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Goulburn Local History

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Goulburn, located in the Southern Tablelands of New South Wales, Australia, is a city known for its rich history and diverse culture. From the Wiradjuri Indigenous people who were the original inhabitants of the region, to the early European explorers and settlers, and the city's present-day residents, Goulburn has a long and fascinating history that has shaped its development over the centuries.

Indigenous History

The Wiradjuri people were the first to call this land home. They are one of the largest Aboriginal groups in New South Wales and one of the most mobile. The Wiradjuri traditional territory stretches from the Blue Mountains in the east, across the central west plains, to the Murray River in the south. Archaeological evidence indicates that the Wiradjuri people have occupied this region for tens of thousands of years.

Before the arrival of Europeans, the Wiradjuri people had a rich culture based on a deep knowledge of the natural world around them. They were skilled in hunting and fishing, while also having in-depth knowledge of the medicinal properties of plants and other natural resources in the area.

The Wiradjuri people were also exceptional artists, creating intricate designs as part of their cultural traditions and using ochre and other natural pigments to decorate their bodies and sacred objects. Their culture and traditions formed an integral part of the region, and their legacy continues to influence Goulburn's lifestyle and culture today.

European Settlement and Development

European settlement in the area began in the early 1800s when explorers and settlers, looking for new lands to settle and graze their livestock, ventured into the Southern Tablelands. Goulburn was initially established as a base for agriculture and sheep farming, and over time it evolved into a thriving commercial and cultural center for the region.

The city's first major building, The Old Governor's Residence, was constructed in 1834. Over the years, more buildings were erected, including St Saviour's Cathedral, which was built in 1874 and remains one of Goulburn's most iconic landmarks.

During this period, Goulburn became an important transportation hub, with the construction of the Great Southern Railway in the 1860s and the Hume Highway in the early 1900s. These developments helped to connect Goulburn to major cities across Australia and made it easier for people and goods to travel in and out of the region.

Goulburn Today

Today, Goulburn is a thriving city with a rich cultural heritage. It is known for its vibrant arts and cultural scene, its historic buildings and landmarks, and its stunning natural beauty.

Goulburn is also a destination for farming, agriculture, and sheep farming. The city's rich agricultural history is reflected in the annual Goulburn Show, which is held in February, and attracts visitors from all over the region.

Goulburn's economy is also supported by a wide range of industries, including manufacturing, retail, and tourism. The city's location, just two hours south of Sydney, makes it an ideal gateway to the wider New South Wales region, with many visitors using Goulburn as a base to explore the stunning Southern Tablelands and other nearby attractions.


Goulburn is a city with a rich history and cultural heritage that has evolved over centuries. From the region's first inhabitants, the Wiradjuri people, to the European settlers who established the city's infrastructure, Goulburn's history has shaped the city and its people in countless ways.

Today, Goulburn is a thriving city with a vibrant arts and cultural scene, a rich agricultural history, and a diverse economy supported by a range of industries. The city's location and natural beauty make it an ideal destination for visitors looking to explore the wider New South Wales region, and its cultural landmarks and attractions draw visitors from all over the world.

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The striking yellow flowers of canola growing in Goulburn thanks to Phillip Minnis
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