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Albury, New South Wales

Albury is a city in New South Wales, Australia, located on the Hume Highway on the northern side of the Murray River. Albury is the second major city of the Riverina and the second largest inland city in New South Wales.

Albury is a city in New South Wales, Australia, located on the Hume Highway on the northern side of the Murray River. It is also a Local Government Area, administered by Albury City Council. Albury is the second major city of the Riverina and the second largest inland city in New South Wales, behind Wagga Wagga. In 2006 the urban centre of Albury was home to a population of 43,787. It is approximately 550 km from the state capital Sydney, but only 325 km from the Victorian capital Melbourne. It is separated by the Murray from its twin city in Victoria, Wodonga. Together the two cities form an urban area with a population of 82,974.



Albury is situated above the river flats of the Murray River, in the foothills of the Great Dividing Range. At the airport, Albury is 164 metres above sea level (539 feet).



Albury has a warm, temperate, four-season climate, with cool to mild winters and very warm to hot summers. In summer, the mean daily maximum temperature is around 30 degrees Celsius; however, this is subject to substantial daily variation. An average of 17 days with a maximum above 35 degrees occur in this summer period. Mean winter maximums are around 14 Celsius. Frosts are commonplace in winter, with approximately 20 days per year featuring minimums of below freezing.

Albury's mean annual rainfall is about 736 millimetres; more than Melbourne but less than Sydney. Rain can occur all year round, but the majority falls in the winter months with August's high mean of 88 millimetres comparing with the February low of 34 millimetres.In common with much of the non-tropical parts of Australia, there is very substantial annual variation in rainfall. Albury's place at the foothills of the ranges puts it in somewhat of a climatic transition zone; to the north and west, the inland plains are hotter and drier, while the range itself to the east is cooler and wetter.


City and suburbs

The city itself comprises a number of suburbs.

Central Albury comprises the central business district (CBD) and lies between the railway line, the Murray River and Monument Hill.

Forrest Hill lies directly north east and covers the saddle between Monument Hill and Nail Can Hill, whilst west over the ridge lies West Albury. West Albury is primarily a residential area, but it is home to the War Memorial (locally known as the Monument), Riverwood Retirement Village, Albury Wodonga Private Hospital (which lies on the corner of Pemberton Street and the Riverina Highway), and the Albury sewerage treatment plant. All of West Albury was once wetland and bush. The only remaining remnant of this is Horseshoe Lagoon to the south-west of the suburb, which has been declared a Wildlife Refuge by NSW Parks & Wildlife.

To the north-west of West Albury is Pemberton Park, which is a large housing estate, and is probably one of the fastest-growing suburbs in Albury.

East Albury lies east of the railway line/freeway from the CBD and houses cover the Eastern hill whilst the flat land directly north of it is covered by parkland, housing, and further east, light industries as well as the city's airport. East Albury is set to boom from the freeway's development. Harvey Norman & Spotlight superstores have already been built west of the airport. The Mungabareena Reserve lies on the Murray south of the airport, and is considered an Aboriginal cultural site of some significance. Mungabareena means "meeting place".

South Albury is a mix of residential and industrial areas, whilst the floodplains south of the railway line are used for farming and grazing. Flood mitigation works in the 1990s have dramatically reduced the risk of flooding in the residential areas of South Albury.

North Albury was once covered by orchards and vineyards in the first half of the 20th century, as was a swamp where the James Fallon High School now stands, but after the second world war housing development in the area increased and Waugh Road was extended from David Street to the "Five Ways" intersection at Union Road, which ascribes the border between North Albury and Lavington. The locality of Glenroy is adjacent to North Albury, west of the Bungambrawartha Creek, and housing development was developed in the 1970s, including a significant Housing Commission public housing estate.

Lavington was absorbed into the City of Albury local government area from the Hume Shire in the 1950s and housing and commercial development continued from that point until this day. The current Hume Highway, named Wagga Road, passes north-east, and Urana Road passes north-west though the suburb from the "Five Ways" or "Roundabout" road junction. The suburb also takes in the localities of Springdale Heights, Hamilton Valley and Norris Park.

Thurgoona, to the east of Lavington, was established as a new residential suburb by the Albury Wodonga Development Corporation in the 1970s. In the 1990s a new campus of the Charles Sturt University was established here, as was an office of the Murray Darling Freshwater Research Centre.

Further outlying localities include Splitters Creek, a small residential/farming community to the west, Ettamogah (famed for the Ettamogah Pub & the "Oz'e Wildlife Centre), Bowna and Table Top to the north, and Wirlinga and the Hume Weir village to the east. Howlong (20km west) and Jindera (16km north) are the closest towns outside of the Albury city area, and act as commuter dormitories as well as service centres for the local rural industry.


