Town by town snapshot – Rochester

November 20, 2021 BY

Rochester's silos, painted by artist Jimmy Dvate, have become a major tourist attraction in northern Victoria.

The size of Rochester is approximately 86.4 square kilometres and the district has eleven parks covering one per cent of total area.

The population in 2011 was 3135 people and by the 2016 Census had contracted slightly to 3100, showing decline of 1.1 per cent in the area during that time.

Rochester a very scenic rural town, steeped in history, that is located 60 kilometres from Bendigo and 25 kilometres south of Echuca.

It is on the Northern Highway and the railway to Echuca, and the main section of the town is on the west side of the Campaspe River.

In 1846 John Rowe took up a pastoral run along the Campaspe River and later built an inn east of present-day Rochester.

A small settlement formed around the inn and was known as Rowe’s Camp and a township was surveyed at Rowe’s Camp, and was named Rowechester.

In 1855 the name was shortened to Rochester, nine years later the railway line from Bendigo to Echuca was opened through the town, and the year after that (1865) a school was opened for the district’s settlers.

This immaculately presented four-bedroom Rochester home sold recently for $645,000.

The Rochester district was part of the Echuca Shire (1871) which extended eastwards to Yarrawonga.

Within 15 years a series of severances reduced Echuca Shire to an area which became Rochester Shire in 1909.

As Echuca borough was a separate entity, Rochester became the Shire’s administrative centre by 1880.

The township moved from east of the river to develop around the railway station on the other side.

It had Presbyterian and Bible Christian churches, the shire hall, a flour mill (1868), bank branches, several hotels and an array of shops.

In 1893 the Rochester Waterworks Trust was formed to draw irrigation water from the Campaspe River between 1910.

By World War Two Rochester’s population was about 1500 people.

It became a district centre for the irrigation area to its west, notwithstanding the growth of Lockington.

A municipal saleyard was opened (1911), a new bridge was built over the Campaspe River (1915), the Strand picture theatre was opened (1918) and Rochester’s football team became a force in the Bendigo League after joining in 1915.

In 1943 the Advance Rochester and District Association was formed, bringing a Housing Commission estate and a War Memorial hospital (1952).

The Returned Services League had opened a memorial hall in 1920, and in 1952 it acquired a two-storey mansion, Burneway House, for a war veterans’ home.

CoreLogic data indicates that the predominant age group in Rochester is 50-59 years with households being primarily childless couples and are likely to be repaying $1000 – $1399 per month on mortgages. In general, people in Rochester work in a managers occupation.

In 2011, 77.5 per cent of the homes in Rochester were owner-occupied compared with 76.3 per cent in 2016.



Rochester has a museum dedicated to the endurance cyclist, Sir Hubert Opperman (1904-96) who was born in Rochester.


Population: 3100

Male: 48.5%

Female: 51.5%

Median age: 51

5-year population change: -1.1%

House median value: $295,300

Change in Median Price: (5yrs) is 24.8%

Median asking rent per week: $270

Average length of ownership: 13 years

Owner occupiers:79%

Renters: 21%


House median sale price:

July 2021: $293,500

July 2020: $241,000

July 2019: $229,000

July 2018: $235,000

July 2017: $255,000


House sales per annum:

Period ending July 2021: 79

Period ending July 2020: 62


Land median sale price:

July 2021: $148,000

July 2020: $118,000


Land sales per annum:

Period ending July 2021: 13

Period ending July 2020: 5

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