Devenish, a rural village in north-east Victoria, is 25 km north of Benalla and a little short of half way between Benalla and Yarrawonga. It was named after the local survey parish, itself presumably named after Devenish Island, Lough Erne, Ireland.
Devenish was part of the district known as Major Plains. In October 1836 the New South Wales Surveyor-General, Thomas Mitchell, passed by the south of the plains (ie near Benalla) on his return journey from the Port Phillip district. Major Plains came under pastoral occupation with the Goorambat and Mokoan runs (1844) and farm selections began in the early 1870s. Devenish parish was mapped in 1873 and the Major Plains school opened in 1876. Other local schools were Devenish West (1874-1943), Devenish East (1879-1931) and finally Devenish North (1876) which became plain Devenish, and continues (8 pupils, 2014)
The railway from Benalla reached Devenish in 1883 and settled any question about the place of a future township. The Railway Hotel dates from 1874, a Methodist church began in 1885 and the Devenish Agricultural and Pastoral Society held its first show in 1886. The shows continued until 1901. A Hibernian hall opened in 1904. Devenish was described in 1903 in the Australian handbook:
In the past sectarian differences resulted in some residents using the railways goods shed for gatherings rather than the Hiberian hall. The village is sewered and had reticulated electricity switched on in 1940. There are also silos at the railway, a recreation reserve, a Uniting church and a CFA station. In 2004 the local community bought the hotel and it is managed as a co-operative. The town received fluoridated water in 2008.
Devenish's census populations have been:
|Devenish and environs||2011||360|
At the 2011 census, farming accounted for 30.4% of employment.