history of Morwell Latrobe City Council Gippsland Victoria

A brief history of Morwell




The history of Morwell – name

Morwell (Morewell) is a version of the Gunai-Kurnai words – More willie meaning Woolly Possum. Originally Morwell was the name of a homestead built on beside of the Morwell River in the 1840s.

The shire of Morwell was established in 1892. Stephen M. Legg for the Morwell Centenary in 1992 wrote a book called the ‘Heart of the Valley’. He writes about the natural beauty surrounding Morwell. “Three imposing features provide the natural setting for the 650 square kilometres Morwell Shire – the Eastern Highlands which for the backbone of the country to the north, the Strzelecki Ranges that rise to the south and west and the Gippsland Basin which lies between them. These three landscape elements form a natural amphitheatre in the west, with ramparts surrounding the easterly flowing Latrobe River and its tributaries on three sides.”

Europeans discovered Morwell in 1840

The pioneers McMillan and Strezlecki found Morwell in 1840 and was set up as a changing station for the horses or stagecoaches on the way to Sale before the train line was completed in 1879. Farmers came in droves, clearing land and planting crops.

Morwell’s history with coal

Coal was found all over the valley, and many companies emerged between 1886 and 1894. Fuel was a costly venture and didn’t take off until the Victorian Government bought up all the coal licenses in 1916. This move prompted in part due to coal miners strikes in Newcastle (NSW).

Gold in Morwell

Gold was found in the Morwell River, but not enough for commercial viability.

Things to do in Morwell

Things to Do in Morwell

Learn More about the Latrobe Valley 

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Morwell’s location makes it a great place with accessibility to the snow, beach and bush. Morwell used to have a butter factory, cordial factory, oil factory and gas production.

For more history listen to the Haunted Hills Podcast.


Things to do in Morwell

Other things to do in the Latrobe Valley