The vast Murtoa Stick Shed is an unexpectedly impressive sight worth making a trip to Victoria's Wimmera region to explore. Built as a wartime emergency grain store, the now-heritage listed shed was the first of its kind to be built in Victoria, and the last grain stick shed in use in Australia.
Constructed over a speedy four months between 1941 and 1942, the enormous shed – known originally as the Murtoa No.1 Grain Shed – was designed to store a massive 92,500 tonnes of wheat. With trade and exports to Europe affected by World War II (1939–45), valuable grain was in danger of going to waste – silos were full and railway sidings had begun to overflow. The Australian Wheat Board needed to protect their important commodity.
Completed at a time when labour was short, and without the aid of modern construction technology, the corrugated-iron clad structure is 265 metres in length, 60 metres wide and a whopping 19 metres high. Despite a rustic facade, inside the shed is surprisingly cathedral-like. The 560 interior wooden pole supports are made of unmilled mountain ash laid out in 10 rows.
Visitors can experience the overwhelming scale when they step inside the now empty shed. The height and breadth shows off some incredible construction, and reminds of the historic importance of the wheat industry to Australian agriculture.
Drop into the Stick Shed and explore the small town of Murtoa as part of a Silo Art Trail tour. Come for Murtoa's annual Big Weekend celebration in October, wander peaceful Lake Marma, and explore the historic Water Tower Museum.