Settlement followed soon after with the
declaration of a town occurring in 1849, streets were surveyed the
same year, the township became a flourishing centre of trade and
commerce being an important river crossing for travellers and
settlers going to Victoria and also for people going west. By 1879
the railway arrived and the town really started to grow and prosper.
The original inhabitants of the area are the Wiradjuri
tribe. They were once the largest tribe in NSW based around the Riverina area.
The name Wagga Wagga comes from this proud tribe of natives and translated means
Crows when an aboriginal name is duplicated it becomes plural so Wagga simply
The name of the
Murrumbidgee River was also named using Wiradjuri language and means
Plenty Water or Big Water.
Wagga is rich in colonial history
with many famous poets making the area their home such as Frank
Moorhouse and Mary Gilmore. Another claim to fame is the association
with Australia's bushrangers - Mad Dog Morgan shot a policeman
outside Wagga in 1863. James Kelly (Ned Kelly's younger brother" was
jailed in Wagga for 10 years for stealing 2 horses. Captain
Moonlight (Andrew Scott) was jailed in 1879 for robbery. After he
was released he held up a station where 39 people lived and worked.
According to records he shot one horse before word got out that he
was holding them all hostage.
Three policemen arrived from Wagga
Wagga to take the Captain and his cohorts back into custody however
a shootout ensued which killed two of the bushrangers one was only
15 years old. One policeman died six days later from wounds. Captain
Moonlight was captured and sentenced to death and hanged in 1880 at
Darlinghurst Gaol in Sydney.
Today Wagga Wagga is home to many
fine parks and gardens, it has a population of approximately 60,000
people. There are many historical buildings and tree lined streets
which give the town an established look and feel.
Wagga is home to
many agricultural industries and fine educational institutions. The
Australian Military has also made Wagga their home with the Kapooka
Army training base just south of the city and Forest Hill RAAF base
10km east of the city housing some 1600 personnel. The Wagga Wagga
stockyards process in excess of 1.5 million sheep per year, and
100,000 cattle annually.
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tourism visitor centre for your destination for more attractions, tours, local
maps and other information.