Cope Cope

Cope Cope was an important staging post on the way north from Ballarat , its lakes providing a good resting place; and later on, good sheep-washing facilities for the surrounding squatters.

Hotels, a store and blacksmiths appeared after the selector era, and flour mills for the milling of the settlers’ grain; and a State School was opened there in 1875, while a Presbyterian Church and Church of England reflected the faiths of its inhabitants.

In 1882 the railway reached Cope Cope aroused hopes of a thriving community , with the regular coming and going of trains and Cobb & Co. coaches, and neighbourhood residents bringing produce, and travelling to larger centres for medical or legal services, or for pleasure.

However, the rail line was extended to Donald, also in 1882, in response to that town’s desperate need for water, and as the years passed, the larger centres of St. Arnaud and Donald took over the trade. Although the neighbouring settlers were loyal to Cope Cope, and many dances were held in its public hall, while cricket and tennis clubs were well patronised, the centre gradually declined, particularly after the closing of the school in 1965. The Presbyterian Church closed in 1966 and the Anglican in 1979; the post office in 1975 and the railway station closed for passengers in 1987.

Now the once busy village is not even thought of as cars pass on the Sunraysia Way, but those who live in the area are determined that Cope Cope will not be forgotten.