Bombala, New South Wales

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New South Wales
Bombala, looking towards the town centre. The footbridge passes over the Bombala railway line. The right most building is the station building, the centre building the goods shed and above that is the bridge over the Bombala River.
Bombala is located in New South Wales
Coordinates36°55′0″S 149°14′0″E / 36.91667°S 149.23333°E / -36.91667; 149.23333Coordinates: 36°55′0″S 149°14′0″E / 36.91667°S 149.23333°E / -36.91667; 149.23333
Population1,387 (2016 census)[1]
Elevation705 m (2,313 ft)[2]
  • 485 km (301 mi) S of Sydney
  • 202 km (126 mi) S of Canberra
  • 87 km (54 mi) S of Cooma
  • 77 km (48 mi) WSW of Bega
LGA(s)Snowy Monaro Regional Council
State electorate(s)Monaro
Federal division(s)Eden-Monaro
Mean max temp Mean min temp Annual rainfall
18.4 °C
65 °F
4.8 °C
41 °F
644.1 mm
25.4 in

Bombala is a town in the Monaro region of south-eastern New South Wales, Australia, in Snowy Monaro Regional Council. It is approximately 485 kilometres (301 mi) south of the state capital, Sydney, and 80 kilometres (50 mi) south of the town of Cooma. The name derives from an Aboriginal word meaning "Meeting of the waters".[3] The town lies on the banks of the Bombala River. At the 2016 census, Bombala had a population of 1,387.[1]


The Bombala area was inhabited by the Ngarigu Aboriginal people prior to the first European settlers arriving in the 1830s. Captain Ronald Campbell established a large property in 1833 that he named 'Bombalo'. More European settlers arrived in the Bombala area in the 1840s during which time the small township developed. Bombala had a post office by 1849 and had a number of large commercial and public buildings by the mid 1850s.[4]

Bombala was proposed in 1903 by King O'Malley as the site of the parliamentary seat of Australia. It was considered as a location because it was halfway between the two cities of Sydney and Melbourne. The proposal was ultimately rejected in favour of Canberra. The site proposed for the capital city was a little to the west of the town of Bombala, on the right bank of the Bombala River. The town of Bombala would have been a part of a new federal territory.[5][6][7][8]

The town lies on the banks of the Bombala River and principal industries of the area include grazing and timber. Tourism is also growing in importance to the local economy. There is also a small amount of specialty producers with meat rabbits, lavender and many herbs being grown in the district. Delegate is situated 36 km west of Bombala and The Snowy River March which commenced from Delegate in 1916 went via Bombala to Goulburn.

The timber industry has slowly begun to overtake many of the historic properties surrounding Bombala, such as the more-than-150-year-old property of Aston, 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) south-west of the township.

The area is known for possibly the largest population of Platypus in New South Wales and is promoted as Platypus Country.

The Holy Transfiguration Monastery is a male monastic community of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad. Founded in 1982, the monastic community presided over by Abbott Hieromonk Sergius, abides in the pristine and rugged valley of the MacLaughlin River situated between Cooma and Bombala.[9]

The Facebook page "Bombala History in Photos" contains a wealth of information about the town's history.[10]

On January 15, 2022, a tornado touched down in the vicinity of the town.[11]

Heritage listings[edit]

Bombala has a number of heritage-listed sites, including:


In the 2016 Census, there were 1,387 people in Bombala. 85.1% of people were born in Australia and 89.9% of people spoke only English at home. The most common responses for religion were Anglican 34.6%, Catholic 23.8% and No Religion 20.3%.[1]

Geography and climate[edit]

Typical Bombala street full of back-parked cars

Situated at 705 metres above sea level on the eastern edge of the Monaro Tablelands, Bombala is known for its cold winters with frequent frost and occasional snow—however due to its downwind position on the Great Dividing Range, winters are relatively warm and dry for its latitude and snowfall insignificant. A few kilometres to the east, the land slopes downwards to the South Coast, a flat coastal plain where summers are warmer and winter temperatures much milder. Examples are towns such as Bega and Merimbula, both about 80 kilometres east of Bombala. According to Köppen climate classification scheme, Bombala has an oceanic climate (Cfb).

Most rain in the area falls as either thunderstorms in summer, or with cold fronts in winter. Extreme temperatures have ranged from 40.7 °C (105.6 °F) to −10.0 °C (14.0 °F).