Lake Hume

Lake Hume is situated on the Murray River upstream of Albury. It was constructed in the 1930s for irrigation purposes and has caused significant changes to the flow patterns and ecology of the Murray River.

Before the construction of the Hume Dam, flows in normal (non-drought) years were low in summer and autumn (though still significant overall), rising in winter due to seasonal rainfall and reaching a flood-peak in late spring due to snowmelt in the Murray and tributaries' alpine headwaters. The flow is effectively reversed now, with low flows in winter and sustained, relatively high flows in late spring, summer and early autumn to meet irrigation demands, although the spring flood peak has been virtually eliminated. In addition, the water released from the base of the Hume Dam is un-naturally cold. This flow reversal, temperature depression and removal of the spring flood peak has led to the drying out and loss of many billabongs and has harmed the populations of native fish of the Murray River such as the iconic Murray Cod.



There are only few remainders of the indigenous population of the area, although the Wiradjuri people occupied the area for many thousands of years before.

Little history is documented about the relationship of Aboriginal people and the European settlers.


European exploration

The explorers Hume and Hovell arrived at what is now known as the Murray river at Albury on 16 November 1824 what their maps named 'Crossing Point'. They named the river the Hume River and inscribed a tree by the riverbank on the 17th before continuing their journey south to Westernport.

A crossing place for the Murray became popular close to where Hovell inscribed the tree. In summer it was usually possible to cross the river by foot. An easier crossing was 10 miles upstream where the Hume Weir now is, however, the drovers' tracks led to Albury. A log punt was built in 1844.


European settlement

Among the first squatters to follow in the steps of the explorers and settle in the district were William Wyse and Charles Ebden.

The first European buildings erected at the crossing place were a provisions store and small huts. A survey for a town was commissioned in 1838. Assistant Surveyor Thomas Scott Townsend mapped out Woodonga Place (the present Wodonga Place) as the western boundary, Hume Street as the northern boundary, Kiewa Street to the east and Nurigong to the south, with Townsend Street being the only other north-south road, and Ebden and Hovell Streets being the other two east-west roads. On early maps, the settlement was named Bungambrewatha.

The Government gazette of April 13, 1839 states: ...County unnamed on the east bank of the Murray at a place called by the natives Bungambrewatha. It is thought that Albury was originally named after the Aldbury in Hertfordshire, with the 'd' later dropped to become Albury.

By 1847, the Albury settlement included two public houses and a handful of huts, a police barracks and blacksmiths. A log punt established in 1844 serviced the crossing of the Murray River.



In 1851 with the separation of Victoria from New South Wales and the border falling on the Murray River, Albury found itself a frontier town. With increase in commerce with Melbourne, the first bridge was built in 1860. Albury at this time became a customs post between the two colonies as New South Wales held a protectionist stance on gaining its constitution in 1856.

Albury was at this time starting to grow substantially with Germans using the area to grow grapes for wine, and escaping the growing nationalism in Germany. Albury boasted by the 1870s a butter factory, flour mill, wineries and locally brewed cider.

In 1888 Albury built its first school house. The city's first mayor James Fallon was an innovator of the Public School, funding a demonstration High School to be built on Kiewa Street.

Albury's proximity to Wodonga has spurred several efforts to achieve some kind of municipal governmental union (see Albury-Wodonga).





Situated on the old Hume Highway, Albury is a major transit point for interstate commerce. From March 2007, Albury was bypassed by the new Hume Freeway. The new freeway includes the new Spirit of Progress Bridge over the Murray river and cost $518 million, the most expensive road project ever built in regional Australia.

The other minor highways which connect to Albury are the Riverina Highway, which continues west through Berrigan to Deniliquin and east to the Hume Weir; and the Olympic Highway (renamed from the Olympic Way) which diverges left from the Hume 16 km north of Albury, into the centre of NSW, passing through Wagga Wagga and terminating with the Mid-Western Highway at Cowra.

In 1888, the Smollett Street wrought iron arch bridge was constructed over Bungambrawatha Creek. Smollet Street was extended westward through the botanical gardens to give direct access from the Albury Railway Station to Howlong Road by a straight street. The bridge is near the botanic gardens and the local swimming pool. The bridge is a rare example of a metal arch bridge in New South Wales, and is the oldest of only two metal arch bridges in New South Wales, the other being the Sydney Harbour Bridge.



Albury railway station is on the main Sydney-Melbourne railway line. Originally New South Wales and Victoria had different railway gauges, which meant that all travellers in either direction had to change trains at Albury. To accommodate this, a very long railway platform was needed; the covered platform is one of the longest in Australia. The station is still served by two different rail gauges; the broad gauge VLine trains from Melbourne as well as the standard gauge Countrylink XPT services which run twice daily.

