The earliest record of residents in the present town area is dated 1848. By which time a few settlers had built rough homes on the banks of the Murrimboola Creek then part of the squatting lease of John Harris.
They believed that, eventually the site would be proclaimed a village. However, the transfer of the lease to Miles Murphy, followed by his notices to quit, soon shattered their hopes. The settlers immediately (1856) applied to the Government to have the boundaries of the proposed village of Cunningar (14 miles east) extended to include their homes on the grounds that:
i] The Murrimboola site had a better water supply; the main road to Wagga Wagga and Gundagai and the lower Murrimbidgee passed through the centre of the land as did the road to the Lachlan from Goulburn to Yass; and
ii] any lines of railway from Sydney to Wagga Wagga and Albury must pass through, or near the land applied for.
Later in the same year James Kennedy reported gold at Demondrille (now Redbridge) and urged this as a further reason for the extension of the village boundary. After a lengthy correspondence, Murrumburrah was decided upon as the best site because of its more favourable water supplies and, also its location at the intersection of the Sydney - Wagga Wagga - Gundagai and Bathurst Roads. Although Murrumburrah was preferred, Cunningar was approved in 1857 and Murrimboola in 1858. (The official name Murrimboola, never seems to have been used locally, Murrumburrah, with or without the 'h' was preferred and the name was altered officially on March 10, 1882.)
Twenty eight years elapsed between the arrival of the first settlers and the proclamation of the village, yet town development was almost negligible - the reasons were that all the country was held by a handful of squatters whose occupancy was approved by the Government. The few settlers were looked upon as interlopers and the title of their land was most insecure. The proclamation of the village gave the settlers security of title and tenure and government protection.
Development of the town began at this point. In 1858 a Crown Land sale was held at Boorowa when 38 blocks at Cunningar and 45 blocks at Murrimboola were sold. Eighty pounds was paid for one choice block. Barnes'Store was opened in 1860. It's founder, John Barnes, was shot by the bushranger, O'Meally at Wallendbeen in 1863. Under the ownership of Barnes' heirs, the store gradually expanded until 1882 and was widely known as T & G Barnes' throughout the South West.
By 1861 a regular mail service was operating to Binalong, Wagga Wagga and Lambing Flat (Young). A flour mill was established in 1865, St Mary's Roman Catholic Church was built in 1868 and St Paul's Church of England in 1875. The Court House was erected in 1880 and the first local newspaper, 'The Murrumburrah Signal', began production in 1881.
The first brick house, 'Rosemore' was built by John Dillon in 1881 and still stands at 17 Vernon Street.
Harden Shire Council
Phone: 02 6386 0100
Fax: 02 6386 0105