Climate data for Bombala (Therry Street, 1912–2022, rainfall to 1885); 705 m AMSL; 36.91° S, 149.24° E
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 40.0
Average high °C (°F) 25.5
Average low °C (°F) 10.3
Record low °C (°F) 0.4
Average precipitation mm (inches) 63.2
Average rainy days (≥ 0.2mm) 8.0 7.6 8.2 8.0 9.1 10.2 9.3 9.9 10.2 10.2 9.7 9.0 109.4
Source: Bureau of Meteorology[14]


Bombala Railway Station

The railway reached Bombala in 1921 and closed in 1986.[15] being an extension of the line from Queanbeyan to Cooma. The line was and still is known as the Goulburn to Bombala line. During the 1970s, service was provided by a small rail bus, taking 4 hours to cover the 100 kilometres (62 mi) between Cooma and Bombala.

The Monaro Highway (now route B23) which runs from Canberra to Cann River (Victoria) passes through Bombala. Other major roads include Mt Darragh Rd which connects to Pambula and Merimbula on the NSW South Coast.

The nearest airport with regular air services is at Merimbula, 85 kilometres (53 mi) to the east.

Notable residents[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Australian Bureau of Statistics (27 June 2017). "Bombala (State Suburb)". 2016 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 6 July 2017. Edit this at Wikidata
  2. ^ "Climate statistics for Australian locations - Bombala (Therry Street)". Bureau of Meteorology. Retrieved 5 April 2013.
  3. ^ "Bombala". Geographical Names Register (GNR) of NSW. Geographical Names Board of New South Wales. Retrieved 20 June 2009. Edit this at Wikidata
  4. ^ "Bombala". Archived from the original on 6 March 2017. Retrieved 20 August 2016.
  5. ^ "FEDERAL CAPITAL: PROPOSED SITES, 1904. - SOUTHERN MONARO DISTRICT. SECOND REPORT (WITH PLANS), BY C. R. SCRIVENER, SURVEYOR". Trove. Retrieved 19 September 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  6. ^ "Sketch map showing proposed Federal Territory and capital site at Bombala [cartographic material] : Parishes of Bombala, Gecar, Ashton, Maharatta, Mila, Hayden, Gulgin, Delegete, Pickering, Burnima and Burrimbucco, County of Wellesley, New South Wales 1900". Trove. Retrieved 19 September 2021.
  7. ^ "General plan of country surrounding suggested Federal Capital site in the locality of Bombala, N.S.W. No. 12 [cartographic material] : shewing approximately city site, proposed water supply, railways, &c". Trove. Retrieved 19 September 2021.
  8. ^ "Southern Monaro or Bombala-Eden Territory". Trove. Retrieved 19 September 2021.
  9. ^ "Home - Holy Transfiguration Monastery". Archived from the original on 28 April 2015. Retrieved 2 May 2015.
  10. ^ "Facebook: Bombala History in Photos". Facebook.
  11. ^ @SevereWeatherAU (15 January 2022). "MUST WATCH! See the time-lapse video of the Bombala NSW tornado that was captured yesterday afternoon. Via our Part…" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  12. ^ "Bombala Railway Station and yard group". New South Wales State Heritage Register. Department of Planning and Environment. H01091. Retrieved 18 May 2018. CC BY icon.svg Text is licensed by State of New South Wales (Department of Planning and Environment) under CC-BY 4.0 licence.
  13. ^ "Crankies Plain Bridge". New South Wales State Heritage Register. Department of Planning and Environment. H01466. Retrieved 18 May 2018. CC BY icon.svg Text is licensed by State of New South Wales (Department of Planning and Environment) under CC-BY 4.0 licence.
  14. ^ "BOMBALA (THERRY STREET)". Climate statistics for Australian locations. Bureau of Meteorology. April 2013. Retrieved 23 April 2013.
  15. ^ "". Rolfe Bozier, Retrieved 7 October 2009.
  16. ^ Souter, Gavin. Whyte, William Farmer (1877-1958). Australian Dictionary of Biography. National Centre of Biography, Australian National University.
  17. ^ Burke, Keast. Kerry, Charles Henry (1857-1928). Australian Dictionary of Biography. National Centre of Biography, Australian National University.
  18. ^ Carron, L. T. de Beuzeville, Wilfred Alexander (1884-1954). Australian Dictionary of Biography. National Centre of Biography, Australian National University.

External links[edit]

Media related to Bombala, New South Wales at Wikimedia Commons