Once the bustling hub of the sugar beet industry, Maffra is now a charming village bursting with cafes, boutique shopping, and plenty of work from local artists at the Maffra Exhibition Centre, the Briagolong Art Gallery and home to Fonterra, one of the country’s largest milk manufacturers.
There’s also fascinating local history on display here at the Sugar Beet Museum and the Gippsland Vehicle Collection. And if you haven’t had your fill of stretching your legs in the great outdoors, there are plenty of walking tracks along the water at Macalister River Park.
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Thanks to the sugar beet and dairy industries, Maffra was an industrial hub from the 1880s until World War II, home to multiple dairy processing factories, as well as a massive sugar beet factory that processed beets grown by farmers across the area. Though wartime labour shortages slowed the sugar beet industry, the dairy industry in the region continued to thrive, and wartime industries like flax and dehydrated vegetables cropped up to meet military demand.
Although this section of the railway line was officially closed in 1987, freight trains between Stratford and Maffra continued to run until 1994, taking out Murray Goulburn’s dairy products, and bringing in fertiliser.