Monday, 20 May 2019 Sydney
RSS
Connect
Newsletter

Visit, Live & Invest in Gundagai Shire::

Nestled in the South West Slopes of NSW and comprising part of the lands of the Wiradjuri people, Gundagai Shire is located approximately half way between Sydney and Melbourne and with a cosy population of 2500 it is perfect for a quiet and relaxing stop along the busy Hume Highway.

 

Gazetted in 1923 from an amalgamation of the Adjungbilly Shire and the Gundagai Municipality, Gundagai Shire is proud of its rich heritage and is home to legends such as the Dog on the Tuckerbox, Dad and Dave and the awe inspiring Rusconi's Masterpiece in Marble.

 

The earliest migrant settlers can be traced back to the 1820s. The infamous bushranger, Captain Moonlight was captured at nearby Wantabadgery and is now buried at the North Gundagai cemetery.

 

Our scenic countryside and wealth of bush characters provided much of the inspiration for the stories and poems of Australia's most famous poet "Banjo" Paterson who spent considerable time at "Kiley's Run".

 

Traditionally a very safe farming area, the Shire yields a wide variety of produce. Bee farmers produce prodigious amounts of beautiful honey. In the south and east, higher rainfall and cooler seasons see large forestry plantations and rolling hills producing wool, lambs and beef. Along the valley floors, rich alluvial flats produce excellent lucerne hay and horticultural products whilst cereal crops are important in the north and west. Recently, viticulture has become an increasingly important crop in our district with several large vineyards now operational and more planned.

 

At the heart of our Shire and sitting astride the Murrumbidgee with excellent education, health and aged care facilities is the friendly town of Gundagai, famous in both verse and song. With top class sporting amenities, relaxed lifestyle and proximity to major centres it is a great place to live and work or even just visit.

 

Secondary Industries in Gundagai are using the latest in technology and include the modern Gundagai Meat Processors Plant and D J Lynch Engineering who have been engaged in many major construction projects including building steel spans for the Olympic Stadium.

 

Our History

 

Gundagai's History since the early days of European settlement has been well recorded with excellent reference material available at our Library, the Museum and photographic records in the Gabriel gallery.

A Brief Timeline of Gundagai's History as prepared with thanks by our previous librarian Mrs Carol Manton.
 
When Captain Sturt came down the Murrumbidgee river in 1829 he found Henry O'Brien at Jugiong, William Warby at Mingay and the Stuckey Brothers, Peter and Henry at Willie Ploma and Tumblong.
 

 

Officially they were beyond the bounds of settlement, which meant that the Government was not obliged to protect them. They had followed in the footsteps of the Hume and Hovell expedition and found wonderful grazing along the river.

 

A settlement gradually grew at the river crossing, and by 1852 about 300 people were living in close proximity on the river flat, some having purchased lots from the Government which would not replace land inundated during the 1844 flood.

 

Despite several big floods across the flats, and warnings from the aborigines, people stayed near the river because of the proximity to water. On the evening of the 24th June 1852, a great flood swept down the Murrumbidgee valley. Settlers still didn't go to higher ground, instead taking refuge in the lofts of their houses.

 

The river rose ever higher, and with the dawn came the horrifying spectacle of just how much damage had been wrought. The punt that carried the freight across the river set out to rescue people but capsized, tipping out the terrified occupants. The aboriginals Yarri and Jackey Jackey took their canoes out into the torrent to rescue people stranded in trees.

 

Altogether there were 89 known deaths in Gundagai, and even as the settlers came to grips with their grief and loss, another flood swept away what was left in 1853.

 

Things looked up a bit around 1859-61 with the discovery of gold in the hills surrounding the town. As miners swelled the population, so came the schools, churches, a hospital and expanded commerce.

 

The Prince Alfred Bridge was built to span the flood plain in 1867. What stories it could tell of the vast amounts of freight and infrastructure carried over its wooden planks. The railway arrived in 1886, and the twin bridge enabling the extension of the line to Tumut was opened in 1903.

 

Another gold boom swelled the population around the turn of the 20th century, with the discovery of the Reno and Bongongolong gold fields.

 

Underpinning the life of the town was the wealth created in the countryside. Agricultural life was booming, and the river was utilized for the growing of crops to feed a hungry and growing city population.

 

Gundagai was declared a Municipality in 1889, and Adjungbilly Shire Council created in 1906 to administer the district. These two were amalgamated in 1923 to form the Gundagai Shire Council, which still administers local government today.

 

Gundagai has had a long and colourful affinity with horse racing, and has produced many sportsmen and women who have represented at every level. There would be few country towns our size that have the facilities developed over many years that we enjoy today.

 

The celebration of Gundagai in verse and song is one part of our heritage that we are very proud of. Monuments like the Dog on the Tuckerbox and Mr. Rusconi's Masterpiece in Marble are just two of the many monuments in Gundagai that tell of Australian History.

 

Our wonderful Museum has many artifacts (and a couple of colourful characters who can tell you about them) that explain Australia's evolving heritage. Our library is a source for research with an ever growing local history collection.

 

Because of our position on the Hume Highway corridor, we have had at various times great Police presence, Communications employees working on Telecommunication facilities, great numbers of people employed to make the roads we enjoy today. They have stayed in Gundagai a while , contributed to our community and moved on.

 

The rural economy is still the backbone of our community, and there are many families still here today that are decendants of our earliest families. They have been through the floods, the droughts, the booms and the busts and still keep their country ways with quiet pride in what has been achieved in our little piece of Australia.