In 1873 the broad gauge (5ft 3ins) railway line from Melbourne reached the township of Belvior/Wodonga. In 1881 the New South Wales standard gauge 4 ft 8½ins) railway line reached Albury, with a railway bridge joining the two colonies in 1883. Albury became the stop over, where passengers on the Melbourne-Sydney journey changed trains until 1962, when a standard gauge was opened between the two capitals. After World War II in an attempt to overcome the difference in gauges and speed up traffic, a bogie exchange device lifted freight wagons and carriages allowing workers to refit rolling stock with different gauged wheel-sets.


Break of gauge

The break of railway gauge at Albury was a major impediment to Australia's war effort and infrastructure during World Wars I & II; for every soldier, every round of munitions, tins of food, mail, and animals were all off-loaded from the broad gauge and reloaded onto a standard gauge railway wagon. In his book Tramps Abroad, writer Mark Twain spoke of the break of gauge at Albury and changing trains... "Now comes a singular thing, the oddest thing, the strangest thing, the unaccountable marvel that Australia can show, namely the break of gauge at Albury - Wodonga. Think of the paralysis of intellect that gave that idea birth."(cited by Fisher below)

Military amouries and warehouses were established in the vicinity of Albury. Similar stores were also established at Tocumwal and Oaklands.


Elimination of broad gauge

In 2007, (with a government's view that there was a decline of traffic on the broad gauge line) there are plans to convert this line to standard gauge at least from Seymour and obtain double track for the standard gauge.



Albury Airport, owned and operated by the City of Albury, is the second busiest regional airport in New South Wales with around 210,000 passenger movements per year. The airport, 5 kilometres from the city centre, has scheduled daily flights to Sydney and Melbourne through two carriers, QantasLink and Regional Express, in addition to charter services. The IATA airport code for Albury is ABX. The road leading from Albury Airport to the city was re-named Borella Road in 1979, in honour of Victoria Cross recipient Albert Chalmers Borella, buried in Albury. Virgin Blue now operates direct double daily services to the airport from Sydney in both the evening and the morning.


Public transport and cycling

Local public transport is provided exclusively by bus. Martins bus company and Mylon Motorways run a number of bus services to Wodonga and routes within Albury. Services run infrequently, and are virtually nonexistent at night. The overwhelming majority of local transport is by private car, however traffic is generally light. The opening of the Hume Freeway bypass on March 4th 2007, has eased previous traffic congestion on the Lincoln Causeway, allowing better flow between Albury and Wodonga. In 2007, Albury City Council introduced a new, free shuttle bus around the Central Business District.

There are a number of bicycle paths in the city, including one to the outlying suburb of Thurgoona and across the state border to Wodonga. A new program has built many more bike tracks, including one from the riverside parks to Wonga Wetlands.



Albury serves as an administrative centre for the agricultural communities around the area, and the city is the home of a large newsprint paper mill which processes the pine logs planted in the mountains to the east, an engineering plant which produces automatic transmissions for cars, a major processing centre of the Australian Taxation Office, and other smaller secondary industries. Other large employers are: The Commercial Club Albury and Hume Building Society.

Albury's major employer was ION Automotive Group. In 2003 it employed 1100 people in the city. In late 2005 it was undergoing a deed of company arrangement and Powertrain Products International was a prospective purchaser.



The region surrounding Albury provides a wide variety of tourist attractions, including the wineries of Rutherglen, the historic goldfields towns of Beechworth and Yackandandah, the Hume Weir, boating and fishing on the many rivers and lakes (activities very popular with the locals), the forests of the Great Dividing Range and slightly further afield are many of Australia's snowfields. Albury itself, however, is not a major tourist destination. The paddle steamer Cumberoona runs tours along the Murray during the summer months (depending on river levels), and Monument Hill (home to the city's War Memorial) provides a good view of the city. Wonga Wetlands, 2.5 km west of the city and adjacent to the River Murray is a key feature of Albury's use of treated wastewater and consistes of a series of lagoons and billabongs. Wonga Wetlands features more than 150 species of birdlife and the Aquatic Environment Education Centre.



Albury is home to one of the five campuses of Charles Sturt University. This campus is based at two locations in Albury. The first and oldest is located in the Northern part of the CBD between Kiewa and David St's, the second, newer facility is situated on the outskirts of Thurgoona. Charles Sturt University plans to have all of its courses and subject moved to the Thurgoona campus by 2009. It plays a key role in drawing aspiring students to the area, taking candidates from both sides of the Murray.

Riverina Institute of TAFE operates a campus in Albury. There is also a campus of the UNSW Rural Clinical School of Medicine. Albury is home to nine public primary schools (Albury Public School, Albury North Public School, Albury West Public School,Glenroy Public School, Hume Public School, Lavington Public School, Lavington East Public School, Springdale Heights Public School, Thurgoona Public School) and three public high schools (Albury High School, James Fallon High School and Murray High School). Several private schools also operate in the area. The city is the base for NSW Department of Education South West Riverina regional office.



