Champion of industry

Wodonga was awarded Top Industrial Town in 1964, 1967, 1970 and 1976.

Some of the facts and figures which won over the selection committee:

After taking a century to reach 2,000 population, the numbers rose to 3,550 in 1940 and then shot to 9,207 in 1966 (Township only). Of this figure 776 were over 65 years old, i.e. 8.4% (in 2016 it was 15%).

In 1966, 126 houses had been built, with a 3 bedroom weatherboard costing a maximum of $10,500 including land and a brick house costing a maximum of $17,500 including land.

The average price per acre of land available for industry in 1966 was $1400.  There were 157 acres available, all sewered.

In 1966 over 203,000 cattle, 42,500 pigs and 48,314 sheep were sold at the saleyard.

In 1967:  Donga Meats employed 130 people and killed 1400 sheep and 80 cattle daily.  A. Dunstan and Son, timber millers, employed over 80 men.  The Army was by far the largest employer with 1670 uniformed personnel and 580 civilians.  North East Dairy Company employed 110, Bradford Kendall 191, Lamson Paragon 80, and Rocla Pipes 92. Uncles Ben’s Inc had established their first Australian factory on a 20 acre site at a cost exceeding $1.5M and would eventually employ 200.

The 1967-68 Wodonga cattle markets sold 163,000 head of cattle at a value in excess of $17M.

A brochure entitled “Wodonga – Victoria’s Top Industrial Town” explained that between 1947 and 1965 the population of Wodonga Township increased by more than 115 per cent, compared to 25 per cent in country areas in the rest of Victoria.  “The birth rate at Wodonga is above average and this is explained as a result of healthy, happy living conditions in a community free of nerve-racking haste and waste normally found in over-populated settlements.”   To aid new industry coming into town “Assistance can be provided through Government channels in obtaining housing for key personnel required for new industries, or finance arranged through the Registrar of Co-operative Housing Societies.”  Under the heading of rail, fast freight and passengers services were assured.