Jeparit might be the local Aboriginal word to describe a ‘home of small birds’, but the town’s most famous son certainly outgrew his humble beginnings.
Born in the Wimmera River town 370km north-west of Melbourne on December 20, 1894, Robert Gordon Menzies grew up to take silk in 1929 and to lead the United Australian Party to government in 1939.
He was forced to resign the Prime Ministership in 1941, but returned to power in 1949 as leader of the newly formed Liberal Party. He remained prime minister for a record 17 years before retiring from politics in 1966.
The town remembers him through an 18-metre spire whose inscription reads in part: The spire symbolises the rise to world recognition of a boy who was born in Jerapit and who rose by his own efforts to become Australian Prime Minister and a statesman recognised and honoured throughout the world.
The Wimmera-Mallee Pioneer Museum is one of the best of its kind in the land, but be warned: you'll need more than a few minutes to do it justice. The complex is spread over 4ha and, providing you make the time, offers you an authenic and fascinating trip down the region's lane of memories.