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Temora, NSW

Important rural service centre known for its impressive Air Shows.

In recent times Temora has become a hugely important centre for aviation with both the Temora Aviation Museum and the Aircraft Showcase Programs. The Air shows occur regularly and are an opportunity to see the museum's historic planes flown. Historically the town was created during the goldrush era and grew as an important rail centre in a prosperous wheat and sheep district. It has one of the state's largest inland grain storage terminals; has a major agricultural research station; and is also well known as a centre for harness racing with numerous trotting studs in the district.


Temora, which is 280 metres above sea level, is located 423 km west of Sydney via the Hume Freeway and Burley Griffin Way.


Origin of Name

In 1880 a townsite was chosen, laid out and proclaimed as Watsonforde, after the Colonial Treasurer, James Watson. However by this time the settlement was already known as Temora and, at the request of both the locals and Watson, it was officially changed. The name Temora seems to have resulted from an amusing misunderstanding. When asked how he came to name his property 'Temora', John Donald McCansh, the property owner, explained: “I took up the country for a sheep run in 1847, my sole companion being Valentine Lawler, who was then lessee of a station (“Nimbi”) on Cunningham Creek. We could not ascertain the native name of the place as there were no blacks about, and rather than give it an English name, I called it ‘Temora’, the native name of a property near which I lived some years previously in another part of the Colony. I gave the station the name specially because it was Aboriginal and I liked it. I did not know at that time, nor for years afterwards, that Temora was a name in Ossian’s poems.” It was actually the title of one of Ossian's poems. So the town was named after a word that has never been identified as part of any Aboriginal language. Rather it was probably, albeit accidentally, named after a Celtic word meaning "an outcrop with a fine view".


Things to See and Do

The Temora Aviation Museum
The Temora Aviation Museum, which is clearly signposted from the centre of town, was created and financed by David Lowy, son of Frank Lowy of Westfied shopping centres fame in the late 1990s. Lowy's aim was to create "an aviation museum dedicated to aircraft and pilots who had defended Australia." Temora was ideal. It was rich in aviation history, had a co-operative local council, flat terrain and uncontrolled air space below 20,000 feet. The Museum was incorporated in late 1999. The first hangar was completed in February 2000 and Lowy donated the initial aircraft for the collection. The Museum was opened for public viewing in June 2000 and construction commenced on the exhibition buildings which contain display spaces, a theatrette, gift shop, a children's playground and picnic area. These were completed and opened to the public in August 2001. In November 2002 a 1,980 square metre display hangar was completed. It now houses all the aircraft. The aircraft are kept in working condition and taken out for Air Shows. There are usually two shows a month. The aeroplanes include a Supermarine Spitfire Mk VIII and Mk XVI, a Gloster Meteor F.8, an English Electric Canberra TT.18, a DH-115 Vampire T35, two Cessna A37B Dragonflys, a Cessna O-2A, a CA-16 Wirraway, a CA-13 Boomerang, a Lockheed Hudson, an RAAF CA-27 Sabre, a Ryan STM S2, a DH-82A Tiger Moth and a Cessna 0-1G Bird Dog.The museum is located at Temora Aerodrome which was the base, in World War II, of the largest RAAF Elementary Flying Training School, which trained 2,741 pilots between May 1941 and May 1945. The exhibits in the museum include Unsung Heroes, The History of the Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation, The Magic of Flight, The RAAF in Korea and CAC Sabre. There is also a tribute to No. 10 Elementary Flying Training School, Martin Baker Ejection Seats and the Womens Australian Auxilliary Air Force. For more information check out http://www.aviationmuseum.com.au.

