There were questions about the origin of water in the Urana Aquatic Centre. The lake has been formed by damming a small creek. So just before we get to Narrandera let me show you something. Before the advent of bitumen roads and large trucks/lorries the whole area was opened up by railways. This would appear to have been quite simple given the flat land – no bridges or viaducts or tunnels needed.
So why is the railway line up so high?
Because when it does rain there is an awful lot of water.
This is a sign that is seen everywhere along the road through NSW and Southern Queensland.
But it hadn’t rained for a while and the country looked dry and burnt.
Narrandera is on the Murrumbidgee River which feeds into the Murray many miles away.
The size of the River Red Gum (Eucalyptus camaldulensis)can be imagined when one compares it with a petite sister.
The town of Narrandera gets its name from the original Narrungdera clan of approximately 2000 and were part of the larger Wiradjuri nation.
Narrandera takes its name from the Narrungdera clan of whom approximately 2000 populated the Shire and contributed their number to the greater Wiradjuri nation. They had elaborate fisheries on local creeks, made of artificial channels, dams and reservoirs allowed them to trap fish and eels. Grain was harvested, threshed, winnowed and stored or made into flat cakes. Fire was carefully managed, both for cooking and for clearing land to aid hunting. They were a healthy strong people. In 1844 a scientist wrote “…the black fellows were the largest and most active that I as yet have seen – the greater Portion of them 6 foot and upwards in height Broad shoulders …….”
On December the 10th 1829 Captain Charles Sturt passed through the district on his epic tour of discovery down the river system to the coast in South Australia. He was both confronted by and assisted by Wiradjuri on his journey. The Narrungdera offered and provided escort through their territory.
Sturt wrote in his report of what he saw: “I know not anything that can possibly damp our spirits, ……our journey has been made through a fine country and along a beautiful river…” was an encouragement to those back in the city who sought a future on the land.
However the taking up of land and the introduction of thousands of sheep meant that the local aborigines had limited access to the rivers, streams and grasslands that sustained them. European storekeepers carried guns and went on raiding parties. 1838 saw the Wiradjuri fight back, and warring began. A year later many runs had been abandoned due to loss of stock and men.
A number of massacres then took place (notably the Murdering Island Massacre where 60-70 Aboriginal men women and children were shot) and by 1841 the Wiradjuri had lost the battle for land. They were effectively eliminated.
There is now a more modern town with a population of about 3,800.
Also in the main street (more correctly Cadell Street) is the Tiger Moth Memorial.
The Tiger Moth is the focal point of the memorial for those who trained at Narrandera’s No 8 EFTS (Elementary Flight Training School) during the Second World War. The first intake of 60 Trainee Pilots, Course 5 (P) arrived on October 18, 1940 to commence their eight week course. In the four and half years of operation, 3,818 young men were trained in the elementary stages of flying.
And so we say farewell to sunny Narrandera and head north for Condoblin 240 km away where we are expected for dinner at some people who are great friends of Robin – aforementioned sister leaning on a tree.