Berrigan, New South Wales: Travel guide and things to do

Located 690 km south-west of Sydney via the Hume and Riverina highways and 119 m above sea level, Berrigan is a traditional small country town with a population around 1000 residents.

The first whites in the vicinity were small farmers who settled in the 1870s on land subdivided from the larger 'Barooga' and 'Boomanooma' stations which stretched from the Murray River up to the area of the present township (see Barooga). Wool and wheat were early staples.

The township grew up around the Berrigan Hotel, which opened in 1888 and is now a private residence and is closed to the public. A commercial and service centre for the local farmers the village was proclaimed in 1890. The railway arrived in 1896. Like many small towns, the railway no longer exists. Although not the largest population centre it was declared the principal town of the newly declared shire in 1906, which took the town's name. Berrigan shire also incorporates Tocumwal, Barooga and Finley.

The population peaked in 1911 with over 1000 people but numbers fell in the depression. They climbed back in the postwar years due, in part, to the construction of the Berriquin Irrigation Scheme which ended the ever-present uncertainty fostered by the prospect of drought and the reliance upon canals and bores. Mulwala Canal was dug between 1935 and 1942 from Lake Mulwala to Berrigan Shire. This led to the development of cattle, sheep and cereal production (rice, wheat, sorghum, oats, legumes and high-quality malting barley), pigs, dairying, citrus fruit, tomatoes, potatoes and grapes.

The town has a strong interest in horse training and horseracing, manifest at Kilfenora Racing Stables and Berrigan Racecourse, particularly with the carnival atmosphere that prevails when the Berrigan Gold Cup is run. The town has a golf course and the annual district show is held early in October.

About halfway along the road from Berrigan to Barooga is 'The Drop', where the Mulwala Canal crosses the road. There is a parking area to the right. This is part of a large water-flow control system which allows water to divert from Mulwala Canal into Berrigan Channel and is worth a look.

Things to see

Historic Buildings
Berrigan has a number of more substantial old buildings. It is best to just go for a wander around town, though some highlights are the brick post office (cnr Carter and Jerilderie Sts) and, in Chanter St, the Federal Hotel with its Dutch gables and, across the road, the arches and gables of Memorial Hall. The lead window at St Aidan's Anglican Church commemorates the European pioneers.

The Murray pine, and the grey and yellow box trees of the surrounds are a reminder of the dense growths which existed before clearance.

Sojourn Station Art Studio
The Sojourn Station Art Studio is owned by resident artist Jan Barnett.

The Drop
About halfway along the road from Berrigan to Barooga is 'The Drop', where the Mulwala Canal crosses the road. There is a parking area to the right. This is part of a large water-flow control system which allows water to divert from Mulwala Canal into Berrigan Channel and is worth a look.

For tourist information visit the Destination NSW website.

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