Temora Air Shows
Between six and eight times a year the Temora Aviation Museum celebrates with a flying weekend, when many of its military aircraft are put through their paces. The appeal of the Temora Aviation Museum and its flying days doesn’t lie in any specific aircraft or individual. You don’t even have to be interested in aircraft to enjoy the experience. The entertainment is superbly organised and designed to appeal to everyone from experts to novices. Everyone gets a great view and the program of demonstration flights is accompanied by an excellent commentary and interviews with the pilots. Flying Display Days have particular themes (WWII Pacific Theatre, Vietnam, Warbirds Downunder etc). Warbirds Downunder, often seen as a highlight (check out http://www.aviationmuseum.com.au/vistor_information/flying_dates/index.html), involves a lesson in Australia’s military aviation history since World War II, starting with the Dh-82A Tiger Moth from the 1940s, through a number of classic Australian aeroplanes including the CA-16 Wirraway and CA-13 Boomerang and ending with a spectacular display from the Vietnam War era which combines a low- and slow-flying small Cessna 0-2A and some spectacular aerial displays and a dramatic victory roll from a Cessna A37B Dragonfly. The highlight will always be the flight of one or both of the museum’s World War II-era Spitfires - and you don’t need to be an aircraft enthusiast to appreciate them. The design beauty of this small plane and the distinctive roar of its Rolls-Royce Merlin engine conjure images of the Battle of Britain and the tragic loss of life of the young men who flew Spitfires into battle. The museum holds the only two flying Spitfires in Australia. The Spitfire Mk VIII was purchased by David Lowy in 2000 and donated to the museum in 2002. The Supermarine Spitfire Mk XVI, which flew 12 sorties over Germany and was subsequently used in the films Reach for the Sky and Battle of Britain, was bought by the museum in 2006. At the end of a flying day the barriers are taken down and spectators can walk out onto the tarmac in front of the viewing area and talk to the pilots and inspect the planes which are lined up for public inspection. The gates open at 10.00 am; the show runs from 11.00 am to 4.00 pm. There is tiered seating but many people prefer to bring their own portable chairs. Everyone has a good view of the planes.

Rural Museum
The Rural Museum is located at 29 Junee Road in a large, landscaped area which also includes the local Visitor Information Centre. The museum has been growing steadily and now combines a number of impressive exhibitions. The agricultural collection brings together an impressive array of restored and working tractors, stationary engines and agricultural machinery. The museum's unusual Ambulance Museum is a combined effort by Ambulance organisations in New South Wales and the ACT and features vehicles and equipment from the past 120 years.The museum’s collection of rocks and minerals is a gift from Athol Stean who spent his life accumulating the impressive collection; the fire brigade exhibition starts with a working 1923 Garford fire engine and includes historic displays of equipment and fire fighting technology; there is a special Aboriginal section for the Wiradjuri people; and, in the grounds around the museum, there are a collection of buildings including a hardwood slab cottage that was Sir Donald Bradman’s first home, a worker’s cottage restored to reflect life in the 1920s, a one-room public school, bush church, public hall, printing works and a flour mill. The town's gold mining past is recalled by the Pirate King mine’s five-head ore crusher and a replica of the huge “Mother Shipton Nugget”. Perhaps most impressive, for those who remember, is the memorabilia of the famous boxing promoter and showman, Jimmy Sharman. The museum is open from 9.30 pm to 5.00 pm daily. Check out http://www.temoraruralmuseum.com or tel: (02) 6977 1086 for more detailed information.

Railway Museum
Located at Camp Street, the Temora Railway Museum was officially opened in 2016 having been classified on the State Heritage Register in 1999. The buildings, which date from 1893, when the railway from Cootamundra reached the town, were refurbished and repainted and are open to the public by appointment. There is a Railyard Walk with signage which explains the history of the railyards and volunteers, many of whom worked on the railway, take visitors to the signal box, station master's room and the refreshment room. Exhibits include old tickets, photographs, station master's uniforms and, a particular highlight, the story of Boofhead (No.8 on the Railyard Trail), a black and white fox terrier (he is depicted in a statue at the museum), known as the Temora Railway Dog who, in the 1960s, rode the trains as far as Goulburn and Lake Cargelligo. The story on the signage is that “Around the middle of 1959, a long legged black and white terrier turned up on the platform of Temora Railway Station. This dog was very smart and spirited and was soon given the name of Boofhead. Although it is unclear how the name came about, or indeed who actually gave it to him, Boofhead had a likeable personality and it didn’t take long for railway workers and the people of Temora to develop a strong affection for him. There is a school of thought that Boofhead may have arrived in Temora by train from Weethalle, a small village on the Rankin Springs line. It was soon clear that he had a real passion for train travel and quickly became known as Temora’s railway dog.” The ABC has an excellent, detailed story of the dog and his adventures. Check out https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-03-19/boofhead-riverina-rambling-red-dog/9562094.

