Griffith, New South Wales

Last updated

New South Wales
Griffith Court House
Australia New South Wales location map blank.svg
Red pog.svg
Coordinates 34°17′24″S146°2′24″E / 34.29000°S 146.04000°E / -34.29000; 146.04000 Coordinates: 34°17′24″S146°2′24″E / 34.29000°S 146.04000°E / -34.29000; 146.04000
Population19,144 incl. surrounding suburbs (2016 census) [1]
Established4 August 1916 [2]
Postcode(s) 2680
Elevation129.2 m (424 ft)
Time zone AEST (UTC+10)
 • Summer (DST) AEDT (UTC+11)
LGA(s) City of Griffith
County Cooper
State electorate(s) Murray
Federal Division(s) Farrer
Mean max tempMean min tempAnnual rainfall
24.0 °C
75 °F
10.1 °C
50 °F
397.6 mm
15.7 in

Griffith /ˈɡrɪfəθ/ [3] is a major regional city in the Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area that is located in the north-western part of the Riverina region of New South Wales, known commonly as the food bowl of Australia. It is also the seat of the City of Griffith local government area. Like the Australian capital, Canberra, and the nearby town of Leeton, Griffith was designed by Walter Burley Griffin and Marion Mahony Griffin. [4] Griffith was named after Arthur Hill Griffith, the first New South Wales Minister of Public Works. [5] Griffith was proclaimed a city in 1987, [6] and had a population of 19,144 in 2016. [1]

Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area food production system in south east Australia

The Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area (MIA) is geographically located within the Riverina area of New South Wales. It was created to control and divert the flow of local river and creek systems for the purpose of food production. The main river systems feeding and fed by the area are the Murrumbidgee and the Tumut. It is one of the most diverse and productive regions in Australia contributing over A$5 billion annually to the Australian economy. The MIA was first established in 1912 after the commissioning of Burrinjuck Dam. Further expansion occurred in the 1970s with the completion of the Snowy Mountains Scheme and construction of Blowering Dam on the Tumut River, which meets the Murrumbidgee near Gundagai.

Riverina Region in New South Wales, Australia

The Riverina is an agricultural region of South-Western New South Wales (NSW), Australia. The Riverina is distinguished from other Australian regions by the combination of flat plains, warm to hot climate and an ample supply of water for irrigation. This combination has allowed the Riverina to develop into one of the most productive and agriculturally diverse areas of Australia. Bordered on the south by the state of Victoria and on the east by the Great Dividing Range, the Riverina covers those areas of New South Wales in the Murray and Murrumbidgee drainage zones to their confluence in the west.

New South Wales State of Australia

New South Wales is a state on the east coast of Australia. It borders Queensland to the north, Victoria to the south, and South Australia to the west. Its coast borders the Tasman Sea to the east. The Australian Capital Territory is an enclave within the state. New South Wales' state capital is Sydney, which is also Australia's most populous city. In September 2018, the population of New South Wales was over 8 million, making it Australia's most populous state. Just under two-thirds of the state's population, 5.1 million, live in the Greater Sydney area. Inhabitants of New South Wales are referred to as New South Welshmen.


It can be accessed by road from Sydney and Canberra via the Hume Highway and the Burley Griffin Way and from Melbourne, Victoria, via the Newell Highway and either by using the Kidman Way or the Irrigation Way. Griffith can be accessed from other places like Adelaide, Orange, New South Wales, and Bathurst through the Mid-Western Highway and the Rankins Springs road from Rankins Springs and the Kidman Way from Goolgowi.

Sydney State capital of New South Wales and most populous city in Australia and Oceania

Sydney is the state capital of New South Wales and the most populous city in Australia and Oceania. Located on Australia's east coast, the metropolis surrounds Port Jackson and extends about 70 km (43.5 mi) on its periphery towards the Blue Mountains to the west, Hawkesbury to the north, the Royal National Park to the south and Macarthur to the south-west. Sydney is made up of 658 suburbs, 40 local government areas and 15 contiguous regions. Residents of the city are known as "Sydneysiders". As of June 2017, Sydney's estimated metropolitan population was 5,230,330 and is home to approximately 65% of the state's population.

