Goroke, a rural township in the Wimmera region, is about midway between Horsham and the South Australian border. It is 10 km south of the Little Desert. The name is thought to have been derived from an Aboriginal word meaning magpie.
The area was occupied for pastoral runs in the mid-1840s. In 1864 it achieved fame when three children, Isaac, Jane and Frank Duff, were found, having lost their way after being sent to find heath for broom-making. Their father worked on the Springhill station near Goroke, and the story has been told in the Victorian Education Department’s Grade 4 reader. There is a Jane Duff memorial on the Goroke-Horsham Road.
Farm allotments were taken up in the Goroke area in the late 1870s. A school was opened at Gymbowen, 10 km east of Goroke, in 1881, and the Goroke school was opened in 1885. Goroke township was surveyed in 1882. Within a few years the Victorian municipal directory recorded Goroke as having some stores, a flour mill, a hotel and a mechanics’ institute. An agricultural and pastoral society was formed in 1887. The railway line was extended form Natimuk to Goroke in 1894, connecting it to Horsham.
Stretching out along the southern fringes of the Little Desert National Park, Goroke is a relaxed and rural town made of true Aussie outback grit. One of rugged good looks, its wide main street is home to a small and friendly community of farmers, workers and even a prized literary author. As well as a gateway to Little Desert and Mt Arapiles, Goroke has more recently found fame as a stop along the popular Silo Art Trail.
In the local Wotjobaluk dialect, Goroke means ‘magpie’, so it’s appropriate the town’s grain silo art bears the image of this iconic bird. Sharing space alongside a kookaburra and a galah, it’s a beautiful triptych that makes for an essential stop.
Popular as a base for trips into the Little Desert, those with a 4WD (or a good pair of hiking boots) can tackle its sandy tracks to witness spring-time wildflowers, and, if lucky, spot its most famous resident – the Mallee Fowl.
SEE & DO Things to See and Do in Goroke
- The Goroke War Memorial and the Booroopki Avenue of Honour - tributes to our local diggers
- Tap along at the annual Lake Charlegrark Country Music Marathon
- Experience the unique flora and fauna such as the famous Malleefowl, stop and camp or enjoy an afternoon of 4 wheel driving
- Camp on the banks of peaceful Lake Ratzcastle
- Enjoy watching the kids play at the Little Desert Nature Playspace
- Fishing in the local lakes and wetlands in season
- Fossick in the local antique shop
- Golf - A winter course with 18 sand scrape holes and excellent clubhouse. Visitors welcome. 03 5386 1014
- Bowls - Social Bowls, every Saturday from March onwards. Two seven rink greens, one synthetic and one grass. Visitors welcome. 03 5386 1313 or 03 5386 1248
SHOP Shopping options in Goroke
EAT & DRINK Eateries and Restaurants in Goroke
28 Main St, Goroke
03 5386 1333
IGA Xpress Goroke
26 Main St, Goroke
03 5386 1070
The Goroke Hotel (Opening Soon)
36 Main St, Goroke VIC 3412
03 5386 1040
579 Minimay- Frances Rd, Minimay
03 5386 6220
STAY Accommodation options in Goroke
Goroke Apex Accommodation Park
0429 672 791
Lake Charlegrark Cottage
4532 Edenhope-Kaniva Road, Minimay
0405 197 721
Natimuk-Frances Road, Minimay
03 5386 6265
Lake House on Charlegrark
0418 659 016
Lake Charlegrark Caravan Park
78 Lake Charlegrark Rd, Minimay VIC 3413
0428 866 258
EXPLORE Towns near Goroke
Nearby Lake Charlegrark is very well known by campers for canoeing, swimming and fishing for Murray Cod. Birdwatchers flock here to tick off endangered species such as brolga and freckled duck. The annual Country Music Marathon also has folk boot-scooting in for a weekend of fun.