Historic Buildings in the Centre of Town
The central area of Temora has a number of significant Federation and Edwardian buildings. The Italianate stucco design of the Westpac Bank, at the corner of Loftus and Hoskins Streets, was completed in 1907. It was previously the Bank of New South Wales and replaced a wooden building constructed in the 1880s at the beginning of the local goldrush. On the other corner is Paleface Park with the statue of Paleface Adios. Diagonally opposite is the ANZ Bank (originally the Union Bank), the first of a group of Edwardian buildings on the eastern side of Hoskins Street and adjacent is the Post Office (1901). Further along Hoskins Street is the three-storey Royal Hotel (c.1915). Cross over Victoria Street and there is the Westminster Hotel (1882) which is reputedly the earliest brick hotel in town (1882). A little further south is the Shamrock Hotel. The original was a wooden structure built in 1882. The present building, with its iron lacework balcony dates from early years of the 20th century. In Victoria Street are 'Terang' and 'Mortlake', two semi-detached houses from the turn of the century with large bay windows, plaster detailing, coloured glass and cast-iron valance panels and brackets.

The Statue to Paleface Adios
Located in Paleface Park on the corner of Hoskins and Loftus Streets is the statue commemorating the harness race horse, Paleface Adios (aka The Temora Tornado), born 1969, died 1980, who won 108 races and helped make Temora and the surrounding district a centre for Australian Harness Horse Racing.

The Richness of De Boos Street
De Boos Street has one of the most impressive concentrations of churches to be found anywhere in rural Australia. On the corner of De Boos Street and Loftus Street is St Paul's Anglican Church (1906). Over the road is the decorative facade of the Temora Council Chambers with its stucco plaster work and on the opposite corner is the remarkable Most Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic Church (1906-07) with its ornate stained-glass windows and carved wooden altar. The complex includes St Joseph's Hall, built of Flemish bonded brick in 1913. The attractive two-storey building next door is St Mary's Presbytery. Note the fence design of the Catholic group. Beyond Most Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic Church in De Boos Street are St Brigid's Convent and St Anne's School. Also in De Boos Street are the local Court House (just up from St Paul's) and St Andrew's Presbyterian Church (1933) which is opposite Sacred Heart. St Andrew's church hall, which is between the Council building and the church, was originally the town's first St Andrew's Church (1882). The street is worth a leisurely stroll as many of the houses date from the late 19th century. It is broad, elegant and tree-lined. A reminder of the wealth of Temora in its goldrush heyday.


Other Attractions in the Area

Canola Trail
The Canola Trail is a shared initiative between the shires of Coolamon, Junee and Temora and is designed to offer a circular route between the three towns which highlights their local produce; their unique railway history; and the natural attractions of the area. There is a useful, and downloadable, map at http://www.temora.com.au/f.ashx/thingstoseeanddo/InsidetheRiverina/Canola-Trail-Tourist-Map-WEB.pdf which includes suggested itineraries on the 151 km journey around the three towns. The journey can be spread across one, two or three days.

Lake Centenary
Lake Centenary, which is located 4 km north of the town, is a 22 ha artificial aquatic waterway with three small islands and landscaped recreational foreshores which is ideal for power boating, water skiing, sailing, canoeing and swimming. It also has a fun jet boat circuit. It can be accessed by a 4 km walking or cycling track from town for those seeking healthy exercise.

Nature Reserves - Ingalba, Pucawan and Big Bush
There are a number of nature reserves in the area which are popular with birdwatchers and bushwalkers. These include Ingalba Nature Reserve, located 10 kilometres west of Temora, and Pucawan Nature Reserve, a further 6 km west. Big Bush Nature Reserve is 15 kilometres north west of the town. These are important survivors of native bushland and contain several regionally significant plant species. They provide a safe, sustainable habitat for a number of threatened animal species. One of the best, Ingalba Nature Reserve, is easily accessible as it is located on the Burley Griffin Way. Covering 3450 ha it is a quiet and secluded area of open dry sclerophyll forest and woodland which has a range of native flora and fauna, including the mallee fowl.



* Prior to the occupation of the district by Europeans the area had been inhabited by Wiradjuri Aborigines for at least 20,000 years.

* The 'Temora' pastoral run was established in 1847 by John Donald McCansh.

