Walgett Website and Business Directory

History

The area was inhabited by the Gamilaroi (also spelt Kamilaroi) Nation of Indigenous peoples before white settlement. A post office was gazetted for "Wallgett on the Barwin River" in 1851 and the town sites were surveyed in 1859. The district would have been occupied prior to this by squatters and their livestock.[4] The town of Walgett was proclaimed on 20 March 1885. The surveyor Arthur Dewhurst mapped the town, naming three streets after British Prime Ministers: Fox (main street—Castlereagh Highway), Pitt and Peel. Arthur Street was named after another surveyor. Walgett Courthouse was built in 1865.[5]

Walgett was a port in the late 19th century for paddle steamers that plied the Murray-Darling river system. The first steamer reached Walgett in 1861 and travelled to the town regularly until c.1870.[4]

Euroka Station, 10 miles (16 km) south of the town on the Castlereagh Highway, was purchased by Fred Wolseley in 1876 and was the site of the invention of the Wolseley Shearing Machine. The machine was tested at Bourke in 1888 on 184,000 sheep and eventually revolutionised the shearing industry.

Walgett's history includes the Freedom Rides in the mid-1960s.[6] The Freedom Riders, consisting in the main of Sydney university students, including Charles Perkins, arrived in Walgett on 15 February 1965. They protested outside the Walgett RSL Club because they had been told the club was refusing to admit Indigenous ex-servicemen. They also picketed a ladies' dress shop (Sheehan's), protesting the fact that the proprietor would not allow Indigenous women to try on dresses.[citation needed] After their protests the Freedom Riders left town and headed for Narrabri, when a short distance from town their bus was forced off the road by a car driven by a local farmer. This event led to Walgett, the Freedom Riders and the plight of Indigenous Australians receiving national and international media attention.[7]

 

(exert from Wikapedia)