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Wagga Wagga

Wagga Wagga, New SOuth Wales, Australia

Wagga Wagga, informally called Wagga is a city in New South Wales, Australia straddling the Murrumbidgee River

Wagga is the state's largest and the country's fifth largest inland city, as well as an important agricultural, military, educational and transport hub of Australia. The city is located midway between the two largest cities in Australia, Sydney and Melbourne, and is the major regional centre for the Riverina and South West Slopes regions.

The central business district is focused around the commercial and recreational grid bounded by Best and Tarcutta Streets and the Murrumbidgee River and the Sturt Highway. The main shopping street of Wagga is Baylis Street which becomes Fitzmaurice Street at the northern end. The city is located in an alluvial valley and much of the city has a problem with urban salinity. Wagga Wagga has four distinct seasons, with warm to hot summers and cold winters by Australian standards. Mean annual rainfall in Wagga Wagga in 557.5 millimetres and is distributed evenly over the twelve months.

The original inhabitants of the Wagga Wagga region were the Wiradjuri people. In 1829, Charles Sturt became the first European explorer to visit the future site of the city. Squatters arrived soon after, leading to conflict with the indigenous inhabitants. The town, positioned on the site of a ford across the Murrumbidgee, was surveyed and gazetted as a village in 1849 and the town grew quickly after. In 1870, the town was gazetted as a municipality.

During the negotiations leading to the federation of the Australian colonies, Wagga Wagga was considered as a potential capital for the new nation. During World War I the town was the starting point for the Kangaroo recruitment march. The Great Depression and the resulting hardship saw Wagga Wagga become the centre of a secession movement for the Riverina region. Wagga Wagga became a garrison town during World War II with the establishment of a military base at Kapooka and Royal Australian Air Force bases at Forest Hill and Uranquinty. After the war, Wagga Wagga was proclaimed as a city in 1946 and new suburbs were developed to the south of the city. In 1982 the city was amalgamated with the neighbouring Kyeamba and Mitchell Shires to form the City of Wagga Wagga local government area.

Wagga Wagga is the seat of a Roman Catholic diocese, with its principal church being St Michael's Cathedral.

 

Geography

Wagga Wagga is located at the eastern end of the Riverina region where the slopes of the Great Dividing Range flatten and form the Riverina plain. The city straddles the Murrumbidgee River, one of the great rivers of the Murray-Darling Basin and the city centre itself is located on the southern bank, protected by a levee from potential flooding.

The city sits almost midway between the largest cities in Australia being 452 kilometres southwest of Sydney and 456 kilometres northeast of Melbourne with the Sydney-Melbourne railway line passing through. The Sturt Highway, part of Australia's National Highway network, also passes through the city on its way from Adelaide to its junction with the main Sydney-Melbourne route, the Hume Highway, a further 45 kilometres east. This location astride some of the major transport routes in the nation has made Wagga Wagga an important heavy truck depot for a number of companies including Toll Holdings. Wagga Wagga itself is the major regional centre for the Riverina and for much of the South West Slopes regions, providing education, health and other services to a region extending as far as Griffith to the west, Cootamundra to the north and Tumut to the east.

 

Landform and salinity

Wagga Wagga is located upstream from the Riverina plain in the mid-catchment range of the Murrumbidgee River in an alluvial valley confined by low bedrock hills. Much of Wagga Wagga is situated on heavy clay soils in a large drainage basin with a small catchment discharge point. Groundwater is therefore unable to leave easily leading to Wagga Wagga having a problem with waterlogged soil and salinity. Urban salination in Wagga Wagga is now the subject of a large multi-pronged approach to prevent further salination and reclaim salt affected areas.

 

City and suburbs

The location of Wagga's Central business district was already well established by the late 1800s and remains focused around the commercial and recreational grid bounded by Best and Tarcutta Streets and the Murrumbidgee River and the Sturt Highway. The main shopping street of Wagga is Baylis Street which becomes Fitzmaurice Street at the northern end. The Wollundry Lagoon is the water focus of the city centre and has been a key element in the development and separation of the north (older) and south (newer) parts of the city centre. Most residential growth in Wagga Wagga has been on the higher ground to the south of the city centre, with the only residential areas north of the Murrumbidgee being the flood prone suburb of North Wagga Wagga and the university suburb of Estella. Major industrial areas of Wagga Wagga include the northern suburb of Bomen.

 

Climate

At an elevation of 147 metres above sea level, Wagga Wagga has four distinct seasons. Winters can be cold by Australian standards with the mean maximum temperature falling in July to 12.9 degrees Celsius and a mean minimum of 2.7. The lowest temperature recorded at Wagga was -6.3 degrees Celsius on 21 August 1982. Fog and heavy frosts are common in the winter whilst snow is a very rare occurrence.

