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Berrigan, NSW

Quiet rural country town.

Berrigan is a traditional and charming small country town surrounded by rich agricultural land known for its rice production, vineyards, maize, grapefruit, potatoes, cherries, tomatoes and dairy cattle. The primary appeal of the town is the way it has been held in aspic. It is a town which still belongs in the 1950s ... a reminder of a simpler way of life.

Location

Berrigan, which is 119 m above sea level,  is located 678 km south-west of Sydney via the Hume and Riverina highways and 313 km north of Melbourne via the Hume and Goulburn Valley highways.

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Origin of Name

The town seems to have been named after the local Berrigan Hotel which was opened in 1888. Two years later a village of the same name was proclaimed.

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Things to See and Do

Berrigan Heritage Walk
The Berrigan and District Heritage Museum has a full colour Heritage Town Walk which identifies 20 places of interest around the town and provides information about each location. It is an ideal way to learn about the history of the town while enjoying the timeless ambience. It is best to just go for a wander around town, though some highlights are the brick post office  on the cnr Carter and Jerilderie Streets;  in Chanter Street, the Federal Hotel with its Dutch gables; and, across the road, the arches and gables of Memorial Hall. Also of interest is the lead window at St Aidan's Anglican Church which commemorates the European pioneers in the district.

Berrigan & District Heritage Museum
Located at 60 Jerilderie Street, the Berrigan & District Heritage Museum offers a great historic introduction to the local area with its displays of fire brigade memorabilia (Berrrigan established the first rural fire service in the country);  material relating to the Berrigan's military history including guns, medals, uniforms and service records of Berrigan men and women who served in World War II, plus some from World War I. There are also photos and press cuttings of early farming and the coming of irrigation in 1939 via the Mulwala Canal. The museum is open on Wednesdays from 9.00 am - 11.00 am and by appointment. Tel: (03) 5885 2363. For more information check out http://betterinberrigan.com/history.html.

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Other Attractions in the Area

Berrigan Government Nature Reserve Tank Paddock
The Berrigan Government Nature Reserve Tank Paddock is a walking trail situated on the eastern side of town which is well signposted and provides information about the indigenous plant species and the fauna in the district.

The Drop
About halfway along the road from Berrigan to Barooga (Berrigan Road) is 'The Drop', where the Berrigan Road crosses the Mulwala Canal. There is a parking area to the right just after the road crosses the canal. This is part of a large water-flow control system which allows water to divert from Mulwala Canal into Berrigan Channel. It is Australia's first hydroelectric power station on an irrigation canal. The power station has a generating capacity of 2.5 MW of electricity. Check out http://www.toconthemurray.com.au/Products/46/70/The-Drops.html for more information.

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History

* Prior to the arrival of Europeans the area was home to the Wiradjuri Aboriginal people.

* Europeans settled in the 1870s on land subdivided from the 'Barooga' and 'Boomanooma' stations which stretched from the Murray River up to twhere the township is now located.

* The Berrigan Post Office opened in 1884.

* The township grew up around the Berrigan Hotel which opened in 1888.

* The town was officially proclaimed in 1890.

* In 1893 some of the citizens of Berrigan organised the Corowa Conference on Federation which led to the creation of Australia.

* The railway reached the town in 1896.

* The first Rural Fire Brigade was formed in Berrigan in 1901.

* Berrigan was declared the principal town of the newly declared shire in 1906. The shire included the towns - Tocumwal, Barooga and Finley.

* In 1909 the first meeting of a Parents and Teachers Association in New South Wales was held in the town.

* The population of the town peaked in 1911 with over 1000 people.

* The Mulawa Canal reached the area in 1939.

* The population in the district increased after World War II as a result of the construction of the Berriquin Irrigation Scheme which guaranteed water certainty.

* Mulwala Canal was completed in 1949. It brought water from Lake Mulwala to Berrigan Shire. This led to increased intensive agriculture in the district.

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Visitor Information

Berrigan doesn't have its own Visitor Centre. The Tocumwal Visitor Information Centre, Deniliquin Street, Tocumwal, tel: (03) 5874 2517 can provide information.

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Useful Websites

The town has a useful, official website run by the Berrigan Shire. Check out http://www.berriganshire.nsw.gov.au.

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2 suggestions
  • Berrigan is also home to the Berrigan Sports Club Show & Shine held each year. This classic vehicle event draws in hundreds of people from all around. I have pleasure to promote this event & showcase the town of Berrigan, in Australia & to countries around the world, on my TV show Classic Restos. Regards Mark Fletcher (aka: Fletch)

    Mark Fletcher
  • Drove 35 klms each way to see the “acclaimed” and “don’t miss” Berrigan Heritage Museum- only to find its opening hours are “Wednesday 9-11 am”.

    Hmmmpf!!!!

    Barry