You can read about the vibrant region of Molyullah, including Molyullah's famous Easter Sports and other events, on the Molyullah website.
This page has been written by Bill Willett, Molyullah community member.
Molyullah (aboriginal meaning at the foot of the hills) as it is now known, was originally part of Charles Ryans’ “Kilfera Run” named after a home place called “Kilfera”, in his Irish hometown of Kilkenny, where his family lived from the 1670’s. The spelling of Kilfera changed and is now accepted as Kilfeera, and the district of Ryans Creek now commemorates his name. Kilfeera Road which leads to Molyullah was surveyed many years later.
Up to 1860, a property could be leased but not owned, but when the first land act to be passed by both houses of Parliament gave provision for any person to buy up to 640 acres, that all changed. The so called “Selector” had to live on his block, fence it, or build a house and cultivate at least 10% of the ground.
After the lease was cancelled in December, 1880, many selectors purchased land in the area, bringing many women and children into the area, which demanded services not seen in the district before.
State leased School 2130 Ryans Creek was officially established on 13 March 1879 with Head Teacher, Henry Stielow in charge. He ceased duty on 30 September 1879 and the school officially closed on that day. Several schools were open and closed, including State School 3471, Ryans Creek Upper, until the last school was established next to the current Molyullah Hall, and it too was closed in 1979 through lack of students.
The Tucker Village Settlement should be remembered for its importance to Molyullah. The Great Depression of the 1890s was referred to as the bursting of the land boom, and the scheme which eventually led to the draining of the Molyullah Swamp, roughly between the Upper Ryans Creek Road and Blackburnes Bridge on the Molyullah Tatong Road was commenced. Contingents of men were employed to dig, straighten and improve the flow of Ryans Creek over this reach with nothing more than shovels picks and wheelbarrows. 32,000 yards of earth were moved.
The reclaimed land was then surveyed into blocks and offered to the workers. But only 14 of the men employed bought land. By the end of 1916 of the Village settlers, only six remained, and is that any wonder.
The very fertile lands of the Upper Ryans Creek valley was a great incentive to grow much sought after hops for the Melbourne Breweries, and so a flourishing industry started to satisfy that demand and continued until the early 1970s when falling prices, higher production costs and reduced water allocations put and end to these innovative enterprises.
Of Course, this valley is most important to Benalla, as the head of the Ryans Creek was dammed to become the Loomba Weir, Benalla’s water supply, which is piped some 28 kilometres to Benalla. Later, another dam named the McCall Say Weir was also constructed above the Loomba Wier to increase the capacity of the Cities water supply, further downgrading the reaches of the Ryans Creek.
The Molyullah and Ryans Creek area is now a settled farming community with mainly sheep and cattle production carried out along the flats and cleared landscapes, with many lifestyle type homes and enterprises springing up in the serene, scenic surrounds away from, but within a comfortable driving distance, of the hustle and bustle of the larger cities Benalla and Wangaratta. Descendants of some of the original settlers still reside in this picturesque and precious country side.
- Bill Willett