Leeton, New South Wales

Last updated

Leeton
New South Wales
Leeton War Memorial.jpg
Leeton War Memorial
Australia New South Wales location map blank.svg
Red pog.svg
Leeton
Coordinates 34°34′0″S146°24′0″E / 34.56667°S 146.40000°E / -34.56667; 146.40000 Coordinates: 34°34′0″S146°24′0″E / 34.56667°S 146.40000°E / -34.56667; 146.40000
Population11,168 (2016 census) [1]
Established2 April 1913
Postcode(s) 2705
Elevation138.3 m (454 ft)
Location
LGA(s) Leeton Shire
County Cooper
Parish Willimbong
State electorate(s) Murray
Federal Division(s) Farrer
Mean max tempMean min tempAnnual rainfall
23.0 °C
73 °F
10.3 °C
51 °F
432.0 mm
17 in

Leeton is a town located in the Riverina region of southern New South Wales, Australia. Situated approximately 550 km west of Sydney and 450 km north of Melbourne in the Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area, [2] it is the administrative centre of the Leeton Shire Council local government area. Leeton's urban population in 2016 was 8,623 [1] . Situated in one of the most productive farming regions in the state, the town was designed by Walter Burley Griffin and purpose-built for the irrigation schemes announced by the New South Wales government in the early 1900s. [2] [3] [4] Citrus, rice, cotton, grapes, walnuts and wheat farms can all be found throughout the Leeton Shire. Leeton is renowned as Australia's Rice Capital and as The Heart of SunRice Country, as it is home to the SunRice headquarters. [5] [6] Other industry includes Freedom Foods, the Daily Drinks Co., JBS Australia, Webster Limited (walnuts and cotton) [7] and Murrumbidgee Irrigation Limited. [8]

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.

Australia Country in Oceania

Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania and numerous smaller islands. It is the largest country in Oceania and the world's sixth-largest country by total area. The neighbouring countries are Papua New Guinea, Indonesia and East Timor to the north; the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu to the north-east; and New Zealand to the south-east. The population of 25 million is highly urbanised and heavily concentrated on the eastern seaboard. Australia's capital is Canberra, and its largest city is Sydney. The country's other major metropolitan areas are Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide.

Contents

History

Burley Griffin Water Towers Burley Griffin Water Towers.jpg
Burley Griffin Water Towers

Prior to European settlement, the area was inhabited by the Wiradjuri people. The town is named after Charles Alfred Lee, a Minister for Public Works in New South Wales from 1904 to 1910. [9] [10]

The Wiradjuri people are a group of Indigenous Australian Aboriginal people that were united by a common language, strong ties of kinship and survived as skilled hunter–fisher–gatherers in family groups or clans scattered throughout central New South Wales.

Charles Lee (Australian politician) New South Wales politician and Leader of the Opposition

Charles Alfred Lee JP was an Australian shopkeeper and conservative parliamentarian who served in the New South Wales Legislative Assembly for 35 years. Serving from 1884 for Tenterfield, he entered the Free Trade Party cabinet of George Reid in 1898 as Minister for Justice and briefly as Secretary for Public Works in 1899 until he returned to opposition in late 1899. Following Federation and the change of focus of the old party system in 1901, Lee was elected as the compromise leader of the new Liberal Reform Party and consequently the first official Leader of the Opposition. After leading the party to electoral defeat in 1901, he resigned owing to ill health in 1902. When the Liberal Reformers won office under Sir Joseph Carruthers in 1904, he was made Secretary for Public Works. He served with distinction, overseeing the expansion of rural infrastructure, under Carruthers and his successor Charles Wade, until the government lost office to the Labor Party in 1910. He thereafter served in the backbenches until his retirement to Tenterfield in 1920, where he died six years later.

Single Burley Griffin Water Tower in 1912/1913 Water Tower Leeton 1912-13.jpg
Single Burley Griffin Water Tower in 1912/1913

In 1912 a water tower was built to supply water to the then tent town. [11] Leeton Post Office opened on 6 September 1912. [12]

Water tower elevated structure supporting a water tank

A water tower is an elevated structure supporting a water tank constructed at a height sufficient to pressurize a water supply system for the distribution of potable water, and to provide emergency storage for fire protection. In some places, the term standpipe is used interchangeably to refer to a water tower. Water towers often operate in conjunction with underground or surface service reservoirs, which store treated water close to where it will be used. Other types of water towers may only store raw (non-potable) water for fire protection or industrial purposes, and may not necessarily be connected to a public water supply.

