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The Original Berrigan Presbyterian Church


In the early days the Anglican and Presbyterian Churches had a tacit agreement that the one with the greater number of disciples to his denomination would take charge of that area. As the Presbyterian dominated here in the early days this made the way open for their minister. This understanding came to a conclusion in February 1892, when the Advocate reports the first occasion two services were held in the School of Arts on the one day, when the Rev Trickett, Church of England minister from Urana, preached in the morning and the Rev John Dykes in the afternoon.

With the move of the Presbyterian congregation to a new parish region Rev John Valentine became the local minister. Rev Valentine was an outstanding personality, a magnificent leader, and an excellent townsman, being a foremost member of most organisations and founder of the Literary and Debating Society. The whole town mourned the loss of this wonderful main when he died suddenly at 31. The front porch was named in memory of him, the John Valentine Memorial Church.

The church was formally opened by the Moderator-General Rev Dr Bruce on 11th July 1897. In time this building was no longer able to accommodate the growing congregation and a new home was found on the corner of Davis Street and Cobram Street.

The former church is now a beautifully restored private residence.

Information and photo sourced from Berrigan Today and Yesterday by Ian Fuzzard.

The Tocumwal Golf Club


There are references in early papers of golf being played at Tocumwal before the turn of the 20th Century but unfortunately no details are available. It is known that prior to and during the First World War a club was formed and a rudimentary course was in existence south of the football oval.

In the early 1920’s a full length nine hole course was laid out on the old racecourse, a club house was built and play continued in this area until after the Second World War.

The old racecourse was flat and rather uninteresting and in 1947 the club decided to move to a site on the recreation reserve south of the bowling club. This course was ideally situated but being short and rather tricky was not conductive to enjoyable play. In addition repeated flooding from river seepages forced the club to seek a more suitable site.

Early in 1956 a lease of 150 acres of the RAAF Station was obtained on the town boundary and after six weeks the course, whilst by no means complete, was opened for rough play. The club-house was shifted to the present site and an electricity extension was completed by December 1956. The new course was nine holes, 3180 yards long (almost 3 kms), and was a very interesting course, most play being over undulating sand hills.

The course later expanded to eighteen holes and then expanded further to two eighteen hole courses as it is today. The Club today is home of the Southern PGA Trainees Championships and is ranked as a Top 100 Golf Course.

Tocumwal Golf and Bowls Club facebook page:

Photos obtained from their website:

Finley Railway Precinct


The Finley Railway Precinct is a rarity in that it is still intact, demonstrating the history and design of the first pioneer branch lines in NSW and the change from British to American railway construction techniques during the 1890s. The station building is the earliest surviving timber pioneer railway station building in NSW constructed in 1898 for the opening of the line. 

The station building is also one of only eight surviving pioneer station buildings in NSW that demonstrate the emergence of a distinct Australian style influenced by Federation sentiment and economic rationalism of the period. The precinct includes the station building, parcels office, signal box, goods shed, grain shed, crane and other related items. While many alterations have been made since 1898, including adding a standard level platform, the original station at ground level still stands. The Railway Precinct and station provides you with a history of the railway and how the town had developed from its arrival until its suspension in 1987.

The line from Berrigan to Finley was the state’s first pioneer railway, based on the traditional American ‘Pioneer’ approach of building a railway at minimum cost. This concept meant that only earth was used as ballast for the sleepers instead of the blue metal we use today), there was no raised platform and no fences on either side of the line. This allowed the railway line to be built from Narrandera to Jerilderie which made it possible for places such as Finley to have its own railway line. 

The Finley Railway Precinct has been lovingly conserved by the Finley Pioneer Railway Committee and it is well worth a visit.

Information sourced from a Finley flyer produced by the Finley Chamber of Commerce and Heritage information from NSW Government.

Barooga Cricket Club


Further on last weeks feature on the Tocumwal Cricket Club I came across some details about the Barooga Cricket Club in the book Barooga and Districts Yesterday and Today.

“In 1911 a feeble attempt was made to form a cricket club but for want of funds and the apparent impossibility of raising them, the matter has been dropped.  We can only afford to buy fishing rods over here now and wait for the closed season to end”  Quote taken from the Finley Free Press and Tocumwal Guardian.

The Cricket Club was eventually formed about 1927-1928

The two photos are off the 1931-32 premiership winners of Goulburn Valley Cricket Association and the 1982-1983 Murray Valley Cricket Association premiers.

1931-2: back; J Hodgens, J Bellis, W Wilton (Captain) Bill Nicholson, J Russell, Leigh Burkinshaw

Front; Steward Alcorn, Bill McGowan, J Clements, G Barnett (Vice Captain) JJ Russell (Wicket Keeper)

1982-3: back; D Woods, S Brooks, J Bruce, I Doherty, K Stewart, G Cameron

Front; C Allemand, B Brooks, S Maddox (Captain), S O’Dwyer, G Toohey.

