Just over 100 years after it was established, the majority of Bonegilla was under water.
In 1835 Charles Ebden took up the Bonegilla pastoral run. The name is thought to be derived from an Aboriginal word meaning deep water hole or big cattle camp, both of which would be accurate. Much of the development of the town was due to the Cudgewa railway line which opened in 1889 (and closed in 1981). The line was used both in the development of and transporting materials for the Snowy Mountains Scheme.
Though the establishment of Lake Hume in 1936 would drown the town, Bonegilla would become the temporary home for over 320,000 migrants when the military camp, originally harbouring prisoners-of-war, would be turned into a short term immigration reception centre. Up to 5,000 lived there on some occasions (the local primary school struggled with erratic school populations and over 40 nationalities), and it’s now estimated that over 1.5 million Australians are descended from migrants who spent time at Bonegilla.
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North East Water
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