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; 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 arousing hopes of a thriving community, with the regular coming and going of trains and Cobb & Co. coaches, neighbourhood residents bringing produce, 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,  with many dances held in its public hall and well patronised cricket and tennis clubs, the centre gradually declined. Following the closing of the school in 1965, the Presbyterian Church closed in 1966, the Post Office in 1975, the Anglican Church in 1979 and the railway station closed for passengers in 1987.

Now the once busy village is not even thought of as cars pass along the Sunraysia Highway, yet those who live in the area are determined that Cope Cope should not be forgotten.