Tocumwal Cricket Club


The first cricket club for Tocumwal was established in 1885, but it is believed that games may have been conducted for a few years prior with the early matches arranged between the clubs.  Regular matches were played against Barooga, Cobram, Strathmerton and Numurkah and it appears that the players certainly made a weekend of their visits to opposing clubs.  The players were so keen that matches were played on Christmas Day, New Years Day and over Easter.

On Christmas Day 1893, Tocumwal played Barooga at Barooga losing 116 to 49. In the 1888 – 89 season the Tocumwal team won every game played and claimed the premiership undefeated, although there was no formal competition at the time.

It is believed that the club went in to recess for both of the World Wars and had a few other times of low numbers or inactivity.

The photo we have featured today is of the A Grade Premiers of 1972-73, from left Ross Robbins, John Glanvill, Ross Glanvill, John Arafobic, Murray Haynes, Ian Rose, Peter Glanvill, Mark Kelly, Peter Fuller, Peter Scanlon, Ron Haley (Life Member).  Seated: Des Watt (Captain)

The Momalong Hotel


The Momalong Hotel built in 1893 by Mr Curtis Drummond with the first licensee Mr John Rees.

The destruction of the Momalong Hotel in the early thirties by fire was sensational and spectacular.  However, it also carried with it tragedy as an exploding gas cylinder casting fragments in all directions saw a portion strike and cause the death of Sergeant Whitely of the police force.  Other portions also struck other bystanders too, severely injuring some.  The present substantial building was rebuilt in 1932.  This hotel has some prominent names amongst its earliest hosts; George Rintoule, an emigrant from Nhill in Victoria was in charge for a while before taking over the Federal.  His successor was Clarrie Bond, and antecedent of the present Bond family of the town, he also came from Nhill.  Later Claude Cedye, a member of a family that had much to do with early business in Berrigan, was publican here for some time.

Information sources from Berrigan Today and Yesterday by Ian Fuzzard.

Church of England Barooga


A hall was erected on the corner of Banker and Vermont Street around the late 1920s by the Brentnall Bros. And Mr William Russell.  Canon Williamson travelled from Tocumwal each Sunday for service. 

The hall during the years was used as an entertainment venue as well as for service in the district.  Many an enjoyable evening was had in the form of concerts, dances and balls. 

During World War II the Hall was shifted to Tocumwal for a recreation hall for the Air Force crews stationed there.  It was then used as the Tocumwal Kindergarten.

St Alban’s Anglican Church, Tocumwal


(Formerly Church of England)

The first recorded Church of England service was conducted by Dr Linton, Bishop of Riverina, in 1886. From 1891 the Rev Holt of Deniliquin conducted services in Hillson’s Hall on a semi-regular basis.

 In 1893 a two day Flower Show was held to raise money for an organ.

On 18 November 1897 the first resident Church of England rector, Rev Bradshaw, took over the Parish and immediately commenced an appeal for funds to build a Church. Mr GF Sugden donated the land for the Church and Rectory in December 1897, and in July 1899 tenders were called for the erection.

The foundation stone was laid by Mrs HE Casey on 19 October 1899 and the first services were held in the Church early the following year, the Rev Ward being the rector at the time.

Old Cobram Barooga Bridge for State Heritage Register


Its not a photo this week but an announcement. Adrian Piccoli, MP, our local Member for Murray sent through a letter to us last week that he received from the NSW Heritage Council. The letter is informing Mr Piccoli that the Old Cobram-Barooga Bridge is being recommended for listing on the State Heritage Register.

Council Chambers


In January 1907, following the election of the first Council in November of the year previous, moves were begun to construct Council Chambers. Plans were put in motion for the construction of what was then considered a commodious building to fully cover the needs of the Shire staff. The building however was somewhat delayed owing to the poor supply of bricks and little was left of the year by the time the Council became resident in its new domicile, a home it was to occupy for over 50 years.

From the late 1940’s there had been various suggestions about the building of a new Council Chambers and certainly with the expansion of Shire responsibilities the old building must have been overcrowded. In February 1959 a new building was constructed.

During 1994 it became obvious that the staff accommodation and council facilities had reached their use by date and required expansion and renovation. A number of options were explored and the former Murray River Electricity building next door was purchased with plans to join the two buildings together. To this point the project was progressing with good co-operation. This was however to be short lived as a bank foreclosure on the operation of the Tocumwal Bowling Club saw a low cost accommodation option appear. The Council purchased the building and announced its relocation.

This proposal saw Berrigan residents show their displeasure with a public rally being held and the respective Council camps moving to their corners; war was well and truly on. Fortunately, common sense prevailed and a group of emerging Berrigan leaders facilitated a deal that saw the Council provided with a parcel of land opposite the existing Shire Office in exchange for the former Murray River Electricity building with the Berrigan and District Development Association funding a shortfall in the exchange values. The new offices were opened in 1999.

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