Canberra capital city of Australia

Canberra is the capital city of Australia. Founded following the federation of the colonies of Australia as the seat of government for the new nation, it is Australia's largest inland city and the eighth-largest city overall. The city is located at the northern end of the Australian Capital Territory; 280 km (170 mi) south-west of Sydney and 660 km (410 mi) north-east of Melbourne.

Hume Highway highway in New South Wales and Victoria

The Hume Highway, inclusive of the sections now known as the Hume Freeway and Hume Motorway, is one of Australia's major inter-city national highways, running for 840 kilometres (520 mi) between Melbourne in the southwest and Sydney in the northeast. Upgrading of the route from Sydney's outskirts to Melbourne's outskirts to dual carriageway was completed on 7 August 2013.


Griffith and other towns were created as part of the New South Wales State Government's Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area (MIA) project, a plan to supply irrigation from the Murrumbidgee river in order to open up western New South Wales for farming . [6]

Murrumbidgee River river in New South Wales, Australia

Murrumbidgee River, a major tributary of the Murray River within the Murray–Darling basin and the second longest river in Australia. It flows through the Australian state of New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory. It descends 1,500 metres (4,900 ft) as it flows 1,485 kilometres (923 mi) in a west-northwesterly direction from the foot of Peppercorn Hill in the Fiery Range of the Snowy Mountains towards its confluence with the Murray River near Boundary Bend.

The town plan for Griffith, and nearby Leeton, was designed by Walter Burley Griffin in 1914, an unusual geometric pattern centred on a set of circular streets, with broad avenues radiating out in an octagonal arrangement. [7] [8] The streets were surveyed mostly according to that plan, and Griffith was declared a town in August 1916. [9]

The following lists events that happened during 1916 in Australia.

Plan of Griffith, 1914 Plan of Leeton, 1914.jpg
Plan of Griffith, 1914

The main dam of the scheme was the large Burrinjuck Dam on the Murrumbidgee between Gundagai and Canberra, but was not completed until 1928. The Berembed Weir, near Narrandera, was built in 1912, diverting water from the Murrumbidgee River into the Bundidgerry Creek then into the Main Canal of the MIA at Narrandera. [10] The Canal, almost a river in its own right, flows through the MIA, supplying water to the entire area, then flows through Griffith as part of the geometric plan, and peters out to the northwest of the town in rice farms.

Burrinjuck Dam

Burrinjuck Dam is a heritage-listed major gated concrete-walled gravity dam hydro-electric dam at Burrinjuck, Yass Valley Shire, New South Wales, Australia. It has three spillways across the Murrumbidgee River located in the South West Slopes region of New South Wales, Australia. The dam's purpose includes flood mitigation, hydro-power, irrigation, water supply and conservation. The impounded reservoir is called Lake Burrinjuck. It was designed by L.A.B. Wade and built from 1907 to 1927 by Lane & Peters, Sydney. It is also known as Barren Jack Dam and Barrenjack. The property is owned by Department of Planning and Infrastructure. It was added to the New South Wales State Heritage Register on 2 April 1999.

Gundagai Town in New South Wales, Australia

Gundagai is a town in New South Wales, Australia. Although a small town, Gundagai is a popular topic for writers and has become a representative icon of a typical Australian country town. Located along the Murrumbidgee River and Muniong, Honeysuckle, Kimo, Mooney Mooney, Murrumbidgee and Tumut mountain ranges, Gundagai is 390 kilometres (240 mi) south-west of Sydney. Until 2016, Gundagai was the administrative centre of Gundagai Shire local government area. In the 2016 census the population of Gundagai was 1,925.

