Bairnsdale is a small but active city in Gippsland, Victoria, Australia. With a population at the 2006 statistics of 11,282, it is a major regional centre of eastern Victoria along with Traralgon and Sale. Bairnsdale is situated on the river flats of the Mitchell River, nearby where the Mitchell River flows into the Lake King. Bairnsdale is the commercial centre for Gippsland region and the home of local government for the Shire of East Gippsland. The origin of the city’s name is very uncertain, however it is known to have been derived from the name of the property owned by pioneer settler Archibald Macleod.
The town site was explored and surveyed in 1859, with the first few blocks of land sold in 1861. Luck now on the east of the river (named for the Indian city of Lucknow to which horses bred in the Bairnsdale farm area were sent to aid the British Crown during the Indian uprising), was already a thriving village. The Post Office first opened on 2 February 1858 at Lucknow and was relocated to the township and named Bairnsdale on April 1862. Lucknow remains as a suburb of Bairnsdale.
One of the most notable landmarks of Bairnsdale a is the St Mary’s Roman Catholic Church in Main Street known for its distinctively tall tower and murals on its ceiling and walls. These murals were painted by out of work Italian artist Francesco Floreani during the Great Depression and remain a fascination to this day. Also of note are the gardens maintained on the median strip of Main St.. This very wide median strip encompasses from the Mitchell River to the western edge of town, a distance of about 4 kilometres (2 mi). The main garden section runs for over 500 metres (550 yd) through the central commercial district and features beds of flowering annuals and perennials, numerous mature deciduous and evergreen trees, war memorials and a restored historic band rotunda. The rotunda was constructed in 1910 and restored to its present condition in 1993.
The East Gippsland Rail Trail begins in Bairnsdale’s central. Almost 100 km (60 miles) in length, the multi-use trail permits walking, cycling and horse riding as it follows the alignment of the former railway line to Orbost. Bairnsdale also has a big regional airport.