Sale – a wetland city


(1) Historic Port of Sale (2) Flooding Creek (3) Lake Guthridge (4) The Botanical Gardens (5) Eucalyptus caesia in the gardens (6) Powder Magazine (7) Tribes of the Gunaikurnai (8) The Bataluk Trail logo – artwork Richard Mullett

Sale is in the south-eastern corner of Australia in the Gippsland region of Victoria. It is close to thousands of hectares of wetland, making it a beautiful, Wetland City. First named Flooding Creek, Sale started from humble beginnings in 1845 and soon grew to become a centre of transport and trade in Gippsland. It is situated at the head of the Gippsland Lakes near where the Thomson River meets the Latrobe River, which flows into the lakes. In earlier years, shipping on the lakes provided transport for people and goods and this supported the growing pastoral industry and the goldfields to the north.

A remarkable Swing Bridge was constructed over the Latrobe River to carry the road south to Port Albert but which could be swung open to allow the passage of masted and larger ships. In 1890, the completion of a canal from the Thomson River enabled navigation to come close to the urban area and a true Port of Sale was created.

Water transport, as a commercial enterprise, gave way to rail and road transport, however Sale remains important as it is where the Princess Highway and the South Gippsland Highway meet and it is on the Bairnsdale to Melbourne railway line.

Sale is a vibrant city with a population of 15,000. It is the major centre for the Wellington Shire and supports thriving dairy, beef and sheep industries on the Gippsland plains, the Bass Strait oil and gas industry and the Royal Australian Air Force training base, East Sale, home to the exciting RAAF aerobatic team, The Roulettes. Sale is well provided for with three large secondary colleges – two are linked to the Anglican and Catholic dioceses, which each have their Cathedral in Sale.

A Botanical Garden was established in 1860 and has been completely refurbished in recent years to become again a beautiful and peaceful place.

The magnificent wetlands that fringe Sale to the south and east are the envy of visitors as they are within walking distance of the urban area. Sale has two lakes on its edge, Lake Guthridge and Lake Guyatt, which provide a link to the wetlands. The lakes and wetlands are enhanced by walking tracks, board walks and signage, much of which was a Rotary initiative. Sale is greatly enhanced by its lakes and proximity to the wetlands, which are a great visual and recreational asset.

Sale is an entrancing and historic destination and a wonderful place to live but it is also a gateway to East Gippsland and the beautiful Gippsland Lakes, the Victorian Alps and the 90 Mile Beach, all part of the totality of the incomparable Gippsland experience.

by Rotarian Keith Miller