Cohuna is a popular destination for people wanting to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life.
Situated on the banks of the Gunbower Creek and near the Gunbower Island State Forest, the town is popular for its water sports, bushwalks, wetlands, wild flowers and native birds.
Gunbower Island is Australia's largest inland island with a water frontage of 130 kilometres making it an ideal spot for camping, picnics, fishing, boating and bushwalking.
But look a little deeper and you will realise much of Cohuna’s success revolves around the dairy industry.
The picturesque town, 10 minutes south of the Murray River between Kerang and Echuca in northern Victoria, is surrounded by dairy farms which enjoy the fruits of a successful irrigation system.
Cohuna’s history dates back to the 1870s. Originally known as Mologa, the town’s name was changed to Cohuna in 1876 and later Cullen in 1884, before reverting to Cohuna in 1887.
The dairy industry was a mainstay of the region from the beginning. The town was served by a butter factory built around 1910; the building was later transformed into an antiques museum.
Today, the town is an active and vibrant modern community where people look out for each other. The Cohuna water tower – with the town’s name prominently written on top – acts as a beacon for miles around.
Despite downturns, droughts and floods, Cohuna has a busy and successful shopping precinct with the majority of businesses relying on the dairy industry. Shopping locally is strongly encouraged by a community that thrives on inclusion.
Farmer’s markets, film and comedy festivals, and the annual Big Cohuna Festival – which includes visits to dairy farms - bring people together, and when times are tough the strength of the community really comes to the fore.
Volunteers contribute to all aspects of life, supporting a local information centre, art gallery, health care and sporting clubs.
Over the past year, during some extremely difficult times for the industry, farmers looked out for their neighbours’ wellbeing and mental health through a range of supporting partnerships. These included dairy and mental health information sessions, and lunches for farmers and men’s breakfasts.
When dairy farmers needed help, the community was there to offer support, supplying 350 hampers to all farmers within the Gannawarra Shire.
The region’s connection to farming was well illustrated by the ‘Show Some #dairyLove’ Facebook page, created by local resident Dianne Bowles. The page, with more than 12,000 followers, allows farmers to freely share photos, seek advice and voice their concerns.
As the crowned 2017 LEGENDAIRY Capital of the Murray region, a local artist will be commissioned to paint a mural depicting Cohuna’s dairying heritage. It will be placed in The Walkway, a community meeting area developed by the Men’s Shed and the Cohuna Victorian Women’s On Farms Gathering Committee.
In addition, a Cohuna Secondary College student will receive an award designed to encourage young people to consider dairy farming and associated industry services as a career.