By contrast, summers in Wagga Wagga are warm to hot, with mean maximum temperatures ranging between 29 and 32 degrees celsius. The hottest temperature on record was 44.8 degrees Celsius on 23 January 2001. Relative humidity is low in the summer months with a 3pm average of around 30%.

Wagga Wagga has a mean annual rainfall of 557.5 millimetres per year. This rainfall is distributed fairly equally over the 12 months.

 

History

The original Aboriginal inhabitants of the Wagga Wagga region were the Wiradjuri people and the term "Wagga" and derivatives of that word in the Wiradjuri aboriginal language is thought to mean crow. To create the plural, the Wiradjuri repeat a word, thus 'Wagga Wagga' translates to 'the place of many crows'. This has been recognised in the Latin name of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Wagga Wagga as Dioecesis Corvopolitanus. ("corvus" being the Latin word for crow). Other translations have also attributed the word 'wagga' to meaning, 'reeling (a sick man or a dizzy man); to dance, slide or grind'.

European exploration of the future site of Wagga Wagga began in 1829 with the arrival of Captain Charles Sturt during his expedition along the Murrumbidgee River. Settlers arrived shortly thereafter with Charles Tompson establishing the Eunonyhareenyha 'run' on the north bank of the river in 1832, and then in soon after George Best establishing the Wagga Wagga 'run' on the south bank. Other settlers followed, with all of them initially squatting on the land illegally but by 1836 the colonial government regulated the tenure of land and established a licensing scheme. Within a few short years settlers numbers increased greatly and before 1850 a local bench of magistrates and a place for holding petty sessions was established. The beginnings of a village formed near the ford used by most traffic passing through the area and included a crude blacksmith's shop, a hotel, and a post office. By 1849 the town was marked out by surveyor Thomas Scott Townsend and formally gazetted as a village.

Wagga Wagga grew quickly reaching a population of 627 in 1861 and during that decade a number of hotels and stores opened, as well as professional services in the form of banks, solicitors, doctors and dentists. The Wagga Wagga Advertiser is still published today as the The Daily Advertiser and commenced in 1868. Until the 1860s most goods were transported to markets by bullock wagon. For a short time, the arrival of faster, cheaper and more reliable riverboats allowed goods to be transported more easily to export markets. The riverboat era ended when the New South Wales government extended the railway line to North Wagga Wagga in 1878 and across the river to Wagga Wagga itself in 1881.

On 15 March 1870, Wagga Wagga was incorporated as a municipality and George Forsyth was chosen as the first Mayor of Wagga Wagga. Gas lighting was installed throughout the streets of Wagga Wagga in 1881, although once again North Wagga was neglected. By 1885, a town waterworks and reservoir was established although water quality remained a problem. Poor sanitation caused a horrific stench in the town and was blamed for a large increase in infectious diseases such as typhoid fever in the 1890s and early 1900s. In 1908 the Council approved a sewerage scheme and by 1914 most of the main streets were sewered. A free public library was opened in 1875 and the Council began to establish parkland such as Bolton Park and the Town Hall Gardens.

In September 1859 local residents formed a committee for the construction of a pile bridge over the Murrumbidgee River. After the New South Wales Government refused to support this type of bridge the committee decided to finance it themselves. The bridge was completed in October 1862 and opened on 27 October at just over 91 metres long and 7 metres wide. In 1884 the New South Wales Government purchased the bridge and it was demolished in 1895. In 1895 a truss bridge called the Hampden Bridge, was built across the Murrumbidgee River at Wagga. The bridge served the Wagga Wagga community for over 100 years until 16 August 2006 when it was closed and fenced off to the public due to the bridge being declared a safety risk after one of the trusses failed.

With its increasing prosperity and population, Wagga Wagga and the surrounding district became a place of interest to several infamous bushrangers. The Wagga police magistrate Henry Baylis was bailed up by Mad Dog Morgan in 1863.Captain Moonlite and his band arrived in the district on November 15, 1879 and held up 39 people at Wantabadgery Station. Moonlite and his gang escaped a police pursuit only to be captured at another nearby property when police from the neighbouring townships of Gundagai and Adelong arrived.

Along with most of the Riverina region, the majority of Wagga Wagga residents supported the federation of the Australian colonies, in large part due to the prospect of free trade across colonial borders. In 1898, a group of residents promoted Wagga Wagga for consideration as the site of the future national capital due to its location equidistant from Sydney and Melbourne and its ample water supply. Despite the bid's lack of success, in the 1899 referendum Wagga Wagga residents voted strongly in favour of federation.

