The history of farming in the Wagga Wagga district is extensive, so I have chosen three books from local history that cover some diverse facets of the farming industry.
Heroes of the long paddock, by Chris Anderson, is a collection of interviews with drovers in regional New South Wales. Areas covered include Gundagai, Hillston, Deniliquin, and Howlong. Combining interviews, historical information, stories, photographs from the personal archives of the drovers and occasional poetry by the author, this book gives an insight into a rarely spoken about part of farming in Australia.
Just in case you didn't know, the long paddock refers to the public stock routes where drovers take cattle and sheep to provide food relief in times of drought.
Dairying: from foundation to deregulation by Des Cowley, is a detailed history of the dairying industry in Wagga Wagga and the surrounding district and shows a very active dairy industry in Wagga Wagga. The first dairy established was at Orange Tree Point in East Wagga Wagga, right next to the Murrumbidgee River, in 1890. This dairy was destroyed in a flood in June 1891.
In following years there was an increase in dairying , with dairies and butter factories popping up in Ganmain, Cootamundra, Temora and Leeton, to name a few.
This history covers every aspect of the commercial dairy industry in the area from early years right through changes in dairy technology and it's impact, to the foundation of of the Murrumbidgee Dairy Products company to deregulation in the 1990s. Accompanied by black and white photographs and statistics.
Above , detail : Dairying , from foundation to deregulation, by Des Cowley
Australian woolsheds, by Harry Sowden, was originally published in 1972, with reprints through to 1980. Filled with beautiful black and white photographs of shearing sheds across Australia, with New South Wales well represented, including Lockhart and other towns in the district. The old Urangeline shed at Lockhart is a particularly stunning piece of work, showing the complex carpentry needed to construct shearing sheds during the heyday of the sheep station.
There is also a short history of the wool industry in Australia and photographs of early machine shearing handpieces.
Above : detail showing a section of the old Urangeline shearing shed in Lockhart
As always, all these local studies items are available to look at within the library.