In 1913 when the Water Conservation and Irrigation Commission of New South Wales was formed Leeton was only a canvas town, the only houses being those built on farms by settlers and houses for its officers by the Commission. [13] On 3 April 1913 the first block of land was sold in the town. During 1913 a kurrajong tree which became known as the Pioneers' Tree, was planted as a feature in Kurrajong Avenue, and a butter factory was established in the town. [14]

<i>Brachychiton</i> genus of plants

Brachychiton is a genus of 31 species of trees and large shrubs, native to Australia, and New Guinea. Fossils from New South Wales and New Zealand are estimated to be 50 million years old, corresponding to the Paleogene.

In 1914 World War I broke out; of the town's population of 2000 people, 200 men were serving in the armed forces making it difficult to maintain the plantings in the irrigation area. During 1914 and 1915 an abattoir and canning factory were established in the town. [14]

In August 1913 Walter Burley Griffin visited the town to complete its design. [11] [15]

Historic Hydro Hotel Historic Hydro Motor Inn.jpg
Historic Hydro Hotel

In 1919 the Hydro Hotel was constructed for Water Conservation and Irrigation Commission executives to stay whilst in Leeton but was not licensed to sell alcohol until 1924 when the alcohol prohibition in the Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area was lifted. [16]

During 1920 the Water Conservation and Irrigation Commission of New South Wales began to pressure the Government for relief for being responsible for providing civic and local government services with the Commission stating "revenue which comes mainly from rents and water charges, having remained unchanged, is insufficient to cover the cost of local government services now that the weekly wage is more than double the figure paid when the settlement started". [17] The Commission chose and appointed an Advisory Board which was made up of pioneer farmers which already had been in operation in the Yanco area since 1913. In June 1925 the Commission released its annual report stating that a Royal Commission recommended setting up of local government bodies within the Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area but no date had been decided. [17]

On 1 January 1928 the Willimbong Shire was formed with the name "Willimbong" being retained until 19 July 1946 when it was renamed as Leeton Shire. [18]

Roxy Theatre Roxy Theatre.jpg
Roxy Theatre

In 1929 the Roxy Theatre was built on a large vacant block of land on the corner of Wade and Pine Avenue and was completed and opened in April 1930. [19]

In 1930 Willimbong Shire become the trustee of the Leeton Racecourse, established in 1912, when the land was gazetted as a reserve for racing, public recreation and aviation. In August 1931 Southern Cross became the first aircraft to officially landing at the aerodrome. During 1935 work was done at the aerodrome for it to be licensed to take aircraft including commercial aircraft. [20] In August 1935 Western and Southern Provincial (W.A.S.P.) Airlines commenced an air service between Leeton and Sydney however the service was ended in 1936 when a Tugan Gannet aircraft used by W.A.S.P. Airlines crashed on 26 February 1936 in the Cordeaux Dam area. [20]

In July 1938 it was proposed to the Willimbong Shire by the Civil Aviation Board that an area around Fivebough could be developed into an aerodrome since the Leeton Aerodrome at the race course was too small and could only operate on a restricted licence. [20] Willimbong Shire agreed to lease the land with preliminary work carried out on the site however the aerodrome was never used by any commercial airline. [20]

During World War II, the Royal Australian Air Force established a training school in the nearby town of Narrandera which was a large aerodrome. After this a report from the Department of Civil Aviation stated that Fivebough was eminently suitable as an aerodrome but strongly recommended that they should consider jointly operating the aerodrome with Narrandera Shire. [20]

During the early part of the 1930s Willimbong Shire took over the town water supply when it also became apparent that the town needed a second water tower which was constructed next to the first tower with the construction completed on 27 March 1937. [11]

Leeton & District Memorial Swimming Pool Leeton Memorial Swimming Pool.jpg
Leeton & District Memorial Swimming Pool

The Swimming baths in Leeton was constructed by voluntary labour in 1931 and was completed on 24 February 1932. [21] The Leeton Swimming Club made a request that the swimming baths be replaced by a modern swimming complex. In 1959 money was raised though the Irrigana Festival, which was a biennial festival in the town, with the Leeton Shire obtaining a loan with construction starting on the complex. [21] On 17 November 1962 the Leeton & District Memorial Swimming Pool was opened. [21]

