilometres out of town and contains the graves of 250 German servicemen and civilian internees. Back in town, the excellent Tatura Museum houses a unique collection of items from the seven WW2 Prisoner of War and Internment Camps, and also has great information on the history of irrigation in the Goulburn Valley.
Another must-see for visitors interested in Australia’s military history is the statue of Private Robert Mactier, a Tatura local who was awarded a Victoria Cross for ‘most conspicuous bravery’ during a World War I battle in France.
There are a number of great walking trails at the Lake Bartlett recreation area on the edge of town and, one kilometre north, are the Cussen Park wetlands, a haven for at least 100 species of bird.
And – if all that’s not enough time – when Covid is not a factor, Tatura is normally home to a series of amazing events, including International Dairy Week and Tatfest.
There’s an awful lot to like.