The main street of Gilgandra
|Elevation:||282 m (925 ft)|
|LGA:||Shire of Gilgandra|
Gilgandra is a town located in the central west region of New South Wales, Australia. The town is located on the junction of the Newell, Oxley and Castlereagh highways and can be reached in about six hours by car from Sydney. The town is the administrative seat for the Gilgandra Shire Council.
Like Coonabarabran, Gilgandra can be considered to be a gateway to the Warrumbungles National Park. The population, according to the 2006 census, was around 2,679 people. The name is derived from an Aboriginal word meaning "long waterhole" and may be related to fact that town stands on the Castlereagh River.
The town was proclaimed in 1888, and the first town blocks were sold in 1889. The area had been previously settled and Gilgandra’s Post Office was established in 1867 and in 1881 a local school opened, and the first court hearing in the Gilgandra court house was in 1884. The shire was constituted in 1906.*"Gilgandra " District History". Gilgandra Shire Council (www.gilgandra.nsw.gov.au). 2004. Archived from the original on 2006-08-19. http://web.archive.org/web/20060819085030/http://www.gilgandra.nsw.gov.au/history.htm. Retrieved 2006-02-27.
During World War I, a recruitment march to Sydney began in Gilgandra. The march was known as the Cooee March, after the distinct call of "cooee" they shouted at each town along their journey to attract recruits. Twenty-six men left Gilgandra on 10 October 1915. They were feted at each town on the route and recruitment meetings were held. By the time they reached Sydney just over one month later on 12 November, the numbers had swelled to 263 recruits.
The geography of Gilgandra is very flat. The soil is composed mostly of sand, making it very porous and difficult to grow certain plants. The weather is hot and dry, reaching over 40°C for consecutive days during summer. In winter the temperature can reach as low as -2°C with large frosts leaving snow like blankets on the ground. During 1955, Gilgandra was flooded. This caused havoc throughout the small town with the water reaching a height of 5 feet, 7 inches in the main street, Miller Street. Many were left homeless as over three hundred homes were flooded. People spent the night on rooftops, one woman perched on the top of a truck all night and watched as a house and other large debris rushed by in the swiftly flowing waters. Two men were killed. Mr. Edward Hobbs took refuge on a windmill which the swirling waters undermined; when it fell it is believed Mr. Hobbs was crushed by its weight. In the area near the racecourse lived a small community of people who took refuge in the grandstand. A 52 year old racecourse caretaker, Edward Ryan disappeared when his nearby home collapsed and was later washed away. The damage left behind was massive, and men came from all over including Sydney to help the town rebuild. The flood made worldwide headlines, the town received a message of condolence from the Pope. In recent years, the town has suffered badly from drought until December 2009, where heavy rain fell for several weeks possibly ending a long drought.
Shops and services Edit
There is a hospital, pharmacy, and medical centres. In 2009, a Supa IGA supermarket was opened. A tavern, cafe, plaza, and public toilets were also recently opened whilst the town is already host to many cafes, another supermarket, museums, gift shops, two Chinese restaurants, an antique store, hardware store, photography services, fruit shop, three butcheries, various clothes stores including Target Country and several hotels. Two clubs have bowling greens (bowling club and RSL club) and the golf club has a full sized golf course surrounded by a racecourse. Gilgandra has many churches especially for a small town. There is a Catholic, Anglican, United Churches, Lutheran, Jehovah's Witness, Church of Christ, Presbyterian, and a local Indigenous church.
Gilgandra has 3 schools; Gilgandra High School, (North Gilgandra) (7-12), St. Joseph's School (North Gilgandra) (K-6) and Gilgandra Public School (North Gilgandra) (K-6). The town also has a local pre-school (East Gilgandra), Early Childhood Centre (West Gilgandra) and a TAFE Campus (South Gilgandra). St John's primary (West Gilgandra) was closed in 2004.