Rice growing became a major industry during World War II under Government promotion to help supply food for troops. A number of local farmers, some such as teenager Norm Houghton, pioneered the planting of new varieties to suit the local conditions. [22] The Irrigana Festival began in 1959 as a biennial festival but was short lived due to it lacking strong publicity value even though the festival was successful with fund raising. The name "Irrigana" was chosen from a competition in the Murrumbidgee Irrigator, [23] In 1970 a biennial festival returned in the town known as the "Rice Bowl Festival". By 1988 the festival was renamed to "Sunwhite Rice Festival" with sponsorship from the Ricegrowers Co-Operative Limited. [23]

Heritage listings

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

Education

War memorial LeetonWarMemorial.JPG
War memorial

Leeton is the second largest educational centre in the Riverina after Wagga Wagga.

Leeton Shire has three secondary schools:

Leeton Shire has six primary schools:

Other education includes:

Climate

Leeton has a semi-arid climate (BSk), with hot dry summers and cool winters. [30] [31]

Climate data for Leeton Caravan Park
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Record high °C (°F)44.3
(111.7)
43.9
(111.0)
38.3
(100.9)
32.4
(90.3)
27.2
(81.0)
28.3
(82.9)
25.2
(77.4)
25.0
(77.0)
33.5
(92.3)
36.0
(96.8)
41.4
(106.5)
42.2
(108.0)
44.3
(111.7)
Average high °C (°F)31.9
(89.4)
31.2
(88.2)
28.2
(82.8)
22.9
(73.2)
18.1
(64.6)
14.7
(58.5)
13.9
(57.0)
15.8
(60.4)
19.3
(66.7)
23.0
(73.4)
27.0
(80.6)
30.2
(86.4)
23.0
(73.4)
Average low °C (°F)17.2
(63.0)
17.2
(63.0)
14.6
(58.3)
10.4
(50.7)
7.0
(44.6)
4.6
(40.3)
3.7
(38.7)
4.6
(40.3)
6.6
(43.9)
9.7
(49.5)
12.7
(54.9)
15.6
(60.1)
10.3
(50.5)
Record low °C (°F)8.4
(47.1)
7.8
(46.0)
3.9
(39.0)
1.7
(35.1)
−1.2
(29.8)
−3.9
(25.0)
−3.9
(25.0)
−3.2
(26.2)
−2.7
(27.1)
0.6
(33.1)
4.0
(39.2)
6.1
(43.0)
−3.9
(25.0)
Average precipitation mm (inches)32.4
(1.28)
30.6
(1.20)
33.1
(1.30)
35.0
(1.38)
39.2
(1.54)
39.8
(1.57)
37.1
(1.46)
40.9
(1.61)
37.4
(1.47)
44.7
(1.76)
30.8
(1.21)
31.2
(1.23)
432.3
(17.02)
Average rainy days4.03.74.05.17.28.69.69.67.77.35.04.776.5
Source: [32]

Transport

Leeton railway station sign Leeton Railway Station and platform (3).jpg
Leeton railway station sign

Leeton is well connected to the surrounding regional centres and capital cities. Leeton is approximately 450 km from Melbourne along the Newell, Goulburn Valley and Hume Highways and 550 km from Sydney along the Sturt and Hume Highways. There are daily flights leaving Narrandera Airport, operated by Regional Express. The airport is located near the shire boundary approximately 20 km from the CBD. There are coach services to Sydney and Adelaide, leaving Leeton Coach Terminal in Gidgee Street daily. NSW TrainLink also operates coach services to Wagga Wagga connecting with XPT services to Sydney and Melbourne. A Xplorer service to Griffith calls at Leeton railway station on Saturdays with the return service to Sydney calling on Sundays.

Industry

Ricegrowers Limited, operating as SunRice and CopRice, is by far Leeton's largest employer. It's international headquarters are located in the town, as well a rice mill and manufacturing plants. Other major companies includes The Daily Juice Company, JSB Australia (as a subsidiary of JBS S.A.), Murrumbidgee Irrigation Limited , Pacific Fresh,Toorak Wines, Lillypilly Wines and Southern Central Engineering, as well as Freedom Foods, located in Stanbridge and Southern Cotton, located in Whitton. [8] [33]

The extensive Vance Industrial Estate houses many smaller scale industrial companies.

