Toora

Toora
Small picturesque dairy town in Western Gippsland
Located 197 kilometres south-east of Melbourne, Toora is a small town surrounded by undulating hills which are primarily used for dairying. The word 'toora' is said to be an Aboriginal instruction which translates as 'woman, look after fire'. It was reputedly used regularly when the men in the group departed for religious ceremonies at Wilsons Promontory.

Toora was originally known as Muddy Creek. The township's early economic prosperity was based around a timber mill until the 1870s. This was partly ensured by a contract with the Indian government to produce railway sleepers. The sleepers were made at Toora and conveyed to offshore ships by barges. Remnants of the loading facilities and tramlines can still be seen.

The original settlement of Toora was located to the west of the present townsite. A post office opened there in 1882. The new site for Toora was subdivided in 1888 after one of the largest tin mines Victoria has had began operations that same year, 10 km north on Silcocks Road. A huge hole in the ground, now obscured by plant life was created by hydraulic sluicing operations which transported water from the Dingo and Agnes Creeks to the mines. Excavations stopped in the 1930s during the Great Depression and it never reopened.

Writer, Victorian Labor politician and mining speculator, Randolph Bedford, owned the Toora and Welshpool Pioneer newspaper in the 1890s. Harold Lasseter, of Lasseter's Reef fame (see entry on Port Welshpool), also lived in the area at the end of the First World War.

Markets are usually held on long weekends and holiday weekends.

Things to see:

Wind Farm
Toora has a new wind farm which has become something of a tourist attraction. Those who wish merely to have a look at the turbines and towers can do so from the public car park or the viewing area atop Silcock's Hill.

The twelve turbines, manufactured in Denmark, provide a total output of 21 megawatts - sufficient to power 6600 homes, thereby cutting greenhouse emissions by 48 000 tonnes per year. The towers, manufactured in Bendigo, are 67 metres in height, weigh 117 tonnes and are each set in 600 tonnes of reinforced concrete. The blades of the rotor are 33 metres in length, made of reinforced plastic and carbon fibre, incorporate sensors to read the wind speed and direction and thereby feed the information into a computerised system. They also possess a yaw mechanism to turn the rotors in the direction of the wind.

Toora Heritage Trail
Toora has highlighted ten of the town's older buildings, each of which has an information board relating to that building's history, complete with period photograph. A detailed brochure is being prepared to guide interested parties along the route. The ten buildings are 'Allthrea' at 17 Harriett St (1905), the Toora Private Hospital at 22 Harriett St, the police station and residence (1891), the Royal Standard Hotel at the corner of Victoria and Stanley Sts (1889), the former Bank of Victoria building at 35 Stanley St (1906), the former Great Southern Co-Operative (1904) at Stanley and Gray St, the former Union Bank building (1907) at 34 Stanley St, the Toora post office and residence (1915) at 13 Stanley St, the Old Toora Private Hospital (1914) at 16 Welshpool and St Thomas' Church of England (1892-1910) at 7 Dutton St.

Toora Village Creative Arts Centre
Situated within the old Bonlac store, in Jetty Rd, the arts centre is a conduit for the works of local artists involved in making musical instruments, weaving, woodturning, sculpture, pottery and plaques, tel: (03) 5686 2212.

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Franklin River Reserve
A couple of minutes drive from the town of Toora is a picnic spot beside the Franklin River with facilities and a water hole with a swinging rope.

Heritage Pear Orchard
At the corner of Mills and Gray Sts is the Heritage Pear Orchard where horticulturists are growing varieties of pear propagated by Australia's early European settlers.

Fishing at Corner Inlet
Anglers can access the fish of Corner Inlet via an all-tides boat-launcing area with two concrete ramps, floating dock and wide turning area for trailers. To access the ramp turn left at the pub then right at the next crossroads, following Jetty Rd. Bait, tackle and licences are available seven days a week from Wal's Boat Shop in Toora's main street or from the Mobil Service Station on the highway.

Scenic Lookouts
In addition to swimming (Toora has an indoor heated pool), fishing and boating, Toora offers the visitor some truly impressive scenery. A few kilometres to the south is Corner Inlet. To the north lie Mt Best and Mt Fatigue. The panoramic views from the latter take in the Strzelecki Mountains to the north, Wilsons Promontory to the south and, if the weather is good, Phillip Island to the west.

Agnes Falls and Agnes Falls Reserve
Agnes Falls also lies to the north. The route is well-signposted. Just follow the South Gippsland Highway east and turn off at Woorarra East Road. Agnes Falls are one of the highest waterfalls in Victoria. At the Agnes Falls Reserve the river plunges 60 m into the gorge. The damming of the river above the falls has ensured a regular water supply to Welshpool and other local towns. Walking tracks, picnic and barbecue facilities are available at the Agnes Falls Reserve. The best way to experience the beautiful countryside is to return to Toora via Welshpool.

Port Franklin
To the south-west, along a road which runs south off the highway, is the district's original fishing village, Port Franklin, which is a pleasant side-trip with nothing in particular to offer the visitor, other than its own pleasant self.

Tooralodge Motel
South Gippsland Hwy
Toora VIC 3962
Telephone: (03) 5686 2666
Rating: **

Royal Standard Hotel
Stanley St
Toora VIC 3962
Telephone: (03) 5686 2475
Rating: *

Miranda  Bed & Breakfast
RMB 1390 South Gippsland Hwy
Toora VIC 3962
Telephone: (03) 5686 2557
Rating: ****

Toora Tourist Park
South Gippsland Hwy
Toora VIC 3962
Telephone: (03) 5686 2257
Rating: ****

Woorarra Bushland Retreat
Toora-Wonyip Rd P.O. Box 40
Toora VIC 3962
Telephone: (03) 5681 6209
Rating: *

Royal Standard Hotel
Stanley St
Toora VIC 3962
Telephone: (03) 5686 2475

Tooralodge Motel
South Gippsland Hwy
Toora VIC 3962
Telephone: (03) 5686 2666

Windmill Cafe
25-29 Stanley St
Toora VIC 3962
Telephone: (03) 5686 2417

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