Brewarrina has a very proud history dating back thousands of years. From the beginning of time till present date Brewarrina has been known for its resilience and ability to pull through tough times. At this present time the township is suffering from one of the Country’s worst droughts on record and this is having a devastating effect on our community.
Many of our local farmers and families have sold up their properties and moved to bigger regional centres, the lack of opportunity for economic sustainability in the areas of agriculture, sheep and cattle farming has also been at an all-time low which has a ripple effect throughout the local community. Job losses in the local area have been at an all-time high and over the past few years many of the local businesses have had to close their doors due to financial hardship and a dwindling local economy.
To add to this devastation the NSW State government has announced the closure of yetta dhinnakkal correctional centre in mid-2020. This facility has 35 full time employees and houses between 50 to 100 inmates which brings much needed economy to the businesses of Brewarrina township. We expect the closure of this facility to have an even more devastating effect on our communities. Again, families will be forced to leave town in search of work.
Below we have outlined a small snippet of Brewarrina and as you will see we have an outstanding history and have a real opportunity to diversify and build a whole new economy around tourism (there is so much more to tell). But to be able to do this, our town needs some much needed help and the Rural Aid 10 Towns Makeover Initiative could help us achieve this.
Brewarrina is located amid the traditional lands of the Muruwari, Ngemba, Weilwan and Yualwarri first nation peoples. The area has a long Indigenous Australian history and was once the meeting ground for over 5,000 people.
The Brewarrina Fish Traps
The Brewarrina fish traps are estimated to be over 40,000 years old and one of the oldest man-made structures on earth. This elaborate network of rock weirs and pools stretches for around half a kilometre along the riverbed and was built by ancient tribes, to catch fish as they swam upstream.
First White Settlers
White man arrived in the district around 1839-40. The first people to own land where the town now stands were the Lawson brothers, who had two holdings – one called “Walcha” and another called “Moona” The town was first known as “Walcha Hut” but this later changed to “Brewarrina”.
Cobb & Co Outpost
Cobb & Co helped to bring white people to Aboriginal land and is very much part of our common story. Brewarrina was formally surveyed and laid out in 1861 and proclaimed on 28 April 1863.
Hospital Creek Massacre
In 1859, somewhere between 300-400 Aboriginal people were massacred by white settlers in an event known as the Hospital Creek Massacre, recollections of which vary. A memorial was erected by the local Aboriginal Land Council near the site of the massacre.
In 1859 a riverboat called Gemini, skippered by William Randell, reached the town. This opened the possibility of developing the town as a port, and by the early 1860s Brewarrina was recognised as the furthest navigable point on the Darling River. Brewarrina became a port for shipping wool to Adelaide via the Darling and Murray rivers.
The Brewarrina workshop dates are fast approaching. We invite all locals to come along and share your ideas about the future of your town and what you want to retain, regain, change and create!
Workshops will be facilitated by social entrepreneur and small-town renewal specialist Peter Kenyon as part of the 10 Towns initiative through Rural Aid.
So, what’s your BIG idea is for your town?
Contact your town Co-ordinator to find out how you can be a part of the conversations to put together a 5-year community plan that will focus on renewal and long-term sustainability.
WORKSHOP DATES – 19/07/2020 – 21/07/2020
TOWN CONTACT – HEATHER FINALAYSON