The pandemic across the world has encouraged many of us to take some time to reflect upon life’s big questions and the course our lives are taking. You could say that it’s forced us to explore other opportunities and investigate a more exciting future.
Shepparton and the wider Goulburn Valley, continues to enjoy relatively strong population growth, and even more so during the pandemic. With Melbourne holding the unenviable record of the longest lockdowns in the world, the Goulburn Valley is experiencing a tree change in its favour.
There are numerous reasons why the Goulburn Valley and Shepparton is a great place to live, here are just some in no particular order:
Approximately 59.3 kilometres of shared paths and 12.2 kilometres of rail trails mostly along the Goulburn River.
A beautiful lake, Victoria Park Lake. The lake has become the centrepiece of Shepparton with walking paths, nature walks, wide open space for family picnics and activities, rowing club, skatepark accompanied with Aquamoves, outdoor playground for young families and the city’s swimming pool.
The exciting new Shepparton Art Museum (SAM) on the banks of Victoria Park Lake. The $50M building houses one of the best collections of Indigenous art in Australia and has already attracted more than 60,000 visitors through its doors from across the nation and internationally since opening in November 12 months ago.
The all-new Museum of Vehicle Evolution (MOVE) featuring vintage, historic and classic cars, trucks, bicycles, motorbikes, a lifetime collection of gramophones, telephones, radios, the Loel Thomson OAM collection of Australian womens and mens fashions, from as far back as the First Fleet, there is also the Furphy Museum at MOVE.
Shepparton has always been big on sport, and the facilities for football, soccer, cricket, tennis, hockey, golf, cycling, athletics, BMX, horse jumping, croquet are world class. Deakin Reserve, the home of Goulburn Valley League footy is a standout ground, with excellent drainage and fully lit for night matches and training. Greater Shepparton City Council’s (GSCC) Activities in the Park program which has been in operation for several years is an excellent free program for families. Look out for their events.
Shepparton’s parkrun is a weekly event for any level of fitness. The highly successful program is free and is run on Saturday mornings starting at 8am near SAM on the banks of Victoria Park Lake.
Our regional wineries are a stand-out…Tallis Wines at Dookie, Longleat Wines at Murchison, and many more are dotted around the region. A highlight on the cultural calendar is the long-standing Dookie Wine Show. The show is coordinated by local wine expert, Paul Phillips and has given great exposure to wonderful wines in the region.
Education is a fast-growing sector for Shepparton with already established schools, and the recently completed $130M Greater Shepparton Secondary College, the largest in regional Victoria.
In 2023, St Anne’s College in Kialla Lakes is offering enrolment in year levels Foundation to year 4, and year 7 to year 11. On the drawing board and soon to begin construction the All Saints Anglican School on Verney Road will open its doors in 2024.
Shepparton has become the home of many new restaurants and eateries in recent times, Vietnamese and Japanese are popular, among several serving Australian fare. Cafe’s continue to boom with the spending power of Millennials. There’s a good feeling of activity and vibrancy around the city.
With the imminent opening of the $17.15M refurbished Maude Street Mall, Shepparton’s CBD will receive a huge boost to trading, retail shopping and the café-dining out culture.
The project has been years in the making, driven by the Shepparton Chamber of Commerce & Industry, with support from Greater Shepparton City Council and former local Federal Member, Damian Drum.
The opening of the Maude Street Mall will allow slow moving traffic from Fryers Street heading south and exiting High Street. Some parking will also be available. The opening later this year will be an extension of the beautification of Maude Street south from High Street to Vaughan Street which opened earlier this year.
One of the largest events on the business calendar is the Chamber’s White-King Pental Business Excellence Awards which sees approximately 450 guests at the presentation gala dinner on Friday 28th October at Eastbank. The Awards have been on hold for a couple of years, due to the pandemic, thereby giving a greater emphasis to this year’s event. Upwards of 100 finalists of which 11 winners will be announced plus the coveted Chamber Business Hall of Fame will be revealed on the night.
Set on the banks of the Goulburn River is one of the region’s best kept secrets (among non-golfers), Shepparton Golf Club. This stunning course set on the undulating landscape of the banks of the Goulburn River is rated very highly in regional Australia. Views from the clubhouse down the 1st, 9th, 10th and 18th holes are superb.
A dedicated group of locals have donated 1000s of hours into creating the Botanical Gardens in Kialla. The gardens are well worth a visit and are part of the scenic walking and cycling tracks on the southern side of the city. It continues to be a work in progress.
Kidstown has proven a haven for young families. Set between Shepparton and Mooroopna, the large playground area has heaps of slides and activities along with a miniature railway for train rides and is visited by 1,000s of children annually.
The Goulburn Valley has long been the food bowl of regional Australia, beginning in the 1920s with SPC (Shepparton Partners Collective PTY LTD), and dozens of orchard and market garden operators ever since. Post-World War II, the Goulburn Valley has been blessed with a huge influx of migrants who have worked the land. It was our forebears who installed a world class irrigation system that helped build the Goulburn Valley into a powerhouse for producing fresh produce. From this the Goulburn Valley has an abundance of fresh food at its backdoor. Innovation by orchardists across the region has been huge.
Shepparton has become an events capital. This has occurred over many years with the backing of Greater Shepparton City Council. The Council identified several years ago that to attract visitors, particularly on weekends, the city needed big events. The plan has worked well, the last major event being White Night which saw an estimated 32,000 people flood to the banks of Victoria Park Lake, Welsford and Vaughan Streets. Several major events are in the planning.
Although the days of volunteerism are under threat with increasing tentacles of government regulation, Shepparton and the wider Goulburn Valley have excelled and continue to do so. For generations extraordinary service has been given by 1000s of volunteers.
At a grassroots level, our service clubs are critical to the success of our communities and are often underestimated by governments and bureaucracies. For the selfless acts of community giving…long live the volunteer!
At the top of the list of dynamics in the region, fresh food production, engineering, healthcare, construction and one of the largest trucking centres in Australia, help drive our local economy.
Looking at the business sector, if you have a good idea, work hard and play to your strengths, are dynamic, in general, people will support you and be a part of your journey of success in Shepparton.
We all can enjoy in some way the fruits of success in our great region…the Goulburn Valley.