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Corowa History

Forging a strong community

There are many threads that weave together to form modern Corowa. A journey into the past is a discovery, and you might just uncover the secret to our busy town and proud people.

Corowa was proclaimed a township in 1858 and with neighbouring Wahgunyah became one of the busiest ports on the Murray River in the 1860s. The discovery of gold in Beechworth in the 1850s was followed by similar finds nearby. Corowa boomed.

Corowa also played a crucial role in shaping Australian democracy with the People’s Convention held here in 1893. This event was the catalyst for the move towards nationhood and Federation. Corowa has since garnered the title of the ‘Birthplace of Federation’.

Detailing this path to Federation is a major exhibit in the Federation Museum, a building which itself is over 100 years old.

See more about the Federation Museum.

Federation Museum Visit Corowa Region History Arts Culture Corowa History

Walking through history

Corowa’s rich history is on ample display with captivating historic buildings including the Corowa Courthouse and the Oddfellow’s Hall, where the People’s Convention took place.

The best way to explore Corowa’s rich history and heritage is by exploring town on the self-guided historic walk. Read the signs adjacent to significant buildings and the storyboards located at the Corowa Civic Centre and Sanger Street which bring to life the history and unique links to Federation.

On foot, the tour takes around three hours, with plenty of places to stop to rest and refuel. Many enjoy visiting the bulk of sites in a cluster in the centre of town, then driving to some of the further-flung locations; by car, the tour will take around an hour.

Corowa History Trail map and Guide

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The art of Corowa

Tom Roberts is a well-loved Australian artist who also played a significant role in Corowa, with his iconic painting ‘Shearing of the Rams’ giving us a snapshot of the hard work and togetherness that is still apparent in the farms and smaller communities North of the Murray.

In spring 1888, he visited the Corowa area where he made between 70 and 80 sketches at a local shearing woolshed. Returning in 1889, he finished his famous painting. A replica shearing shed is at Redlands Hill Reserve, on Tom Roberts Road north of Corowa, just a few hundred metres from the site of the original shearing shed. Discover the Shearing the Rams Trail.

Also having a major impact on Corowa’s history in famous artworks was Tommy McCrae, a local Aboriginal artist who was known for documenting the arrival of Europeans and Chinese during the Rutherglen goldrush.

Visit the Federation Museum to find out more about Tom Roberts and his two most famous Corowa paintings, “Shearing the Rams” and “A Break Away”, and to see original Tommy McCrae paintings.

Shearing the Rams Trail

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Corowa Federation Museum

Step back in time and discover Corowa's history and its role in the birth of Federation Australia…

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Corowa Foreshore

No matter the season, there is always something to do along the Corowa Foreshore! The Corowa Lagoon…

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Corowa Memorial Hall

The Corowa Memorial Hall building was the site of the original School of Arts in 1873, the Literary…

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Corowa Whisky and Chocolate

This renovated 1920s flour mill will charm you from entry. Take a step back in time while sampling…

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John Foord Bridge

Spannning the majestic Murray River from Corowa in New South Wales to Wahgunyah in Victoria, this…

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Odd Fellows Hall

The Oddfellows Hall was originally constructed by the Loyal Border Lodge of the Manchester United…

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Redlands Hill Flora and Fauna Reserve

Redlands Hill Reserve, located near Corowa NSW, represents a Grey Box Grassy Woodlands, which is…

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Shearing the Rams Trail

Tom Roberts' legacy looms large North of the Murray. The famed Australian artist spent a…

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The Soldiers Memorial

A prominent landmark in the town of Corowa, the Soldiers Memorial stands proud and tall at the head…

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The Water Fountain

Uncover the rich history North of the Murray, in the riverside town of Corowa.Now located at the…

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Corowa Catholic Cemetery

Corowa's Catholic Cemetery sits on the outskirts of town, adjacent to the Corowa Lawn Cemetery,…

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Corowa Pioneer Cemetery

Located on Federation Avenue, the Pioneer Cemetery in Corowa was started prior to Federation, with…

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Federation Timeline

A storyboard sits on the street outside the Royal Hotel in Corowa, detailing the story of…