Albury serves as a regional media centre. A daily tabloid, the Border Mail, which has its offices in Wodonga & Albury, covers the area. There are two local television news bulletins. Prime Television broadcasts its bulletin live at 5.30 from studios in Lavington, North of Albury. WIN Television's bulletin is produced in Ballarat, and airs on delay at 6pm.


Radio stations

There are three commercial radio stations in Albury, namely 1494 2AY, 105.7 The River, and Star FM on 104.9 FM. Notably, Star FM's south eastern network is programmed out of the Albury/Wodonga Hub, going to centres around New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania and into South Australia. Broadcast out of the same building is 105.7 The River, which is also networked to local stations around New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania and South Australia. Local programs on both stations commence from 6am, and the networked shows take over at 10am on both stations. As of 12 midday on Star FM, The satellite feed from Queensland is taken, and on 105.7 The River, they broadcast until 7pm.

Albury/Wodonga is one radio market, thus advertisements are directed to both sides of the Murray. The Albury/Wodonga market underwent significant change in 2005 when Macquarie Regional RadioWorks bought 105.7 The River from RG Capital Radio Network, and 2AY and Star FM from the DMG Radio Australia. Due to cross-media ownership laws preventing the ownership of more than two stations in one market, Macquarie was required to sell one of these stations and in September 2005 sold 2AY to the Ace Radio network. 2AY takes its nighttime programming from 3AW Melbourne.

The ABC produces local breakfast and morning radio programs through its local radio network, but the rest of their content consists of rebroadcasts from Melbourne, which is the source of most state-based media imported to Albury.

In addition, the area is serviced by a Reading for the Print Handicapped station, 2APH, on 101.7 FM. Wodonga TAFE's broadcasting training station, 87.8 Wodonga TAFE Radio, and ABC stations ABC Goulburn Murray, ABC Classic FM, and Triple J on 103.3 FM broadcast from transmitters located in Wodonga. Albury-Wodonga Christian Broadcasters transmits as 100.7 The Light. There are also the narrowcaster RawFM on 87.6FM. Albury's Community Radio Station 2REM is broadcast on 107.3FM.



Despite its location in New South Wales, Albury is a stronghold of Australian rules football and the local Ovens & Murray Football League is one of the strongest regional leagues in the nation, with the Grand Final regularly drawing around 15,000 spectators. The league contains three teams from Albury; Albury Football Club, Lavington Football Club and North Albury Football Club. Many footballers from Albury have gone on to play in the Australian Football League, including Haydn Bunton Senior, a triple Brownlow Medallist and an inaugural legend of the Australian Football Hall of Fame.

Albury also has a rugby league team, the Lavington Panthers, competing in the Group 9 Rugby League competition and shares a rugby union team with neighbouring Wodonga, the Albury-Wodonga Steamers. The Albury Wodonga Bandits compete in the SEABL East Conference of the ABA playing their home games at the Albury Sports Stadium. The Lady Bandits joined the women's SEABL in 2006. The Albury Gold Cup horse race is the major autumn event for the district. In 2005 it attracted a record crowd in excess of 18,600 racegoers. Albury has lately become a stronghold of junior hockey, boasting one of the few synthetic fields in the area. The town also has the Albury Grass Tennis Courts. V8 Supercar Team, Brad Jones Racing and drivers Brad Jones and his nephew Andrew also calls Albury home.

Albury is the birthplace of women's tennis grand slam winner Margaret Court, 2003&2007 WNBA MVP winner Lauren Jackson and Test cricketer Steve Rixon, among other champion sportspeople.


There is a strong regional theatre scene, with the Murray River Performing Group (MRPG) being the most notable company. It spawned the Flying Fruit Fly Circus in 1979, and these days conducts many productions through the Hothouse Theatre located on Gateway Island between Albury and Wodonga. Many notable actors and comics have performed with the MRPG.

Touring productions also often pass through the area.

Albury has a growing local scene of rock music bands and fans. The Youth Cafe is a supporter of local acts providing resources for young musicians and performers to be recognised. The Sodens Australia Hotel also regularly hosts local and touring national bands. A major youth music event, the Border Music Camp held at Scot's School, attracts people from as far as Sydney. Groovin The Moo Music Festival visits every November providing Albury with notable acts such as Hilltop Hoods, Urthboy and Midnight Juggernauts.

Albury's most famous crime is also one of Australia's most famous, the 'Pyjama Girl Murder'.

In 1996, a local teenager, Kim Meredith was murdered in Albury; a memorial to Kim was later placed in Queen Elizabeth 2 Square (QEII²) by the citizens of Albury.

In 2003, a sister city relationship with Nanping in northwestern Fujian province, People's Republic of China, was formalised.

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Last Updated ( Friday, 22 February 2008 )
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