|The Maffra Visitor Information Centre serves this beautiful country town of approximately 5,300 people, situated 220 kilometres east of Melbourne in the Wellington Shire. It is the centre of the rich Macalister agricultural, pastoral and dairying irrigation area.
There is a great sense of history surrounding the town highlighted by the original shop verandahs and grand homesteads such as "Duart", the residence of the Hon. Allan McLean, Premier of Victoria for a short time before Federation. Today Maffra is the major service centre for the thriving dairying, agricultural, pastoral, horticultural and irrigation district. It has a developing vegetable industry as well as being a residential location for people working in Sale, the oil industry, the Latrobe Valley and surrounding districts.
This attractive town, population 5300, with tree lined nineteenth century Main Street is named after Maffra in Portugal. This came to be because many of the early settlers to Gippsland came from the Monaro Region in NSW and had fought in Spain and Portugal during the Penninsula War.
The surrounding District was first settled by Europeans in the 1840's. By 1862 Maffra started to grow when a Punt conveyed hopeful miners across the Macalister River to the goldfields. From 1896 to 1948 Maffra was home to Australia's only viable sugar beet industry. This ended when the original immense pastoral holdings were gradually subdivided into beef raising properties, and competition for labour from the dairying industry became strong. Many of these properties have been subdivided to become our present dairy and vegetable farms.
Situated on the Macalister River, this friendly town with its delightful tree-lined main street has a great deal to offer those who visit this area.
The Maffra Visitor Information Centre is housed in the late-Victorian designed Maffra Courthouse which retains most of its original features including the Baltic pine-lined ceiling and floorboards, the Magistrate's bench and marble fireplaces and all doors, doorways and interior woodwork.
In the specially designed display cases, you will see an important collection of mineral specimens, gemstones and fossils, the result of a lifetime of collection by Italian immigrant, Pino Deriu. Leaving Italy in 1952, this fully qualified accountant came to Australia and soon joined his brother in prospecting for opal around Coober Pedy. This led to a lifelong love of fossicking and trading minerals and gemstones. Apart from a wide and fully representative range of Australian specimens, his collection also contains extremely rare items from Europe, Africa, North and South America, Asia and Asia Minor. Pino's preference was to leave most of the specimens he collected in their natural state rather than have them cut, polished or mounted, which adds to the scientific value of this amazing collection.
Call the Maffra Visitor Information Centre and they can provide you with information to assist you in your travel through Maffra, the nearby Victorian high country and the surrounding Macalister irrigation district and to make your stay more enjoyable. The volunteers look forward to making your visit a memorable one.
Activities in the region include:
- THE PINO DERU MINERAL COLLECTION - Ph: 03 51411811 This important collection of mineral specimens, gem stones and fossils is the result of a lifetime collection by Pino. Apart from a wide and fully representative range of Australian specimens the collectio also contains extremely rare items from Europe, Africa, South America, Asia and Asia Minor. The collection is housed in the beautifully restored Maffra Courthouse, built in 1888. The Courthouse also houses the Visitor's Information Centre with local art and craft on display and souvenirs for sale.
- GIPPSLAND VEHICLE COLLECTION - Ph: 03 5147323 Australia's newest Motor Museum which is located in the huge old Nestles building, which was used as a vegetable de-hydration plant during the second world war. The collection includes vintage and veteran motor cars, trucks and motor cycles, with the display being changed every four months.
- MAFFRA GOLF COURSE - Ph: 03 51471884 Boasting the best greens outside the metropolitan area, this true all year course features wide contoured fairways on a gently undulating landscape. The golf course boasts powered sites for Recreation Vehicles and caravans. Visit us, you will be suprised to find a course of this quality "out in the sticks". 19 holes, 6065 metres, par 72. Clubs and buggies available.
- MAFFRA LAWN TENNIS CLUB - Ph: 03 51471271 The tennis club boasts 10 grass and 6 synthetic courts.The club hosts a very popular Easter tournament. This tournament caters for families and the best local players and is rated amongst the best in Country Victoria. the squash tournament also has a reputation for attracting international players.
- MAFFRA BOWLING CLUB - Ph: 03 51471974 The bowling club has 2 synthetic greens and enjoys year round bowls.
- 4WD AND BUSHWALKING - Within half an hour of Maffra you can find yourself in the foothills of the Licola Valley heading toward Lake Tali-Karng or adventuring the challenge of the Dargo high country beyond Briagolong. By 4WD visit the Pinnacle Fire Tower and view from Paynesville in the east to Latrobe Valley in the south, or stay overnight at Horseshoe Flat and experience the majestic Moroka Gorge waterfalls.
- CYCLING - With some of the best flat riding on the Gippsland Plains and along the Rail trail to Stratford to the east or Tinamba, Heyfield to the west. Challenge yourself and enjoy the mountainous terrain of the district roads around the foothills between Coongulla and Stockdale.
- WALKING - Maffra boasts two magnificent river walks, a 45 minute wetlands walk including a 650m boardwalk with bird hides and a 25 minute Macalister River walk following the bends of the Macalister River. This walk includes playgrounds and BBQ facilities. Refer to Discover Walking brochure. .„Maffra also has the Rail trail linking to nearby Stratford about 9km east, and Tinarnba about 10 km west. Enjoy an easy morning walk to lunch with a 4trollback along Gippsland Plains Rail Trail.
- WINERIES - Maffra has a large variety of wineries within its area. Choose from Gienmaggie, Holey Hills, Blue Gables, Briagolong, Mt Moorapna locally or Dargo and Tom's Cap further.
- MAFFRA BEET MUSEUM - The Beet Museum is sited in the original office, built 1896, and relocated to the Port of Maffra. The museum displays artefacts and the history of this once flourishing industry.
Thursday to Tuesday: 10:00am -4:00pm