History of Condobolin
The Heart of NSW is the traditional land of the Wiradjuri people also known as the people of the three rivers. The Wiradjuri people have inhabited modern-day New South Wales, Australia for at least 40,000 years. At the time of European colonisation, there were an estimated 3,000 Wiradjuri living in the region, this country extends from the Great Dividing Range in the east, and is bordered by the Macquarie, Lachlan and Murrumbidgee rivers. The Wiradjuri nation is the largest in NSW and second largest geographically in Australia.
The Wiradjuri people were a hunter-gatherer society, made up of small clans or family groups whose movements followed seasonal food gathering and ritual patterns. Today, major Wiradjuri populations can be found in the New South Wales towns of Condobolin, Peak Hill, Narrandera and Griffith and throughout larger regional areas such as Bathurst, Dubbo, Orange, Lithgow, down to Wagga Wagga in the south.
Condobolin is the home of the Kalarie people, lower Lachlan region, and is considered by other Wiradjuri communities to be the heart beat of the Wiradjuri nation, rich in local history and heritage, art, music and dance. For more information visit the Wiradjuri Condobolin Corporation website
European settlement Early European explorers recorded their journeys passing through the Heart of NSW. In 1815 Surveyor George Evans who named the Lachlan River, was the first European to visit the area. Explorers John Oxley (in 1817) and Thomas Mitchell (in 1836) were the first recorded European presence in the region. Squatters soon arrived and by 1844 the ‘Condobolin’ run had been established. 20 years it was essentially a stopover and river-crossing for drovers moving stock from the north and west of New South Wales to Victoria, hence there were a few permanent residents in what remained a pastoral area characterised by large holdings. Since the early settlers the Condobolin district has become a prime cropping and sheep and beef producing area.
A major copper discovery was made north at Melrose in 1885 and the town benefited from the subsequent traffic. A municipality was declared in 1890. At the end of 1894, gold fever broke out at the Overflow Station, immortalised in Banjo Paterson’s poem ‘Clancy of the Overflow’ and with the discovery of gold, the experienced miners considered the new prospect well worth testing and a calico city soon sprung up. By 1895 some 4 shafts had been sunk.
In 1896 W.H.J. Slee, the Chief Inspector of Mines, marked out a street plan on a good eligible site and named it ‘Bobadah’. The railway arrived in 1898 and Condobolin was the railhead for the Central West until the line to Broken Hill was completed in 1927. Agricultural production was further expanded when the Wyangala Dam was established on the Lachlan in 1935. The pioneers suffered droughts, floods and grasshoppers in the same way as the present day residents, but it did not diminish their desire to build a strong community. Condobolin continues to be a busy country town, with small industrial services and business, excellent medical services, a modern hospital and retirement village, banking services along with a variety of sporting and recreation facilities and the life blood of the town, the Lachlan River with all its natural beauty, fishing and wildlife.