Moyhu is situated near the King River, 27 kilometres south of Wangaratta and 180 kilometres from Melbourne.
In 1838, Dr George Mackay took up the ‘Myrrhee’ pastoral run (it is thought that the name of the run is derived from the Aboriginal word meaning ‘wind’). The earliest known selector at Moyhu was a Mr Thomas Byrne and his family settled near Meadow Creek in the 1850s. Thomas Byrne’s son, Andrew, became a prominent figure in Moyhu’s development. Andrew donated his land to establish the St John of the Holy Cross Catholic Church. He became a prominent resident of Moyhu, later becoming Councillor and establishing a racing club, butter factory, a co-operative store and sponsor of sporting clubs.
The first known land sales were in 1859, and in 1863 a family of Irish settlers, the Farrells, arrived in Moyhu. It is thought that the name ‘Moyhu’ was given in honour of their Irish village Moydow (the Irish pronunciation of Moydow sounding very similar to Moyhu). Dominick Farrell married Catherine Byrne, one of the earliest known selectors at Moyhu.
During the late 1800s Moyhu was a lively town, with regular race meetings and dances. The Post Office opened in 1868 and by 1933 Moyhu had two butter factories, a market, two stores and a hotel. The population of Moyhu grew from 63 in 1901 to 427 by 1921.
The first known school was a slab building with a bark roof creatively named ‘Rural School No. 96’, which was granted aid by the Board of Education in 1871. This was followed by the ‘State School 1335’ in 1874, which was housed in a new building in 1907 with major additions built in 1959.
Moyhu became a significant producer of agriculture, influenced by the market gardening and tobacco growing skills brought by the Chinese, followed later by the influence of Italian migrants in the 1940s and 1950s, who grew tobacco and realised the potential of the region to produce the European wine that is still enjoyed today.
The railway reached Moyhu in 1899, with the Wangaratta to Whitfield line being the narrow-gauge line to be built in Victoria. The railway facilitated the transportation of Moyhu’s dairy products and provided access to markets. The railway closed in 1954 once motorised transport was available.
Today Moyhu is part of the Rural City of Wangaratta.
North East Water
Despite a population of only 235 (or 102 connections, as at 2018), Moyhu has a comprehensive system for ensuring safe and reliable drinking water. Raw water is pumped from the King River, where it is treated before being sent to a 140kL elevated storage. Due to the density of the town, it only takes 3.5kms of water mains to service the entire town.
In 2017, North East Water invested in just under 5kms of sewerage reticulation to form a Septic Tank Effluent Drainage (STED) system. Essentially, the private septic tanks connect to the gravity reticulation system to form part of the treatment train (that is, pre-treatment occurs in the septic tanks, final treatment occurs at the Moyhu Wastewater Treatment Plant lagoons).