Attractions

St Peter's Anglican Church LeetonAnglicanChurch.JPG
St Peter's Anglican Church

Leeton has a number of town landmarks, including the Roxy Theatre, War Memorial, Madonna Place, St Peter's Church, and the historic Hydro Motor Inn which are located in the centre of town. The Burley Griffin water towers located on Chelmsford Place are an iconic feature of the town.

Outdoors

The Ramsar-listed Fivebough and Tuckerbil Wetlands as well as the nearby Murrumbidgee River and Murrumbidgee Valley National Park provide ample opportunities for bush-walking and bird-watching. [34] [35]

Food and Wine

Restaurants and eateries available in Leeton include The Village Restaurant, Benvenuti Restaurant, Chan's Chinese Restaurant, Crate Cafe, The Coffee Tree, Mick's Bakehouse, Pages on Pine Restaurant and Grill, Leeton Soldiers Club, Henry's Chung Hing Chinese Restaurant, Hotel Leeton, L&D Bowling Club, Wade Hotel and La Fresco Cafe. [36]

Leeton is also home to two award-winning wineries, Lillipilly Estate Wines and Toorak Winery. Both wineries use locally grown grapes to create their wine, and each feature a cellar-door where customers can sample and purchase their products. Together, they offer a selection of red and white wines, as well as Botrytis dessert wines and fortified wines. [36] [37] [38]

Retail

Pine Avenue forms part of the main street of Leeton Pine Avenue.jpg
Pine Avenue forms part of the main street of Leeton

Leeton's main shopping areas include Pine Avenue and Kurrajong Avenue, as well as the town's two shopping complexes, Leeton Market Plaza (opened in 2006) [39] and the Woolworths & Target Complex on Wamoon Avenue. [40] [41] Other retailers include: Best & Less, Aldi, The Reject Shop, IGA, St. Vincent de Paul's and McDonald's.

Media

Leeton has its own newspaper known as The Irrigator (formerly known as The Murrumbidgee Irrigator ) which is released throughout the region on Tuesday and Friday. [6] Leeton also has influences on the Star FM (99.7) and 2RG radio stations which are based in Griffith. WIN Television also broadcasts the local news of the Riverina on weeknights.

Notable citizens

Notable citizens originating from Leeton include former deputy leader of the NSW Labor Party and current federal MP for the NSW seat of Barton Linda Burney, Australian Labor Party Senator John Faulkner; Country Women's Association founder Lorna Gill; National Rugby League footballer Rod Maybon; professional road bicycle racer Robert McLachlan; National Rugby League footballer and commentator Peter Peters; current National Rugby League players Jeff Robson, Clint Halden and Mark Nicholls (rugby league); former captain of the Australia national cricket team, cricketer and commentator Mark Taylor; consumer advocate Helen Wellings; AFL players Craig Nettelbeck, Max Kruse, Jacob Hopper and Jacob Townsend.

Australian poet and writer Henry Lawson lived in Leeton for two years, from 1916 to 1917. Lawson had been hired to write about the Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area to attract settlers to the area. [42] [43]

Related Research Articles

Narrandera Town in New South Wales, Australia

Narrandera until around 1949 also spelled "Narandera", is a town located in the Riverina region of southern New South Wales, Australia. The town lies on the junction of the Newell and Sturt highways, adjacent to the Murrumbidgee River, and it is considered the gateway to the Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area. At the 2016 census, Narrandera had a population of 3,746 people.

Griffith, New South Wales City in New South Wales, Australia

Griffith 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. Griffith was named after Arthur Hill Griffith, the first New South Wales Minister of Public Works. Griffith was proclaimed a city in 1987, and had a population of 19,144 in 2016.

Yanco Town in New South Wales, Australia

Yanco is a village with a population of 505 in Leeton Shire in south western New South Wales, Australia. Yanco is a Wiradjuri aboriginal language word meaning the sound of running water. Yanco is located 3 kilometres (1.9 mi) from Leeton along Irrigation Way. Yanco is home to the Powerhouse Museum, McCaughey Park, Murrumbidgee Rural Studies Centre and Yanco Agricultural High School.

