Buronga

Noted explorer Captain Charles Sturt and his party were almost certainly the first white men to pass by the future site of Buronga during their historic exploration of the Murray River in the 1830s.

After that, an increasing number of Europeans passed through, the majority overlanders (drovers) taking stock to the Adelaide markets, but others were pioneering graziers taking up the 'vacant' Crown Land between the Murray and the Lower Darling Rivers.

Buronga, as we know it today, was part of the huge Tapio run, formed when the Federal Government decided to formalise lease rights to the land in the 1840s.

Tapio was taken up in 1846 and subsequently divided into three smaller runs -- Wamberra, Turlee and Tapio by owner Ben Chaffey, a founding father of the Mildura irrigation settlement.

The Western Lands Board set aside land for a temporary common and future public purposes in the early 1900s, but it was the continuing irrigation land allocations on the Victorian side that forced many people to settle as squatters on the New South Wales bank of the Murray River.

Opposite the bustling river port of Mildura, the vacant Buronga area became home to those unable to afford to live on the Victorian side.

The squatters' river environment provided plenty of wood, water and a continuous, free supply of fat ducks, fish and river crayfish, while their 'humpy' (crude shack) homes dotted the riverbank.

Originally known as 'Hendy Town' and later 'Mildura Bridge, NSW', Buronga didn't really start to take shape until the1930s when the Western Lands Commission officially named it.

The catalyst was increased road traffic along what was to become the Sturt Highway. However, in those early days, it was little more than a rutted track used as a stock route, for local travel and as the route for the thrice-weekly mail service, from Euston through to Wentworth.

Residential development was greatly accelerated by the arrival of electricity in 1951 and reticulated water in 1955. Streets were formalised and named about the same time.

Buronga had a reputation as a rough and ready place in the early days, but has since grown and prospered as the arable land around has been developed.

Today it is a modern, close-knit country community based on light industry, horticulture and viticulture.