In 1963 the Gilgandra rugby league team's Earl Harrison was selected to play five-eighth for New South Wales, then Australia, going on tour with the Kangaroos that year. The Gilgandra Panthers play in the Castlereagh Cup rugby league competition. In 2009, the team successfully made it to the grand final, but lost. In 2011 however, the Panthers defeated the Warren Bulldogs to win the premiership. There is also a junior rugby league and netball club which plays in the group 14 competition. The town is also home to a soccer club, swimming club, touch football and has local tennis competitions and a gym. Gilgandra hosts the Windmill Carnival every year. This basketball event attracts many teams from all over the state. Little Athletics is another popular sport among the youth of Gilgandra. The annual Gift again draws visitors to the town.
Gilgandra also has its own cricket competition called the ABC Shield which has one Gilgandra team, Biddon-Tooraweenah, Warren, Baradine, Eumungerie, Curban, Coonabarabran and Gulargambone teams playing in it. Gilgandra representative cricket takes part in the Brewery Shield competition, Country Plate knockout and the A.S. Gordon Shield which they are currently premiers of from the 2008–09 season. Gilgandra also has its very own Junior Cricket Association, with representative teams in the 12s, 14s and 16s competing in intertown competitions regularly. Gilgandra won the Dick Penberthy Shield under 16s competition in 2002–03 season and have made the semi final every year since.
Gilgandra also has a sporting hall of fame for all the local sportsmen and women who have done exceptionally well in a sporting field. The sporting hall of fame is displayed down at the local gym entrance and also at the information center. There is a wide range of different sports in the hall of fame such as cycling, swimming, running, football, basketball, and many other sports.
In the hotter months, the swimming pool is open, and there are skateboard ramps for the youth. There is a youth club, which has squash courts, basketball courts, a gym, and an indoor area where the youth can gather for a safe, fun time. All can play.
There is a Rural Museum, which has old coaches, shearing sheds and equipment, as well as some of the old rooms, decked out as to how they were in the former days. There is Cactus World, which has a large range of cacti to look at. From the small to the large, there are all types.
Gilgandra has an observatory open from Wednesday to Sunday.
There is the community radio station WARFM, which is on 98.9FM, which has a broad range of shows. This is run by local volunteers, and if one feels like they want to present a show, an application will be taken, training given, and probably an available timeslot will be given.
There is also an aero club which serves as a flight school.
There is a lovely park outside the swimming pool area, and a walk along the river is grand. Neat footpaths are established along the river for strolling along and enjoying the sound of Australia's parrots squawking. As the sun goes down, it is common to see hundreds of galahs and cockatoos flock into the trees to settle for the night.
Notable people Edit
- Donald Frederick Gregory O'Connor (born 1958), Australian cricketer who played for the Tasmanian Tigers and the Southern Redbacks.
- William Thomas Hitchen, organised a successful recruiting march from Gilgandra to Sydney in late 1915.
- Tony McGrane, Mayor of Gilgandra for 16 years, member of State Parliament
- Raymond John Bailey (1932–1958), found guilty and executed for the Sundown Murders.
- ^ a b Australian Bureau of Statistics (25 October 2007). "Gilgandra (Urban Centre/Locality)". 2006 Census QuickStats. http://www.censusdata.abs.gov.au/ABSNavigation/prenav/LocationSearch?collection=Census&period=2006&areacode=UCL132400&producttype=QuickStats&breadcrumb=PL&action=401. Retrieved 24 September 2009.
- ^ "Gilgandra". Gazetteer of Australia online. Geoscience Australia, Australian Government. http://www.ga.gov.au/bin/gazd01?rec=51910.
- ^ "Gilgandra". Geographical Names Register (GNR) of NSW. Geographical Names Board of New South Wales. http://www.gnb.nsw.gov.au/place_naming/placename_search/extract?id=MajLwprXIt. Retrieved 24 September 2009.
- ^ "The Coo-ee March". Gilgandra and District. Archived from the original on 2006-10-17. http://web.archive.org/web/20061017040952/http://www.gilgandra.nsw.gov.au/cooee.htm. Retrieved 2006-11-10.
- ^ "Gilgandra". Peoples Voice. http://www.peoplesvoice.gov.au/stories/nsw/gilgandra/gilgandra_w_cooee.htm. Retrieved 2006-11-10.
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