Yarriambiack Shire, Victoria

About the community

Warracknabeal is a country town with a population of 2,400 in the heart of Victoria's wheat-belt and is located 340 km north-west of Melbourne. The town is a service centre for the broad acre farming businesses throughout the Yarriambiack Shire, and is the largest wheat receival centre in Victoria.  Yarriambiack Shire has a population of 7088 and covers 7158 square kilometres.   Warracknabeal and Yarriambiack Shire towns are strong communities but, like most rural communities, our towns have had their resilience tested through economic downturn due to more than 10 years of drought, a significant flood and dependency on agriculture as a driver for economic and social prosperity.

Yarriambiack Shire and the Let's Read program

Let’s Read Yarriambiack aims to support every young family to read to their babies from the age of 4months to the age of 5 (and beyond).  A strong partnership has come together to implement the program.  The steering committee includes the Mayor, councillors, CEO and senior management of Yarriambiack Shire, Rural Northwest Health CEO, Wimmera Library Corporation CEO, Warracknabeal Neighbourhood House Executive Officer,  Warracknabeal school Principals and representatives of Warracknabeal Kindergarten and playgroup, DEECD, DHS, Wimmera Uniting Care and the Wimmera Southern Mallee LLEN.

Community stories


Book Week 2018

The Wimmera Southern Mallee LLEN (WSMLLEN) worked with Let’s Read Yarriambiack and neighbouring Let’s Read programs to promote the joys of reading through social media channels during Book Week.

In partnership with ACE Radio, the WSMLLEN developed the 'Bedtime Stories’ Book Week project. Rural and regional radio announcers from Ace Radio were videoed reading some of Australia's top children's books. The announcers are professionally trained in language and communication making them the perfect role models to help support parents, grandparents and friends make the most out of reading to their children.

Each night of Book Week at 7pm, the video was released on social media for families to enjoy. Families were encouraged to join in the fun with their children to celebrate Book Week. We were fortunate to have the involvement of most of our fellow Local Learning and Employment Networks to simultaneously post the book reading video each night on their social media channels across the state.

The project featured a local book, Arty Farty Marty, written by former Horsham resident, Dale Baker. We thank Ace Radio, Dale Baker and participating LLENs for their support of this innovative project.

Tim Shaw Wimmera Southern Mallee LLEN

November 2019



Shake, Rattle and Read!

Warracknabeal is the largest town and main service centre for the Yarriambiack Shire.  Warracknabeal Primary School implemented the “Shake, Rattle & Read” program in 2016.  This fun pre-school pre-reading program is aimed at supporting and engaging families with young children.  Warracknabeal Primary School decided to implement the program based on its success in local schools at Birchip and Rainbow.

The purpose of the program is to support parents, grandparents and caregivers through the sharing of rhymes, songs, and storybooks with kids. The program teaches rhymes for parents to use daily with their child/children from birth to kinder age in a fun and interactive way.

The program is a great success with regular attendance of 10-15 children and their parents (and carers) shaking, rattling, singing and having lots of fun.  The program builds the pre-reading literacy skills of our kids, engages young families, and establishes transition links for the children.  

This great program provides support and encouragement to all young families in Warracknabeal.  It also engages families that traditionally have not had strong links with the community and the school.  Shake, Rattle and Read is a wonderful way to model activities that support emergent literacy development and gives parents the skills, confidence and resources to support their children to reach their full potential.

The Wimmera Southern Mallee LLEN supported the purchase of books and props for Shake, Rattle and Read.  

Tim Shaw | Executive Officer | Wimmera Southern Mallee LLEN

WORDS, 2016

Let’s Read Yarriambiack is a key element of the Warracknabeal Oral Literacy Development Strategy (WORDS) project. The WORDS project is part of eight Department of Education Linking Learning projects implemented in Victoria. The program has supported the implementation of a number of innovative initiatives to promote and improve literacy in Warracknabeal.

The WORDS Project has a focus on building parent and educator capacity to support oral language development and promote reading. A series of initiatives have been implemented to ensure more people are reading more books to children, more often. The whole Warracknabeal community is behind these initiatives and actively supports them.

Examples include:

• Community forums which include providing reading tips as a support to families

• A wide variety of reading events and activities including pop-up library boxes and the development of a “mushroom reading circle” at local park

• Reading at MCH immunisation days

• Weekly story time at the local library

• The delivery of Musical Tots sessions at the library

• Secondary school students (Reader Leaders) supporting literacy development at primary schools and the kindergarten

• The creation of a Warracknabeal WORDS Facebook page

The WORDS project brings together a diverse group of partners to achieve the above outcomes. The most important outcome is that the MCHNs, the playgroups, kindergarten, primary and secondary schools, local government, the Wimmera Southern Mallee LLEN and community organisations have a shared vision of promoting literacy development. The WORDS project has delivered some innovative strategies to engage families, bring together community professionals and raising community awareness and skills by promoting books and reading to the public in a very visible way.

Let's Read, 2014

More than 300 children and their families have received Let’s Read bags, books and resources since the program began in February 2014.  The program is delivered by a wonderful partnership of local organisations, including Yarriambiack Shire (Maternal and Child Health Nurses), Wimmera Regional Library Corporation, Warracknabeal College, Warracknabeal Primary School, St Mary’s Primary School, Warracknabeal Kindergarten, Rural Northwest Health, Wimmera Southern Mallee LLEN and playgroup and community members.

The ongoing success of the program is due to the fantastic support we get from our community organisations.  The Rupanyup and Minyip Community Bank are sponsoring Let’s Read for four years, and we are fortunate to also have the support of the Horsham Sports and Community Club for the next three years.

Thanks to the Rupanyup and Minyip Community Bank’s support, more than 90 Let’s Read books and resource bags have been distributed in the southern part of Yarriambiack Shire throughout the Rupanyup, Minyip and Murtoa communities and surrounding districts.

This sponsorship has also enabled the WSMLLEN to provide books to the Rupanyup, Minyip primary schools and Murtoa College for distribution to children from ‘book poor’ families.  Let’s Read Yarriambiack continues to aim to provide every family in the shire with Let’s Read books and resources at their child’s key ages and stages.

We are continuing to develop a sustainable funding model.  This involves seeking multi-year commitments from key stakeholders and local businesses and organisations.  The Rupanyup and Minyip Community Bank has led the way in this regard, being the first organisation to commit a significant sponsorship over four years.  Yarriambiack Shire and Wimmera Southern Mallee LLEN have also made significant contributions to the program. 

Tim Shaw, Executive Officer, Wimmera Southern Mallee LLEN


Department of Education and Training

Yarriambiack Shire

Warracknabeal Secondary College

Warracknabeal Kindergarten

Rural Northwest Health

Wimmera Regional Library Corporation

Wimmera Uniting Care

Wimmera Southern Mallee Local Learning and Employment Network

Rupanyup and Minyip Community Bank

Horsham Sports and Community Club    

Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal         

Yarriambiack schools

Key contact

Tim Shaw, Executive Officer Wimmera Southern Mallee Local Learning and Employment Network (LLEN)


P 0427 810 122,