Main street, Walgett, NSW
|Elevation:||133 m (436 ft)|
Walgett is a town in north-central New South Wales, Australia and the seat of Walgett Shire. It is at the junction of the Barwon and Namoi rivers and near the junction of the Kamilaroi and Castlereagh Highway. In 2006, it had a population of 1,735 persons, including 822 (47.4%) indigenous persons and 1,457 (84.0%) Australian-born persons.
The current signage at the outskirts of the town indicates a population of 2,300 (December 2008) and an elevation of 130 metres.
It is a regional hub for the wool, wheat and cotton industries. It is the gateway to the New South Wales opal fields. The main crop farmed in the district is wheat, however the drought has caused an increase in the farming of lucerne and other good hay crops.
The town, like many other remote communities, has problems with crime linked to the abuse of drugs and alcohol.. As a result, many businesses have metal shutters to protect the premises from the street crime.
A post office was gazetted for "Wallgett on the Barwin River" in 1851 and the town sites were surveyed in 1859. The district would have been occupied prior to this by squatters and their livestock. The town of Walgett was proclaimed on 20 March 1885. The surveyor, Arthur Dewhurst, mapped the town, naming the three main streets after the British Prime Ministers: Pitt, Fox and Peel. Arthur Street was named after another surveyor. Walgett Courthouse was built in 1865.
It was once a port for paddle steamers in the late 1800s that plied the Murray-Darling river systems. The first steamer reached Walgett in 1861 and travelled to the town regularly until c.1870.
Euroka Station was purchased by Fred Wolseley in 1876 and was the site of the invention of the Wolseley Shearing Machine. The machine was tested at Bourke in 1888 on 184,000 sheep to eventually revolutionise the shearing industry.
Walgett's recent history includes the Freedom Rides in the late 1960s. The Freedom Riders arrived in Walgett on 15 February 1965. They protested outside the Walgett RSL Club because they had been told the club was refusing to admit Indigenous ex-servicemen. After their protest their bus was run off the road by a car driven by an unidentified person. This event led to Walgett, the Freedom Riders and the plight of Indigenous Australians in rural New South Wales getting national and international media attention. 
Walgett has a strong rugby league culture, and St. George Dragons player Ricky Walford played in the Walgett junior leagues. Walgett is also the home of the Barwon Brumbies rugby league side. Other notable players such as Peter Nichols, Jason Horan, Gavin Ruttley, Michael Latta and flying winger Tim Barklay have played for the Brumbies.
The Walgett Rams is the local Rugby side and is a leading team in the Western Plains Rugby Union Competition. Donovan Murphy would be the highest calibre player to have played for the Walgett Rams and is now following a career in Europe.
The predominant summer sport of the town is cricket. The local competition is composed of teams from Walgett, Cumborah, Lightning Ridge, Collarenebri and Goodooga.
The Walgett and District Sporting Club provides facilities for tennis, golf and lawn bowls.
The local College hosts two major football carnivals each year. The Ricky Walford Shield and the Neville Thorne Shield are both knockout Rugby League competitions held in August by the Primary School and the High School respectively.
The pre-school, primary school and high school were re-structured in 2003, into the Walgett Community College. The College is a unique educational institute, and gave birth to the successful Yaama Maliyaa group who won several national awards in the Young Achiever's Australia in 2005.
Walgett publishes a weekly newspaper called the 'Walgett Spectator'.
References in Popular Culture
The popular fictional character Betty in sitcom Hey Dad..! was from Walgett.
Banjo Paterson wrote two poems featuring Walgett - A Walgett Episode and Been There Before. In Been There Before Paterson relates the story of a visitor to the town who is down on his luck and who makes a wager that he can throw a stone from one bank of the river to another. The locals who know that stones of a reasonable mass are a rarity along the banks think they have fooled the visitor. However while...
The yokels laughed at his hopes o'erthrown,
And he stood awhile like a man in a dream;
Then out of his pocket he fetched a stone,
And pelted it over the silent stream --
He had been there before: he had wandered down
On a previous visit to Walgett town.
Interestingly, Paterson could not decide which river the town lies on - in the former poem he correctly says "Walgett, on the Barwon side", whereas in the latter he says "The Darling River, at Walgett town". The Darling River is formed at Brewarrina, much further west than Walgett, from the confluence of the Barwon and Culgoa Rivers.
- Walgett Airport
- ^ a b Australian Bureau of Statistics (25 October 2007). "Walgett (Urban Centre/Locality)". 2006 Census QuickStats. http://www.censusdata.abs.gov.au/ABSNavigation/prenav/LocationSearch?collection=Census&period=2006&areacode=UCL180000&producttype=QuickStats&breadcrumb=PL&action=401. Retrieved 2008-06-02.
- ^ Landline - 3 November 2002: Walgett employer forced to look overseas for staff . Australian Broadcasting Corp
- ^ Busy kids means less boredom crime in Walgett :: Water
- ^ a b Readers Digest Guide to Australian Places, Reader’s Digest (Australia) Pty. Limited, Surry Hills N.S.W., 1993, ISBN 0864383991
- ^ Zagar,C. (2000) Goodbye Riverbank: The Barwon-Namoi People Tell Their Story, Broome, Magabala Books. p.14.
|This page uses content from the English language Wikipedia. The original content was at Walgett, New South Wales. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with this Familypedia wiki, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons License.|