The water supply was further enhanced with the construction of the Snowy River scheme by the Australian Federal Government in the 1950s and 1960s. The Blowering Dam, a large dam near Tumut stores a significant amount of water to be released down the Murrumbidgee for irrigation around Leeton, Griffith and the newer Coleambally area south of the Murrumbidgee and Griffith. [6]

Blowering Dam hydroelectric power station on the Tumut River in New South Wales, Australia

The Blowering Dam is a major ungated rock fill with clay core embankment dam with concrete chute spillway across the Tumut River upstream of Tumut in the Snowy Mountains region of New South Wales, Australia. The dam's purpose includes flood mitigation, hydro-power, irrigation, water supply and conservation. The dam is part of the Snowy Mountains Scheme, a vast hydroelectricity and irrigation complex constructed in south-east Australia between 1949 and 1974 and now run by Snowy Hydro. The impounded reservoir is called Blowering Reservoir.

Tumut Town in New South Wales, Australia

Tumut is a town in the Riverina region of New South Wales, Australia, situated on the banks of the Tumut River.

Coleambally Town in New South Wales, Australia

Coleambally is a small town in the Riverina of New South Wales, Australia, in Murrumbidgee Council.

From the start of the MIA, citrus and other fruit and vegetables were grown in abundance around Griffith. In the 1950s the irrigation area expanded to include large rice farms. Vineyards were established early, and wineries followed, beginning with McWilliam's Wines at Hanwood and Yenda, two villages just outside the city.

From its earliest days, the MIA was populated by Italian workers, some of whom were initially employed by Australian farmers to run steamboats on the Murrumbidgee and Murray Rivers. Approximately 60% of today's Griffith population claim Italian background. [11] These include the initial settlement of Italians from the boat crews and other Italians who came out to Australia in the Depression, or from a second wave of immigrant Italians who came to Griffith in the late 1950s and early 1960s.

In the 1970s, Griffith was often associated with drug distribution (particularly marijuana) and organised crime, [12] as depicted in 2009 by Underbelly: A Tale of Two Cities. However, Griffith is now associated with good wine and food, primarily as a result of its diverse population, with notable contributions by Italian-Australians. Griffith's multi-ethnic population is now absorbing new national groups, including a significant Sikh Indian community. [13] The city is sister city with the Italian city of Treviso in the Veneto Region. Many Italians in Griffith are from the Veneto Region or the Calabria Region of Italy.

The Italian influence expanded the range of fruit and vegetables, and also significantly increased the number of wineries and the range of wines produced by the existing wineries in the region, such as McWilliam's. De Bortoli, Rosetto and other wineries were established by Italian immigrants, and today they are well known around Australia. In recent times they have been joined by one of the country's best known wine labels, Yellow Tail, produced by Casella Family Brands. Casella, DeBortoli, McWilliam's, Warburn and Berton Vineyards are now among the top 20 wine producers in Australia. [14]

Griffith is the cathedral city of the Anglican Diocese of Riverina. The foundation stone of the Parish Church of St Alban the Martyr was dedicated in 1954. It was proclaimed as a cathedral in 1984.

Heritage listings

Griffith has a number of heritage-listed sites, including:


Griffith has a semi-arid climate (BSk) under the Köppen climate classification with hot summers and cool winters. [16] Extreme temperatures at Griffith Airport AWS have ranged from 46.4 °C (115.5 °F) on 16 January 2019 to −5.9 °C (21.4 °F) on 17 July 1977. [17] During a heatwave on 10 February 2017, temperatures reached 45.8 °C (114.4 °F), a new record high for February. [18] On 16 January 2019, during a long heatwave, Griffith Airport recorded 46.4 °C (115.5 °F), the highest maximum temperature for any month on record. [19]

Climate data for Griffith Airport AWS
Record high °C (°F)46.4
Average high °C (°F)33.2
Average low °C (°F)17.3
Record low °C (°F)6.8
Average precipitation mm (inches)33.3
Average precipitation days4.
Average afternoon relative humidity (%)28343741536362544737353144
Source: [17]


Griffith is the regional service centre for the vast Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area, one of the most productive agricultural regions in Australia. [20] Thanks to irrigation, Griffith is rich in agriculture and the city is also known as Australia's "Wine and Food Country". [21]


Banna Avenue, Griffith GriffithBannaAvenue.JPG
Banna Avenue, Griffith

Griffith has experienced strong commercial growth in recent years. Griffith's main streets are Banna Avenue and Yambil Streets but commercial growth has occurred throughout the city. Shopping centre developments include:


Griffith is home to the Riverina's largest employer, the Baiada Group. [22] Griffith also has several wineries, including De Bortoli Wines and Casella Family Brands (makers of Yellow Tail wine).