* In July 1862 three policemen, searching for bushrangers who had robbed a gold escort, came across 'Flash' Johnny Gilbert, his brother Charles and Henry Manns. Charles and Henry were arrested at gunpoint and some of the stolen gold was recovered. John Gilbert escaped and rode 112 km to the Weddin Mountains for support and a gang, including the notorious Frank Gardiner, rode through the night and by dawn had caught up with the police party and their prisoners at Sprowle's station, east of present-day Temora. The police were outnumbered and they retreated, surrendering their prisoners but not the recaptured gold.

* Gold was first found in the Temora area in 1869.

* The main Temora goldrush commenced in 1879.

* In 1880 a town site was chosen, laid out and proclaimed.

* By 1881 the goldfield at Temora was producing half the state's gold.

* In the early 1880s a huge 7.3-kg nugget was found at the Mother Shipton mine.

* The town's population reached 20,000, mostly miners, in the early 1880s. They extracted a total of 4,000 kg from the district.

* The railway arrived in 1893 from Cootamundra, making Temora the wheat terminal that it remains to this day. The railway station was built that year.

* By the early 1900s German farmers who had trekked across from South Australia were settling in the surrounding area.

* Cattle saleyards and a butter factory were opened in 1912.

* Temora Aerodrome was established in 1941 as a training school for the RAAF.

* In 1946 the Empire Air Training Scheme, which had seen over 2,400 pilots trained in Temora on 97 de Havilland Tiger Moth aircraft, was finally closed down.

* In 1969 Paleface Adios, one of the greatest harness-racing horses ever bred in Australia, was born.

* In 1975, a local priest named Father Gregory Hannan was killed in a hang-gliding accident when only 8 km short of the world endurance record for a towed glider (165 km). A park in town has been named in his honour.

* From 1986-1996 the Paragon Gold Mine, the state's largest open-cut gold mine, was operating to the north of town.

* The Temora Aviation Museum was opened in 2000.

* In 2016 the railway station was revitalised and opened as a museum


Visitor Information

Temora Visitor Information Centre, 29 Junee Road, tel: (02) 6977 1086.


Useful Websites

The official town website is at http://www.temora.com.au/ and it is possible to download the local brochure at http://www.temora.com.au/f.ashx/Temora-Visitor-Guide-2015.pdf.

Got something to add?

Have we missed something or got a top tip for this town? Have your say below.

7 suggestions
  • First Gallery photo is not one of the Museum’s two Spitfires, but a visiting Curtiss P-40 Kittyhawk in a similar colour scheme to the Mk8. The grey aircraft behind it is a T-28D Trojan, also a regular visitor owned by one of the Museum’s display pilots.
    Thanks for that. It is now corrected.

    Mike Cleaver
  • You could add interest to these stories by including one or two stories of the carving up of stations like ‘Mimosa ‘ stations. Returning former residents are always interested in such stories.

    John E Reid eldest son of Len
  • I am an aircraft buff from way back. Always stayed at Aero Caravan Park … where we always loved the fly-ins. Your town is a great place too. My query is: Is there a model aircraft club in Temora. We are from Victor Harbor in South Australia.

    Jon Matthias .
    • Looking for an article written about Dominic (Dominicko) Sonsee. He’s an ancestor of mine whom died in Temora. He was a “dwarf” – not that this is politically correct to say these days – and was traveling with a show. Is there any articles or history about him in Temora? Circa mid to late 1800’s.

      Rebekah Mitchell-Matthews
  • To the lovely couple and their daughter who we met at the mineral pool. They have the motor and hobby shop with a dog named Dudie Very nice to be welcomed and have a nice chat. Should be more people like this in the world

    Sheryl. From Benalla Vic
  • My father Arnold Whyte trained in Temora for the 2nd world war. He didn’t have to join up because he was a miner in Mount Isa. Mum said he wasn’t the same when he came home, like a lot of men. I am 84 years old and suddenly thought about Temora so googled it .

    Frances Philp
  • My father Arnold Whyte trained in Temora for the 2nd world war . He didn’t have to join up because he was a miner in Mount Isa . Mum said he wasn’t the same when he came home, like a lot of men. I am 84 years old , and suddenly thought about Temora so googled it .

    Frances Philp