Ivanhoe, New South Wales

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For other uses, see Ivanhoe (disambiguation).
New South Wales
Cobb Highway in Ivanhoe.jpg
Cobb Highway in Ivanhoe
Ivanhoe is located in New South Wales
Coordinates 32°54′59″S 144°17′58″E / 32.91639°S 144.29944°E / -32.91639; 144.29944Coordinates: 32°54′59″S 144°17′58″E / 32.91639°S 144.29944°E / -32.91639; 144.29944
Population 200 (2011 census)[1]
Postcode(s) 2878
Elevation 90.0 m (295 ft)
LGA(s) Central Darling Shire
State electorate(s) Murray-Darling
Federal Division(s) Parkes

Ivanhoe is a very small township on the Cobb Highway between the Lachlan and Darling rivers in New South Wales, Australia.  It is located within the Central Darling Shire local government area.  Ivanhoe functions as a service centre for the surrounding area.  The township is characterised by a particularly wide main street. At the 2011 census, Ivanhoe had a population of 200 people.[1]

The town was founded in the early 1870s, and was named after Sir Walter Scott's work of historical fiction, Ivanhoe.  The township was situated on well-used coach and stock routes connecting Wilcannia on the Darling River with Balranald on the Murrumbidgee and Booligal on the Lachlan.


Post Office at Ivanhoe (2011)

In 1869 George Brown Williamson, the postmaster and a storekeeper at Booligal, purchased 40 acres (160,000 m2) from the "Waiko" pastoral run at the site which was to become the township of Ivanhoe.  Williamson selected the location as a business opportunity, being the junction of two roads from Booligal and Balranald leading to Wilcannia on the Darling River.  Williamson began operating a branch store at the location under the charge of his employee Charles Hiller.  George Williamson was a native of Morayshire in Scotland, and is believed to have chosen the name ‘Ivanhoe’.  Initially the nearest water supply to Ivanhoe was at Kilfera Lake, 25 kilometres away, from which drinking water had to be carted by dray.[2]

A hotel was built at Ivanhoe in 1871 (the Ivanhoe Hotel); the licensee was James Eade, who remained publican until 1875 (apart from during 1873 when Joshua Smith held the license).  A post office opened at Ivanhoe on 1 January 1874 at Williamson's store (renamed ‘The Post Office Store’), with Charles Hiller in charge (though Williamson was the designated Postmaster).  On 1 February 1876, after a ten-year stint at Booligal, George Williamson moved to Ivanhoe.  In 1876 two new hotels opened at Ivanhoe: the Horse and Jockey (licensee, Duncan McGregor) and Mac's Ivanhoe Hotel (licensee, Henry Gayson).  The licensee of the Ivanhoe Hotel in 1876 was Roberick MacKenzie.  In 1879 a police presence was maintained at Ivanhoe to protect local residents from the Hatfield Bushrangers.[3]

The Ivanhoe Hotel ceased operating from 1882, leaving two hotels in the township.  During 1882 work commenced on the erection of a telegraph line from Booligal to Wilcannia.  A telegraph station was opened at Ivanhoe on 5 February 1883[4] under the charge of Alfred Webber Rice, who had been promoted from his position at Campbelltown.  The township was described in 1883 as having about 50 residents, a blacksmith's shop, two hotels, two stores (Williamson's and Stewart's), and "a few cottages".  By 1884 Ivanhoe was a major change-station for Cobb & Co.'s horses on the coach routes to and from the Darling River.  In 1884 businesses in the township included the Cobb & Co. Chaff House and Millie's Stable and Yards (Henry Thomas Millie was the licensee of Mac's Ivanhoe Hotel at that time).  The mounted police were established at Ivanhoe in 1885.  The Ivanhoe Jockey Club held its first race meeting in May 1885.  From 1887 race meetings were held twice a year (until the late 1930s) on a course which formed part of the town common.  In 1889 a school opened in the township.[5] The summer heat was a significant problem for the school. Refrigerating paint and a veranda were used to ward off the sun but the school was closed during the extended drought of 1904 to 1907.[6]

Ivanhoe was officially proclaimed a township in 1890.  A new Post Office building was constructed, which opened in January 1898.  The Ivanhoe Post Office building, though it has been renovated in recent years, still stands adjacent to its original site.[5]

The founder of Ivanhoe, George Williamson, died in 1907.[7]

In 1925 Ivanhoe was linked by railway to Sydney via Parkes.  Two years later the extension to Broken Hill was completed.  The line through Ivanhoe later became part of the transcontinental Indian Pacific railway connecting Sydney to Perth.[5]

Ivanhoe Heritage Trail[edit]

The Ivanhoe Heritage Trail provides a good introduction to the town and its history.  At separate sign-posted locations along the trail there are detailed descriptions of (1) the arrival of the railway (2) the Government Tank (3) the Post Office (4) bushrangers (5) watering holes (6) industrial trouble (7) the Cobb Highway and (8) reminiscences.  With the exception of the railway station all sites are located within a block of the main street.  A pamphlet with details of the heritage trail is available from the post office and other retail outlets; a book with more detailed information is also available for purchase.[8]


Climate records have been kept for Ivanhoe since 1884.  Temperature extremes are quite marked over the full year: the average maximum temperature in January is 34.6 °C (94.3 °F) and the average minimum temperature in July is 3.5 °C (38.3 °F).  The highest temperature recorded at Ivanhoe was 48.5 °C (119.3 °F) on 15 February 2004; the lowest recorded was −6.2 °C (20.8 °F) on 21 July 1982.  The average annual rainfall is 308.0 millimetres (12.13 in).[9]

Climate data for Ivanhoe
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 48.0
Average high °C (°F) 34.9
Average low °C (°F) 18.1
Record low °C (°F) 8.0
Precipitation mm (inches) 30.0
Avg. precipitation days 3.3 3.1 3.3 3.2 4.9 5.9 5.9 5.7 4.8 4.8 3.6 3.6 52.1
 % humidity 25 28 31 38 49 55 53 44 35 30 26 25 37
Source: [9]

Ivanhoe Hospital[edit]

Ivanhoe Hospital caters to the general Ivanhoe population, as well as to outlying sheep and cattle stations. 