In addition to Griffith, the area includes the towns and villages of Willbriggie, Hanwood, Beelbangera, Bilbul, Yoogali, Widgelli, Yenda, Lake Wyangan, Tharbogang and Warburn. The city contains the main suburbs of Collina, Driver, North Griffith, East Griffith, West Griffith, South Griffith, Murrumbidgee, Mayfair, Pioneer Mooreville and Wickhams Hill. The newest development of the suburb Collina has been constructed to the north east of the city's centre.


In the 2016 Census, there were 19,144 people in Griffith.


Griffith is the third largest centre for education in the Riverina after Wagga Wagga and Leeton. Griffith is home to two high schools:

• Murrumbidgee Regional High School

- MRHS is a super school, made up of two sites, formerly known as Wade High School and Griffith High School

Griffith also has 13 primary schools and various day care and pre-school facilities. Griffith has one of the largest campuses of Riverina Institute of TAFE. There has been recent[ when? ] plans to construct a fifth campus of Charles Sturt University in Griffith.


Griffith is a major junction for the Kidman Way, Burley Griffin Way and Irrigation Way. Griffith is located 550 km (341.75 mi) west of Sydney via Burley Griffin Way and Irrigation Way and 450 km (279.62 mi) north of Melbourne via the Kidman Way. Griffith has daily bus services to the major metropolitan areas.

Griffith Airport has daily flights to Sydney (operated by Regional Express) and, from 15 July 2019, to Melbourne (operated by Sharp Airlines). There are also regular flights to Broken Hill and Narrandera.

Griffith Buslines operates buses through Griffith and surrounding towns and villages with 7 main services and routes.

The railway reached Griffith on 3 July 1916 and since that date has provided a service transporting passengers and goods into and out of the area. Regular goods trains continue, making it a unique railway centre. [23]

Griffith railway station is served by a weekly NSW TrainLink Xplorer service from Sydney. NSW TrainLink also operates a daily road coach service from Mildura to Wagga Wagga stopping at Griffith. This service connects at Wagga Wagga with NSW Trainlink rail services to Sydney and Melbourne. [24]

V/Line operates a daily rail/road coach service between Melbourne and Griffith, changing with the train at Shepparton. Melbourne (Southern Cross Station) to Griffith (Bus Terminal at Visitors Centre) is an evening service (daily); Griffith to Melbourne service is overnight (Mon to Sat) / afternoon (Sunday). Travel time is approximately six and a half to seven hours. [25]

The city of Griffith had contained no traffic lights up until February 2010 when the first set of traffic lights was installed at the intersection of Burrell Place and Wakaden Street. [26] [27]


for more events see



Griffith is serviced by a number of commercial, community, narrowcast SBS, and ABC stations

Local radio stations broadcasting from Griffith include ABC Riverina, AM radio commercial station 2RG, FM radio commercial station Star FM and a rebroadcast from sports station Sky Sports Radio. Other local stations include Christian radio station Vision Radio Network and the community station 2MIA FM. The ABC's national stations ABC Radio National, ABC Classic FM, ABC NewsRadio and Triple J and the multicultural network SBS Radio are broadcast into Griffith.

ABC Riverina, is the local ABC station in Griffith, servicing the entire MIA region. It broadcasts a local breakfast show and a local morning show each weekday broadcast from the ABC studios in Wagga Wagga. Wednesday and Saturday's local morning show is also broadcast to each station on the ABC Local Radio network enabling listeners from outside of the local listening area to call into the popular gardening talk back program. ABC Riverina also has a local news service, produced by local journalists. As well as rural reports, The station also airs a local Saturday breakfast show, which is followed by a local Saturday morning sports program. Apart from local programming, ABC Riverina takes national programs like AM, Conversations, The World Today, PM, Nightlife, Overnights, Grandstand, Saturday Night Country and Australia All Over along with a mid-afternoon program, an evening show and a weekend morning program, all broadcast from Sydney, along with a drive program, broadcast from regional NSW. Other national ABC services that are available in Griffith on separate FM frequencies include Triple J, RN, ABC Classic FM and ABC NewsRadio.

