Berrigan, New South Wales
New South Wales
Chanter Street, Berrigan, looking west; the main street of Berrigan contains a mix of Federation and more-modern architectural styles.
|Population||1,260 (2016 census)|
|Elevation||119 m (390 ft)|
Berrigan // is a town on the Riverina Highway in the Riverina region of New South Wales, Australia. Berrigan is in the Berrigan Shire local government area and contains the Berrigan Shire Council offices. At the 2016 census, Berrigan had a population of 1,260.
The earliest association with settlement in the area comes in 1849 through the agency of Momalong Station, where Robert Rand had settled some 22.5 thousand acres.
The location of the town was formerly swamp land. The unfavourable location was chosen as the mail run from Corowa to Murray Hut ran through Berrigan on much the same location as the present Riverina Highway, and the road from Jerilderie lies on the same route now as it did back then. The Berrigan Post Office opened on 11 May 1884.
In 1888, the first hotel - Berrigan Hotel - was built on the intersection of the two main roads through to town, with other stores rapidly following along Chanter Street. This hotel still stands today, although it is now a private residence. Other hotels include the Momalong Hotel, also now a private residence, and the Federal Hotel and Royal Hotel, both still active.
Berrigan was officially proclaimed on 31 May 1890, and this only increased the establishment of the commercial section of the town, as well as the residential. The population in 1891 had reached 254, which more than doubled by Federation.
The first issue of the Berrigan Advocate was published on Friday, 23 October 1891. The paper eventually merged with the Finley Mail and Tocumwal Guardian & Riverina Stock Journal, becoming the Southern Riverina News in 1970.
Involvement In Federation
Because of its location near the border with Victoria, Berrigan was one of the pioneers in the push for an Australian Federation. It was at the suggestion of the Berrigan Australian Natives' Association that the first meeting of the Federation League was held. Due to its centrality, the meeting was held in Corowa.
Berrigan historian Ian Fuzzard wrote the following in his 1965 book, Berrigan: Today & Yesterday:
Berrigan also had the singular distinction of playing a leading role in the creation of Federation. Very little credit was given to this town for the important lead they gave and many other bigger centres endeavoured to steal the limelight and glorification that subsequently followed in the wake of successful moved for the federation of the colonies. Three big conferences were held to discuss the aspects of implementation of Federation, these being held at Corowa, Bathurst and Adelaide. It is with the initial meeting held at Corowa in 1894 that Berrigan played such an outstanding role, as it was at the instigation and representations of the local federation league that the Corowa conference was held. Realising such an important gathering was a foregone conclusion, Albury endeavoured to see the venue and Corowa was ready to chicken out and allow its larger neighbour to take over. However, the Berrigan league stood firm on its principle that the meeting was to be held at Corowa and on their insistence Corowa was later to reap the glory of posterity.
Ironically the curtain was rung down on this incident without Berrigan even gaining the recognition of its efforts that were so fully deserved. A large banquet was held at Corowa on December 7th, 1900, to honour Dr Quirk and Edmund Barton (both of whom were later knighted) for the part these gentlemen played in the securing of Federation. The Advocate, reporting on the function had these cryptic remarks to say: “On a very oppressive summer night in a crowded hall, clouded with dust and smoke, guests were subjected to four solid hours of speech making in which the greatest disappointment being Edmund Barton.” The most notable omission from these lengthy speeches was any reference to the Berrigan Federation League in the part they played in the promotion of the original conference which the two honoured gents played such important parts. The only person associated with Berrigan who was invited to the banquet, was Douglas Drummond, who was a leading member of the Berrigan League, but who had at the time of the banquet, left Berrigan to reside in Lockhart. However, Berrigan at least had on ally in Corowa as the next issue of the Free Press carried a letter from a reader signing himself “Nut Cracker” in which he stoutly points out the manner in which Berrigan gains the conference for Corowa and how the locals almost allowed it to slip away.
Berrigan has both a state and Catholic primary school. The nearest high school is in Finley, 22 kilometres (14 mi) to the west. Oaklands has a Central School, that is a part of the Riverina Access Partnership.
Popular sports in Berrigan include Australian rules football (the town has a team competing in the Picola & District Football League), netball, golf, bowls, and tennis. Horse racing is also popular, with the Berrigan Gold Cup — held on the same day as the Victoria Derby — attracting a large crowd.
Held annual on the Sunday of the October long week is the Berrigan Agricultural Show, which has been in existence for over 120 years. The annual Show & Shine is held in January. A major event previously held in the town was the annual Canola Festival, celebrating the importance of canola to the region. Although this event has since ceased, canola is still an important part of the landscape.
It is also close to the Murray River communities of Barooga and Tocumwal. Located between Berrigan and Barooga is 'The Drop', which is Australia's first hydroelectric power station on an irrigation canal, the Mulwala Canal. The power station had a generating capacity of 2.5 MW of electricity.
Once a thriving town with four pubs and the golf club, it has since been reduced to two pubs and the club.
The aging population is well catered for in such a small town, with world class hospice and respite facilities provided. While the town thrives on the farming income generated in the district, it is a very modern, and family-friendly town. In 2013, an Alzheimer's wing was opened, catering to the numerous residents suffering from the disease.
- The Berrigan Bushdrovers - country and ballads band
- Bert Honeychurch - racehorse trainer
- Australian Bureau of Statistics (27 June 2017). "Berrigan (State Suburb)". 2016 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 4 May 2018.
- Travelmate Archived March 25, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
- Macquarie Dictionary, Fourth Edition (2005). Melbourne, The Macquarie Library Pty Ltd. ISBN 1-876429-14-3
- Fuzzard, Ian (1965). Berrigan: Today & Yesterday.
- Premier Postal History, Post Office List, retrieved 11 April 2008
- Southern Riverina News, retrieved 16 July 2018
- Australian Parliament House website - Senate publications Archived September 3, 2006, at the Wayback Machine. Brian de Garis How Popular was the Popular Federation Movement
Media related to Berrigan, New South Wales at Wikimedia Commons