The Hospital is part of the New South Wales Greater Western Area Health Service and its staff consist of full-time registered nurses and professional Aboriginal Health Workers. There are holding beds for patients that require evacuation to Broken Hill Hospital, a 24 hour accident and emergency service, on-site radiography, and a state-of-the-art 4x4 ambulance. 

Additional medical support is provided twice a week by the Royal flying Doctors Service (RFDS) with specialisations including ophthalmology, dental, child health, endocrinology, dermatology, and physiotherapy.[10] 

The staff rosters are all day shifts from Monday to Friday, 8.30am – 5.00pm, with RNs rostered on call.  

In 2012 the Hospital was upgraded with a new emergency department which was built onto the existing structure. The total cost of the upgrade totalled $590,000. The upgrade includes a two-bay treatment and resuscitation area and a new ambulance bay which connects to the hospital.[11]

Ivanhoe Warakirri Centre[edit]

Ivanhoe Warakirri Centre is a minimum security correctional centre for male inmates, located at Ivanhoe.  The Centre has accommodation for 55 prisoners, the majority of whom are Aboriginal.  Inmates perform cleaning and maintenance tasks, as well as participating in community projects and the Mobile Outreach program.  Inmates also undertake education programs, including numeracy and literacy, and self-awareness and alcohol- and substance-abuse management programs.[12]


Ivanhoe railway station opened on 19 August 1925[13] and is located on the Broken Hill Railway Line. The station is now unattended but it is still served by NSW TrainLink and Great Southern Railway services. The Indian Pacific runs to Sydney on Sundays and Thursdays, and to Adelaide and Perth on Tuesdays and Fridays. NSW TrainLink's Broken Hill Outback Xplorer stops at the station on Mondays (heading to Broken Hill) and Tuesdays (heading to Sydney).

The main town is located approximately three kilometres north of the railway station and from the original opening of the line a separate suburb was constructed by the railways adjacent the station to service the railways needs. This locality was generally referred to as rail town. Workshops, worker houses, locomotive depots, track maintenance depot, crew barracks, fuelling point and the station were all located in rail town. Rail town has now largely been taken over by the Correctional Centre Complex.

Ivanhoe remains a train crossing location where two trains can meet and pass one another on a 1,850 metre long section of double railway track, 816 rail kilometres from Sydney. Ivanhoe train crossing loop is between the adjacent crossing locations of Trida (65 km to the east) and Darnick (64 km to the west).


Ivanhoe has a police station staffed by two officers.

Road routes[edit]

Ivanhoe is located on the Cobb Highway, National Route 75, which runs generally north/south between Moama and Wilcannia. Ivanhoe is 182 km from Wilcannia to the north and 210 km south to Hay. There is a local road route from Ivanhoe to Menindee, 205 km in length, this road is a gravel dry weather only road.


  1. ^ a b Australian Bureau of Statistics (31 October 2012). "Ivanhoe (L) (Urban Centre/Locality)". 2011 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 30 September 2014. 
  2. ^ Glover, H. M. (Noni), A Town called Ivanhoe: a History, 1989 (Riverine Grazier); Williamson may have initially just occupied the land at Ivanhoe and purchased it later – there is a record of George Williamson purchasing 40 acres (160,000 m2) at Ivanhoe at the Hay Land Office in November 1873 (Riverine Grazier, 19 November 1873, p. 2).
  3. ^ Glover, op. cit.; Lists of Publican licenses, New South Wales Government Gazettes; Riverine Grazier, 29 December 1875, p. 2.
  4. ^ "Government Gazette.". Evening News (Sydney). National Library of Australia. 12 April 1883. p. 4. Retrieved 9 February 2014. 
  5. ^ a b c Glover, op. cit.
  6. ^ J. J. Fletcher, John W. Willing, A brief history of public education in Ivanhoe, 1889-1989 
  7. ^ NSW Births, Deaths & Marriages.
  8. ^ ‘Ivanhoe’, Travel, Sydney Morning Herald, FairfaxDigital.
  9. ^ a b "Climate statistics for Ivanhoe". Bureau of Meteorology. Commonwealth of Australia. 4 September 2014. Retrieved 4 September 2014. 
  10. ^ "Ivanhoe Health Service Profile". University of Sydney. (accessed 6 March 2013). 
  11. ^ "Upgrade Complete at Ivanhoe Emergency Department". NSW Government. (accessed 6 March 2013). 
  12. ^ ‘Ivanhoe Warakirri Centre’ NSW Department of Corrective Services web-site (accessed 29 January 2007).
  13. ^ "Ivanhoe railway station". www.nswrail.net. Retrieved 2008-04-07. 

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