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Boggabri
Small township on the north west slopes of New South Wales
Boggabri is a small and tranquil country town of about 1000 people on rising ground by the Namoi River, 37 km north of Gunnedah and 471 km north-west of Sydney. Set against a pleasant backdrop of hills and the Nandewar Range, it has an elevation of 251 m. The name derives from an Aboriginal word said to mean 'Place of Many Creeks'.

Boggabri is basically a town servicing the surrounding area which is given over to wheat, wool and cotton. There are large grain-holding facilities and huge, but as yet unexploited, coal reserves under nearby Leards Forest. The town has a modern motel, two pubs and a caravan park.

John Oxley became the first European to set foot in the district in 1818. On a more colourful note, George 'The Barber' Clarke, a convict escapee assigned to Benjamin Singleton (see entry on Singleton), fled to the area in 1826, living with the Kamilaroi peoples, who it seems may have regarded him as one of their own returned from the dead. He acquired two Aboriginal wives, underwent body initiation rites and generally adopted the language, dress and customs of the group. Clarke lived a little to the north-east of the present townsite, building a bark hut by the Namoi which Allan Cunningham encountered during a voyage of exploration in 1827.

Large stocks of cattle were taken to the Liverpool Plains for pasturage from 1827 and Clarke turned to cattle rustling, establishing some stockyards. When times were hard he surrendered to Singleton, but again fled with the Aborigines while leading Singleton on an expedition into the new country. He then returned to bushranging, was captured in 1831, escaped, was recaptured, escaped again and was finally recaptured, after which he was marched 210 km to Sydney and transported to Norfolk Island. He was hung in Tasmania for further offences in 1835.

Clarke's account of the Namoi River and his tales of an enormous inland sea prompted the acting governor to send Thomas Mitchell on an expedition into the district, thereby opening the area up to settlement.

The first squatter was Edward Cox who arrived in 1835, calling the place the Namoi Hut after the building he erected on what is now the hospital hill. His name was bestowed upon the creek which intersects with the river at the town. This confluence of waterways was also the intersection of roads from the west and from the south and so it became a meeting and resting place for teamsters. Consequently a store and blacksmith's were established.

 

Boggabri Court House
 

The townsite was surveyed in 1859, gazetted in 1860 and the first land sales proceeded in 1861 with the first hotel being one of the earliest additions. At the time Gulligal was the main local settlement and a key postal location but the floods of 1864 virtually destroyed it.

By 1866 the population of Boggabri was about 50. A bridge over Cox's Creek was built c.1867,. a post office was established in 1870, a police station and school in 1873 and a general purpose church building in 1877. The railway arrived in 1882.

Things to see:   

Tourist Information
The nearest information centre is in Narrabri, tel: (02) 6799 6760 or email: tourism@narrabri.nsw.gov.au

 

Museum
The Boggabri Museum is located in Brent St, two blocks west of the Royal Hotel, tel: (02) 6743 4112. It is open by appointment.

 

Honey Farm
Nelson's Honey Factory in Lynn St is open for tours of the farm and honey sales, but be sure to ring first, tel: (02) 6743 4388. Just look for the honey bee mail box.

 

Gin's Leap
Gin's Leap is a rock formation, 4 km north on the left-hand side of the Narrabri Rd. The name is said to derive from an Aboriginal woman who leapt to her death, fleeing a tribal elder or suitor. There is a picnic area and an interpretive sign at the site where the Rock Inn once stood. Used as a coaching stopover it was built c.1850 before Boggabri existed. A family tomb established in 1895 also has an 1858 grave belonging to a serving girl who died while working at the inn.

 

Manilla Rd
Travelling south from Narrabri, just beyond Gin's Leap, the Manilla Rd heads eastwards off the Narrabri Road. It soon leads across the Namoi River via the Iron Bridge (1883). To the left is barber's Pinnacle and to the right is Barber's Lagoon. A plaque by the latter site notes the approximate spot of the hut and stockyards established by escaped convict, George 'The Barber' Clarke, who inhabited this area from 1826-1831, living with the Kamilaroi peoples who, it seems, may have regarded him as one of their own returned from the dead. He acquired two Aboriginal wives, underwent body initiation rites and generally adopted the language, dress and customs of the group.

Large stocks of cattle were taken to the Liverpool Plains for pasturage from 1827 and Clarke turned to cattle rustling. When times were hard he surrendered to Singleton, but again fled with the Aborigines while leading Singleton on an expedition into the new country. He then returned to bushranging, was captured in 1831, escaped, was recaptured, escaped again and was finally recaptured, after which he was marched 210 km to Sydney and transported to Norfolk Island. He was hung in Tasmania for further offences in 1835.

Clarke's account of the Namoi River and his tales of an enormous inland sea prompted the acting governor to send Thomas Mitchell on an expedition into the district, thereby opening the area up to settlement.

8 km east of the Narrabri Rd you can turn left on to the road which leads through Leards Forest, a fossicking area where thunder eggs and agate are found and under which there are enormous coal deposits.

 

Fishing
Fishing is popular on the Namoi River. The Narrabri Visitors' Centre has information on 18 fishing spots along the river.

 

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