2RG is the Griffith-based commercial FM station owned by Southern Cross Austereo broadcasting from Griffith studios during the day, and then taking networked programming sourced from 2GB Sydney, Gold FM on the Gold Coast, Authentic Entertainment Sydney and Triple M. 2RG in Griffith also produces a local news service with a journalist based at the station, compiling and recording local news bulletins for 2RG and sister station 99.7 Star FM.

Star FM, also owned by Southern Cross Austereo, is a commercial FM station servicing Griffith on a local FM frequency, although its local breakfast show is broadcast from a studio in Griffith. Star FM is skewed towards the younger listeners with a Top 40/pop music format. Following the local breakfast show, the station takes Hit Music Network programming sourced from Southern Cross Austereo's hub at Sea FM on the Gold Coast or from metropoliton stations such as 2Day FM Sydney and Fox FM Melbourne.

2MIA is the local community station, broadcasting local programs, presented by radio announcers. The station is skewed towards the older demographic and plays a lot of music. All programs are locally produced apart from the regular programming the station takes from the national community radio network.


Griffith is served by five television stations, three commercial television stations (WIN Television, Seven Network and Nine Network) which are regional affiliates of the three Australian commercial television networks (Ten, Seven and Nine), and public broadcasters the ABC and SBS.

Until the 1990s, Griffith received only the ABC and MTN, an independent television station showing programmes from all three commercial networks.

The town receives the commercial networks' digital channels (7Two and 7mate from Seven, 9Go! and 9Gem from Nine and One and Eleven from WIN Television), as well as TVSN, Gold, ABC2/ABC Kids, ABC3, ABC News 24, SBS 2, Food Network and NITV. Foxtel provides subscription satellite television services.

MTN carries programming from Seven Network, MDN carries programming from Nine Network and AMN carries programming from Network Ten, WIN also broadcasts the Riverina and MIA WIN News bulletin each weeknight.

Regional news coverage of the Griffith and MIA area is provided on all three commercial networks with WIN Griffith airing 30-minute local news bulletins at 6pm each weeknight. WIN News are produced from newsrooms in the city but presented from studios in Wollongong.


The Area News is a daily newspaper published in the city each Monday, Wednesday and Friday, as well as national newspapers such as The Australian, The Daily Telegraph, Herald Sun, The Weekly Times and The Age.


Griffith from Scenic Hill lookout GriffithfromScenicHillLookout.JPG
Griffith from Scenic Hill lookout

Griffith has many tourist attractions. These include Pioneer Park, a 510-seat Regional Theatre, the Italian museum, the Griffith Regional Art Gallery, craft and antique shops, and its many high standard restaurants. Many of the Griffith wineries also have wine tasting at the cellar door, notably De Bortoli Wines, McWilliams, Beelgara Estate (formally Rossetto Wines), West End Wines, Berton Vineyards and Warburn Estate. Griffith is famous for its botrytis including Debortoli's Noble One and its fortified wine such as McWilliam's Hanwood Port. Ecotourism is also available in Griffith. Scenic Hill has various walking trails, lookouts and is home to the famous Hermit's Cave. Nericon Swamp, part of the Griffith Wetlands Important Bird Area, is an important site for migratory birds. [28] Nearby Cocoparra National Park offers walking trails and there are opportunities to explore along the Murrumbidgee River and Lake Wyangan.

