The flat country that surrounds Cobram and Barooga made it the optimal place for the railway that was making a push for the Murray River from Numurkah. A surveyor named Lavery stated that Cobram was the perfect place for a township due to its topography. Alan Dunlop, a community historian, argued that it is because of the railways that Cobram became a township, and by extension, the Cobram-Barooga Bridge. In 1908 Cobram was seen as an important train station stop, reinforcing Dunlop’s (and my own) argument that the railway had a huge impact on Cobram becoming a 5000 approx. strong community. Lavery was instrumental in planning the 110th section of the railway and inspiring the idea for a township on the wild country that was suitable for sub-division.
As the railways progressed they followed many of the roads that the pioneers and first explorers followed. They were originally used as a cattle run between Melbourne and Sydney. The first recorded exploration of the area was led by Hamilton Hume and William Hovel in November 1824. The second expedition into the area was led by Charles Sturt in 1838 to gauge how long the river was and where it met the ocean. Where the Darling River meets the Murray River at Mildura, Sturt named the river for the secretary of state at the time.
Octavius Phillpotts ran one of the first cattle stations around the Goulburn Valley area. It was named Cobram- for which the town was named from. The next identified founder of sorts was Mr Hugh Dick, who was a member (and later the president) of the Victorian government who delayed the bridge. His household, known as The Cobram Homestead, took two years to build from 1905, but he had owned the land since 1888. They were among the first families to grow their own orchid and were very active members of the community, although this could be due to his political career.