Wangaratta Family History Society Inc.

About Us

We are a significant Family History organisation in North East Victoria, with an extensive collection of resources covering this region and available for use by novice and experienced researchers.

We are a non profit organisation with the aim of promoting and encouraging the study of family history and the preservation of records from our local region. Our Research Library has Donor Gift Recipient Endorsement which allows donors making gifts of $2.00 or more to claim a tax deduction.

We have experienced researchers available on our regular Open Days to assist members and visitors with family history inquiries.

The Society is also engaged in digitising and indexing archival records for various district history Groups, Societies and Trusts primarily to -

  • ensure the preservation of the original archives,
  • provide working copy for the owners and
  • make the information available to family history researchers.

We are always keen to talk with inividuals interested in working with us either as members or volunteers in the Library, assisting with research or project work.

Our extensive collection of reference material is housed on the First Floor at 100 – 104 Murphy Street, Wangaratta, above the Visitor Information Centre. It includes books, microfiche, CDs and computer databases, also pamphlets, maps and periodicals. Our records not only cover North East Victoria but also Australia, New Zealand, United Kingdom, Ireland and other countries.

About Wangaratta Family History Society

Wangaratta Family History Society was formed in 1985 to support and promote family history research both within Wangaratta and North East and to assist members in their wider family research.

We have had a number of different homes since that time, now well situated in the Wangaratta CBD above the Visitor Information Centre.

Our Society continues to be active on a wide range of Heritage Imaging and Indexing Projects throughout the North East including the Wangaratta & Disctrict Rate Books 1863-1994; Wangaratta Cemetery; district Cemetery Registers, Minute Books, Maps and other official and community records of genealogical interest and heritage importance.

Our Research Library has over the past few years been updated, exanded, audited, re-shelved and re-indexed; leading also to updates of family surname files and surname indexes. The Computer room has been upgraded with flat screen monitors, and new workstation chairs funded through grants.

As these projects are made possible only through the interest, commitment and hard work of our members and volunteers, we acknowledge and very are grateful for their dedication.

We are constantly looking to improve and increase our holdings, our facilities and technology, and to encourage and promote heritage and family history research within the community of Wangaratta and North East Victoria.

If you would like to know more about us, becoming a member or volunteer, please check out the Members section or contact us via email or snail mail.

History of Wangaratta

The first inland exploration of the North East region of Victoria was by Hamilton Hume and William Hovell in 1824. They crossed the river, which they named the Ovens, some 15 miles south of the present city.

A later expedition by Surveyor Thomas Mitchell forded the Ovens in 1836 close to the later townsite, charting a route which in effect became the first Sydney to Melbourne road.

The first settler in the Wangaratta district was George Faithful who arrived in 1838 with his flock of sheep and herd of cattle. Others, including Joseph Docker who took up the deserted Bontherambo run and Thomas Rattray who established the first punt service across the Ovens, soon followed and the settlement of the Wangaratta district commenced and flourished.

The small settlement was almost deserted during the rush to the gold diggings in the early 1850s, however recovered to prosper on the back of the through traffic and the increasing demand for food, supplies and transport.

An eclectic mix of early settlers, pastoralists, speculators, fossickers and others attracted to fertile valleys and gold diggings, contribute to a very rich and colourful history in the North East of Victoria.