Small rural service centre famous for its therapeutic
Barmedman is a small rural town located 457 km west of
Sydney and 30 km north of Temora on the road to West Wyalong.
It is a sign of the district's economic focus that there are
two large wheat silos in town, holding 1.4 million bushels.
The area around the town was part of Wiradjuri lands
prior to European settlement. It has been claimed that the
area was subject to some disagreement between a group from
the Lachlan River area and another group from around the
Murrumbidgee and one early European settler records a battle
between the two groups in which one man was decapitated by a
boomerang and two men were killed when the same spear passed
through both of their bodies.
John Oxley investigated the district in 1817 and declared
that 'these desolate areas would never again be visited by
civilised man' although he did observe that the local
Aborigines seemed to be strong and healthy. As it was winter
time Oxley noted that they wore possum skin coats, bound
their hair with nets, had a tooth missing as part of an
initiation ceremony and carried stone axes, spears and
Surveyor-general Thomas Mitchell visited the area in 1827
naming it 'The Levels' due to its consistently flat quality.
The squatters who began to settle the district in 1833
called it 'The Blands', hence the name of Bland Shire.
The first European settlement of the district led to the
establishment of the huge Barmedman property which was an
area of 35,840 acres which was occupied by John Cartwright.
He ran 53 horses and 877 cattle. It is hard to imagine but
when the first settlers arrived the whole area was covered
by dense bush which consisted of grey and yellow box, belah
and bull oak, ironbark, cypress pine, acacias, quandongs,
melaleucas and scrubby grasses.
There was a brief flurry of interest in the area when
gold was found in 1872. It was never a major deposit but by
1882 there were 150 miners in the area and the town had
grown to a population of 365. That year only 3.3 kg of gold
was mined. The following year was the best with 144.3 kg
being mined. The mines continued with intermittent, but
never major, fortunes until the end of the century. By that
time batteries and the usual machinery for extracting and
crushing the ore had been established.
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