The Upper Murray
“The Man From Snowy River” country
of North-Eastern Victoria & Southern NSW
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Corryong

Corryong…indigenous for Courang, rock used for tool making The first person to take up a grazing license on the land now occupied by the Corryong township was Charles Cowper in 1839.   He was a wealthy acquaintance of the Shelley brothers, who lodged the first applications for grazing licenses in the Upper Murray in late 1836. Charles also later managed to acquire an additional portion of land near Berringama which he named Cowper's Heifer Station Though Charles Cowper owned these leases in the district until around 1850, it is doubtful that Charles ever lived in the Upper Murray. Ambitious and well- connected in colonial political circles, Charles served five terms as the Premier of New South Wales and was eventually knighted. By the 1860s, Sydney Grandison Watson had acquired the Corryong run. This run was, at the time, part of a large estate which stretched from present day Corryong to the Murray River, near Towong, and along the Murray River to Walwa.
In the 1860s, the colonial governments of New South Wales and Victoria both introduced a series of Land Acts which resulted in land selection by ordinary families or individuals. To keep as much of the land in their control some of the early pioneers were known to have used activities like 'dummying' to secure property ownership. This involved the pastoralist selecting land in the names of employees and his family members (including young children, of which there were often many).  After three years the property was paid for by the pastoralist and, in most cases, transferred into his name. Despite this, the dominance of the large land owners in the landscape began to decline. During the 1850s and 1860s, the discovery of gold and tin in the Upper Murray enticed miners to the area, but the rewards were not as lucrative or as widespread as in other established areas like Beechworth, Bendigo and Ballarat. During the 1870s and 1880s gold strikes in the Thowgla Valley brought more prospectors to the district. The crucial timing of this local mining boom and the introduction of the land selection acts was pivotal in the development of the Corryong township. As word spread many families ventured into the isolated hills and valleys of the Upper Murray. Businesses, supplying the necessary goods and services to the mining camps and the new farming settlers, were set up along the main route to the Thowgla gold field.
The early councilors of the Towong Shire had surveyed Towong as a site for a township but the flood risk along the Murray River was eventually assessed as too high. Early land speculators had also artificially inflated the price of this land. An alternative site, located on the Corryong run, was surveyed in the late 1870s. When allotments went on sale, there was an enthusiastic response from families and individuals alike. The town of Corryong was thus born. Many businesses opened in Corryong over the following decades. One of the first shop front businesses to open in Corryong was Thomas Donaldson's general store in 1875. The store was located on what is now referred to locally as Pioneer Corner, the corner of Donaldson Street and Hanson Street. The Corryong State School was opened in 1877, at the current site of the Corryong College junior campus. As the town of Corryong grew, new streets were named after early pioneers and shire councilors.
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