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Barooga, NSW

Rural service town and holiday destination on the Murray River

Barooga is a small rural service centre and holiday resort town attractively situated on the northern bank of the Murray River. It is on the New South Wales-Victorian border with Cobram being across the river. The appeal of the town is summed up perfectly by the Cobram-Barooga website when it explains:  “Visitors are captivated by the lifestyle, with wide sandy beaches, towering gums and native bushland which blend together to create this unique holiday destination … Australia’s largest inland beach, Thompson’s Beach, is easily accessible from the centre of town and is a great spot to soak up the tranquillity of the river, meet for a BBQ or picnic and have a hit of beach volleyball or cricket … Barooga is a magnet for holiday makers – golfers, anglers, campers, swimmers, kayakers and water skiers all come to enjoy this piece of paradise. Discover the region using bikes, boats and canoes, or simply stroll through the bush and drop in a fishing line.”

Location

Barooga is located on the northern bank of the Murray River 677 km south-west of Sydney via the Hume Freeway and Albury. It is on the NSW-Victorian border just across the Murray River from the Victorian town of Cobram.

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Origin of Name

Barooga is named after Barooga station which was established by George Hillas in 1847. The historic Barooga homestead still stands on the Barooga-Tocumwal Road about 5 km west of the town. The word 'barooga' possibly means 'my home' in the language of the Wiradjuri Aborigines.

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Things to See and Do

The Beaches
There are a total of 103 beaches along the Murray River between Yarrawonga and Tocumwal. Not surprisingly, visitors are drawn to these large sandy beaches, unusual alongside an inland river, a backdrop of red-gum forest and abundant wildlife. There are over 90 species of birds in the area. The reserves along the river are ideal for camping, bushwalking, cycling, fishing, swimming, bird watching, canoeing, water skiing and boating. There is a website - http://www.cobrambarooga.org.au/about/river-beaches/nsw-access.html - which provides detailed information on all the beaches and access points to the river. The most famous beach in the area is Thompson's Beach which is accessed via Mookarii Street in Cobram. It is a beach on a bend in the river and it has a play area, a playground, barbecue facilities. It is floodlit in the evening and has fine stands of red river gums.

Barooga Botanic Gardens
Located in Nangunia Street, the town's Botanic Gardens are an ideal place to relax and have a picnic or barbecue. The gardens, built and maintained by the local community, were opened in 1993 and cover an area of 2.4 ha (6 acres) where the town's old cricket ground used to be. The trees were purchased with money donated by the Barooga Sports Club and much of the construction was donated by local contractors. Of particular interest are the palm trees at the entrance which were transplanted from Seppelts vineyard; the commemorative sundial; and special trees which include a lone pine from the hills at Gallipoli as well as some Wollemi and Kauri pine trees. For more information check out http://www.baroogabotanicalgardens.com.au or tel: (03) 5873 4486.

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Other Attractions in the Area

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 left just before 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.

Quinn Island Wetland Sanctuary
Located off River Road Cobram (cross the Murray into Victoria and turn onto River Road) Quinn Island Wetlands Sanctuary is a 40 ha island formed by a bend in the Murray River. A bridge crosses to the island and can be accessed from the parking area 100 metres to the west of the Quinn Island access point. A trail winds its way through River Red Gum and Silver Wattle Forest, including access to a bird hide that overlooks a billabong. A variety of native birds and animals can be spotted on Quinn Island. When it is wet the island is a haven for water birds. For more information check out http://www.cobrambarooga.org.au/companies/236/31/Quinn-Island-Wetland-Sanctuary.html#/None/. Tel: (03) 5872 2132.

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History

* This is an area which reputedly was once occupied bymembers of the Jeithi group of the Wirajduri Aboriginal language group.

* In 1838 the explorer Charles Sturt was the first European to pass through the area. He was impressed with the fertile soil, rich natural resources and reliable water supply from the Murray River.

* In 1847 George Hillas took up land in the district and named it 'Barooga' station. He sold the property to Patrick McFarland who used the land primarily for growing wheat.

* The property next to Barooga was named 'Boomanoomana' and was acquired in 1863 by William Hay.

*  Boomanoomana was subdivided in the late 1870s leading to the development of the township.

* The township developed in the late 1880s.

* The Barooga Post Office opened in 1896.

* Today Barooga is in a rich agricultural area of citrus orchards, vineyards, strawberry growing, olives, almonds as well as beef and dairy production.

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Visitor Information

Cobram Barooga Visitor Information Centre, cnr Punt Road and Station Street, Cobram, tel: 1800 607 607 or (03) 5872 2132.

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Useful Websites

There is an excellent local website. Check out http://www.cobrambarooga.org.au.

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