Twin towns and sister cities

Griffith is twinned with: [29]

Notable people

Notes and references

  1. 1 2 3 Australian Bureau of Statistics (27 June 2017). "Griffith (NSW) (Significant Urban Area)". 2016 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 14 February 2019. OOjs UI icon edit-ltr-progressive.svg CC-BY icon.svg Material was copied from this source, which is available under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
  2. Kelly, Bryan Morris (1988). From wilderness to eden : a history of the City of Griffith, its region and its people. Griffith, N.S.W.: City of Griffith Council. p. 18. ISBN   0-7316-3994-4.
  3. Macquarie ABC Dictionary. The Macquarie Library Pty Ltd. 2003. p. 430. ISBN   1-876429-37-2.
  4. Landscape Architecture, Walter Burley Griffin Society Inc, 2015, retrieved 8 March 2016
  5. Nairn, Bede (1983). "Griffith, Arthur Hill (1861–1946)". Australian Dictionary of Biography . 9. Canberra: Australian National University. Retrieved 8 March 2016.
  6. 1 2 3 "History of Griffith". Griffith City Council. Archived from the original on 19 July 2008. Retrieved 16 August 2008.
  7. Bob McKillop. "Pioneer work: the Murrumbidgee irrigation area towns of Leeton and Griffith". Walter Burley Griffin Society Inc. Retrieved 21 April 2019.
  8. Harrison, Peter (1983). "Griffin, Walter Burley (1876–1937". Australian Dictionary of Biography . 9. Canberra: Australian National University. Retrieved 21 April 2019.
  9. "TOWN OF GRIFFITH". Government Gazette Of The State Of New South Wales (139). New South Wales, Australia. 4 August 1916. p. 4550. Retrieved 21 April 2019 via National Library of Australia.
  10. "Berembed Weir and Site". NSW Heritage Branch. Retrieved 21 November 2010.
  11. "Italian Story". Stateline. ABC Online. 2004. Archived from the original on 4 November 2012. Retrieved 21 April 2019.
  12. "Aussie Bob, the panel beater who became a millionaire". The Age. 16 May 1983.
  13. "Sikh community continues tsunami relief efforts". ABCNews. 4 January 2005.
  14. 2014 Wine Industry Directory
  15. "Hermit's Cave Complex". New South Wales State Heritage Register . Office of Environment and Heritage. H01766. Retrieved 18 May 2018.
  16. Linacre, Edward; Geerts, Bart (1997). Climates and Weather Explained. London: Routledge. p. 379. ISBN   0-415-12519-7.
  17. 1 2 "Climate statistics for Griffith Airport AWS". Climate Data Online. Bureau of Meteorology . Retrieved 27 October 2010.
  18. "Griffith Airport AWS - Daily maximum temperature data 2017". Climate Data Online. Bureau of Meteorology. Retrieved 21 April 2019.
  19. "Griffith Airport AWS - Daily maximum temperature data 2019". Climate Data Online. Bureau of Meteorology. Retrieved 21 April 2019.
  20. "Sustainable Agriculture in the Lower Murrumbidgee Catchment" (PDF). European Geosciences Union. Institute of Hydromechanics and Water Resources Management. Retrieved 10 October 2008.
  21. "Vacations Griffith - Australia". Retrieved 28 February 2010.
  22. "Union fears more Baiada job cuts". 31 July 2009. Retrieved 28 February 2010.
  23. From Penfolds to Patricks Pollard, Neville Australian Railway History, February; March; April 2008 pp39-57; 75-89; 111-117
  24. "Southern timetable" (PDF). NSW Trainlink. 30 September 2018.
  25. V/Line Shepparton Timetable Archived 6 September 2015 at the Wayback Machine
  26. Tyson, Ross (28 March 2008). "Council says no to lights". The Area News . Fairfax Digital. Archived from the original on 8 July 2012. Retrieved 8 April 2008.
  27. Tyson, Ross (5 February 2010). "Busy intersection lights up". The Area News. Fairfax Digital. Archived from the original on 6 July 2011. Retrieved 6 February 2010.
  28. BirdLife International. (2011). Important Bird Areas factsheet: Griffith Wetlands. Downloaded from on 30/06/2011.
  29. 1 2 3 4 "International Relations". Griffith City Council. Archived from the original on 22 March 2012. Retrieved 8 August 2013.
  30. "Doings in Different Districts". The Riverine Grazier . New South Wales, Australia. 17 November 1942. p. 1. Retrieved 13 May 2016 via National Library of Australia.
  31. Australian Military Records
  32. "Area Herald" Newspaper 10 November 1942

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