Murrumbidgee Shire Local government area in New South Wales, Australia

Murrumbidgee Shire was a local government area in the Riverina region of south western New South Wales, Australia. The Shire was located adjacent to the Murrumbidgee River and the Newell Highway.

Narrandera Airport airport serving the town of Narrandera and Leeton, Australia

Narrandera Airport is a small regional airport in the local government area of Narrandera in the Riverina region of New South Wales, Australia. The airport is located 4 nautical miles northwest of Narrandera along Irrigation Way. The airport services the towns of Leeton and Narrandera as it is located between the two towns.

Leeton railway station

Leeton railway station is a heritage-listed former goods yard and railway station and now bus station and railway station is located on the Yanco-Griffith line at Dunn Avenue in Leeton in the Leeton Shire local government area of New South Wales, Australia. It is also known as Leeton Railway Station and yard group. The property is owned by RailCorp, an ageiny of the Government of New South Wales. It was added to the New South Wales State Heritage Register on 2 April 1999.

Leeton High School

Leeton High School is a coeducational, public high school located in Leeton in the Riverina region of New South Wales, Australia. The school was officially opened in 1926 as Leeton's first high school and is now one of three secondary schools serving the Leeton Shire operated by the New South Wales Department of Education.

Leeton Shire Local government area in New South Wales, Australia

Leeton Shire is a local government area in the Riverina region of New South Wales, Australia. The Shire is located adjacent to the Murrumbidgee River and falls within the Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area.

Irrigation Way road in New South Wales

The Irrigation Way is a major regional highway that runs approximately 81 kilometres (50 mi) through the Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area in south western New South Wales, Australia. Irrigation Way runs through three local government areas.

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.

Coleambally Town in New South Wales, Australia

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

Grong Grong Town in New South Wales, Australia

Grong Grong is a small town that is located in the Riverina region of New South Wales, Australia. The town is situated on the Newell Highway, 23 kilometres (14 mi) east of Narrandera in the Shire of Narrandera.

Berrigan Shire Local government area in New South Wales, Australia

Berrigan Shire is a local government area in the southern Riverina region of New South Wales, Australia. The Shire lies on the New South Wales State border with Victoria formed by the Murray River. The Shire is adjacent to the Newell and Riverina Highways. The Shire is a mainly agricultural region, with dairying, cattle raising, woolgrowing and cropping the main activities. The vast majority of the Shire is irrigated. Tourism is another major activity, concentrated on the river towns of Tocumwal and Barooga.

City of Griffith Local government area in New South Wales, Australia

The City of Griffith is a local government area in Riverina region of south-western New South Wales, Australia. The area comprises 1,640 square kilometres (630 sq mi) and is located in the Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area and on Kidman Way.

Alan Robert Lindsay "Lin" Gordon was an Australian politician. He was the Labor member for Murrumbidgee in the New South Wales Legislative Assembly from 1970 to 1984. He was Minister for Conservation and Water Resources from 1976 to 1981, Minister for Local Government and Lands from 1981 to 1984, and Minister for Lands and Ports for a few months in 1984.

Deniliquin Town in New South Wales, Australia

Deniliquin, known locally as "Deni", is a town in the Riverina region of New South Wales close to the border with Victoria. It is the largest town in the Edward River Council local government area.

<i>Irrigation Record</i>

The Irrigation Record was a fortnightly newspaper published in Leeton, New South Wales, Australia from 15 February 1913 to 15 June 1917 by the NSW Water Conservation and Irrigation Commission. Its purpose was to educate new settlers of the fledgling Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area (MIA), about agricultural methods, irrigation techniques, crops, stock and machinery.

Murrumbidgee Council Local government area in New South Wales, Australia

Murrumbidgee Council is a local government area in the Riverina region of New South Wales, Australia. This area was formed in 2016 from the merger of the Murrumbidgee Shire with the neighbouring Jerilderie Shire.

Leeton District Office artefacts

The Leeton District Office artefacts is a heritage-listed collection of artefacts at a waterworks at Chelmsford Place, Leeton in the Leeton Shire local government area of New South Wales, Australia. It is also known as Leeton District Office - Artefacts in Reception Lobby Showcase 1. The property is owned by Department of Planning and Infrastructure, an agency of the Government of New South Wales. It was added to the New South Wales State Heritage Register on 2 April 1999.

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