Echuca Shire (1871-1909) was proclaimed on 26 May 1871, extending over a vast area of northern-central Victoria. It excluded the town of Echuca which had been made a municipal borough in 1865.
The shire's western boundary was Mount Hope Creek, about 40 km west of Echuca. Its eastern boundary was the Ovens River, 130 km east of Echuca. The northern boundary was the Murray River. The southern boundary was an irregular line formed by the limits of southern shires and it enclosed Rochester and Shepparton.
The formation of local water trusts for farms taken up on the northern plains led to rapidly-growing population centres. New shires were formed by severances from Echuca Shire: Yarrawonga Shire on 15 May 1878, Shepparton Shire on 30 May 1879, part to Numurkah Shire on 1 June 1892, and the last, Deakin Shire, was severed on 20 April 1893.
Echuca Shire's administrative offices were at Rochester, and Council meetings alternated between there and Shepparton for some years.
After the last severance (Deakin Shire) Echuca Shire was a relatively compact area of about 2300 sq km. Rochester was the only town of significance, and the closer settlement districts of Bamawm and Lockington arose around 1910. On 27 October 1909, the shire was renamed Rochester Shire and later information can be found under that heading.
Census populations were: