|Marshy lakes and
billabongs characterise the riverlands near Barham
Quiet service town on the Murray River
Located 823 km south-west of Sydney and 80 metres above sea
level, Barham, the largest town in Wakool Shire, and its
twin town Koondrook (combined population 1217) sit on
opposite sides of the Murray River. Although in NSW Barham
is twice as far from Sydney as Melbourne and is therefore
economically and culturally oriented to Victoria. It is
Aussie Rules rather than Rugby League which excites the most
Barham is surrounded by rich river flats and picturesque
red sand hills. Timber, dairying and citrus fruit are the
main produce of the immediate area. Irrigation is supplied
by the Murray River which is, not surprisingly, an excellent
spot to dangle a line for Murray cod, golden perch, carp,
silver fish, catfish and yabbies.
Known as the southern gateway to Golden Rivers Country
this pretty riverside town is situated upon land thought to
have been occupied by the Wemba-Wemba Aborigines. In 1843
Edward Green acquired the lease of an unoccupied land grant
of 114 656 acres. He named the station 'Barham' after his
wife's maiden name.
Victorian selectors began to occupy land on the southern
bank of the Murray as Victoria's goldrush-era came to an
end. Koondrook developed in the 1870s as a service town to
the Murray River paddlesteamer trade. As there was no bridge
across to Barham it was settled more slowly. However this
situation changed in 1904 when road traffic was enhanced by
the construction of a lift bridge with a central section
that was raised to allow paddlesteamers to pass through on
the way back and forth to Echuca. It is one of the oldest
surviving bridges on the river.
Citrus fruit was first planted at Barham in 1911 and the
Barham Packing Co. was formed in 1930.
The Barham-Koondrook Show is held on the third Saturday
Things to see:
The Barham Visitor Information Centre is located at 25
Murray St, tel: (03) 5453 3100. It can provide a brochure
outlining a short walk around Barham.
Barham Lakes Complex
Barham Lakes Complex is located off Murray St, at the
south-eastern corner of town. It is a recreation area
situated upon reclaimed riverside land. There are four
interconnected artificial lakes, stocked with fish and
yabbies, spread over 16 ha, with another 24 ha of grassland
sporting hundreds of native plants. There is also a 4-km
walking track with picnic and barbecue facilities, showers
and toilets, a children's playground and a beached swimming
A museum will soon be established near the Lakes Complex.
It will display restored and operating steam traction and
steam portable engines, antique tractors and wagons.
The Barham Sandbar
Follow Jamieson Avenue and Hudson Boulevarde along the
riverside. A walking track then cuts through the Barham
Caravan Park. On the water's edge is a boat ramp and a
sandbar which is a popular swimming area.
Beyond the caravan park is Riverside Park which is a popular
family and picnicking area (there is a mardi-gras here at
Christmas). It is possible to see the pumps which draw water
from the Murray for the town's usage. The park's log buggy
is representative of the type of vehicle which was once
commonly used in the local timber industry. Pulled by horse
or bullock teams, it carried timber from the forests to the
mills. Nearby is Pioneer Rock, a piece of granite from the
Pyramid Hill area (see entry on A HREF="VicCohuna.shtml">Cohuna)
which is 'in recognition of the pioneering spirit' of the
The bridge across to Koondrook, one of the oldest on the
Murray River, was built in 1904. It is a lift bridge with a
central section which was raised to allow paddlesteamers to
pass through on the way back and forth to Echuca. Until it
was motorised in 1997 it was operated by a system of weights
worked by two men turning wheels. It is still occasionally
On the other side of the bridge is Lions Park which has free
electric barbecues and a section of redgum forest.
At Murray and Thule Sts is the Royal Hotel (1904) and a
marker indicating the directions of and distances to
neighbouring towns. At Murray and Mellool Sts is the
National Bank building (c.1912).
Riverside Crafts are located at 37 Noorong St, tel: (03)
The Bonum Sawmill barks, saws and stacks red gum for
shipment. It is situated 500 m from the shopping centre
along the Moulamein Rd and is open for inspection from 8.00
a.m. to 5.00 p.m. weekdays, tel: (03) 5453 2262.
Koondrook State Forest
12 km out of town along the Moulamein Rd is Koondrook State
Forest, which covers 31 000 ha from Barham almost to Moama.
There are kangaroos, emus and wild pigs plus over a hundred
bird species. This area is ideal for forest drives and many
of the roads are well-signposted.
Other state forests in the vicinity are Campbell's
Island, Cuttwell and Whymoul. There are a number of
Aboriginal middens in the area. They are signified by a rise
in what is otherwise a very flat landscape. Tampering with
them is an offence.
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