During World War I the town was the starting point of the "Kangaroo March", one of a series of snowball marches conducted in New South Wales during the war where groups of recruits would march toward Sydney and appeal to men in the towns along the route to join them and enlist in the Australian Imperial Force. 88 recruits left Wagga Wagga on 1 December 1915, farewelled by a large crowd and to the accompaniment of a band. The marchers included John Ryan, who later won the Victoria Cross for his actions in the Battle of the Hindenburg Line in 1918. The march finished at Campbelltown with over 220 recruits.

After the war some of the area around Wagga Wagga was designated for settlement by returned soldiers, who faced insurmountable difficulties due to poor and unwatered land, lack of farming experience and lack of access to markets. Many walked off the land after years of backbreaking work. Residential growth continued with a population in 1921 of 11,631.Much of this residential growth was housed in the higher ground to the south, extending to the south of the railway tracks. A suburb consisting of tents and crude huts, known as "Tent Town", developed along the river providing housing for the poorer residents of Wagga Wagga. In 1922, electricity was provided for the town, with hydro-electric power available from Burrinjuck Dam from 1928.

Hardship as a result of the Great Depression, and the election of Jack Lang of the Labor party as Premier of New South Wales, sparked the formation of the "Riverina Movement". Throughout the Riverina in early 1931, a series of rallies were organised by the movement, culminating in a great meeting in Wagga Wagga on 28 February 1931. The meeting called on the State and Federal governments to alleviate the concerns of producers in the district or hold a referendum to determine if the Riverina should secede. The movement petered out following the dismissal of Lang in 1932 and the recovery of the regional economy.

The outbreak of World War II saw Royal Australian Air Force bases established at Forest Hill in 1940 and Uranquinty in 1941. A major Australian Army camp was constructed at Kapooka in 1942 and one year later there were 8,000 troops in training there with Wagga taking on the characteristics of a garrison town.

After the war, Wagga Wagga grew steadily and was proclaimed a city on 17 April 1946. Suburbs such as Turvey Park and Kooringal were developed to the south of the city and in the 1960s, residential growth expanded to cover areas such as Tolland and Lake Albert. The main commercial district also moved south to the Baylis Street end with the development of the Sturt Mall in 1979. The City Council developed a series of industrial areas including areas for service and general industries, and agricultural processing and noxious industries were established in a new industrial estate in Bomen.

In the 1950s the defence bases in Wagga Wagga again became an important part of the city. The Army camp at Kapooka was reopened as a recruit training centre from 1951, a role it maintains to this day. RAAF Base Wagga at Forest Hill also expanded, with training of defence force aircraft technicians located there from 1969. After a series of major floods in the early 1950s, the City Council protected the city area on the south flood plain through construction of a levee, completed in 1962. The levee was designed to provide protection from floods at levels expected once every one hundred years. North Wagga Wagga was initially excluded from protection however by 1982 another levee was constructed to protect the village, although at a lower standard.

In 1971, following pressure from the Wagga Wagga community for a university, the teachers' college established in 1947 became the Riverina College of Advanced Education and was relocated to a site adjacent to the Wagga Agricultural College, with whom it amalgamated in 1975. In 1989, the College amalgamated with the College of Advanced Education at Bathurst to become Charles Sturt University. In 1981, the New South Wales government forced the amalgamation of Wagga Wagga City Council with neighbouring Kyeamba Shire and Mitchell Shire to form the new City of Wagga Wagga Local government area, containing 4,886 square kilometres.

 

Demographics

Wagga Wagga is the major city of the Riverina and the largest inland city in New South Wales. In 2006 the urban centre of Wagga Wagga was home to a population of 44,272 and the city is continuing to grow with population growth of 0.8% for the period 2001 to 2006. Much of this growth is attributable to the "sponge city" phenomenon as Wagga Wagga attracts residents from smaller towns in the region such as Urana. Other factors include Wagga's role as a regional centre and its hosting of major defence establishments and a Charles Sturt University campus.

The population is reasonably homogenous with only 6.4% of the population born outside of Australia as opposed to 21.9% for Australia as a whole and 93.8% of households in Wagga Wagga only speaking English at home. Wagga Wagga is home to small numbers of migrants from England, New Zealand, Scotland, the Netherlands and Germany. Wagga Wagga is also home to a sizable indigenous population; at the 2001 census, Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders made up 3.4% of the city's population.

In religion, Wagga Wagga is predominantly Christian, with the major religious denominations being Catholic (34.0%) and Anglican (26.3%). 15.5% of the population professed no religion. The main sources of employment in Wagga Wagga include education, retailing, health and defence.

Industry

Commercial

Wagga attracts people from all over the Riverina and southwestern New South Wales to its shopping facilities. Wagga's shopping centres include two notable centres of metropolitan standards, Wagga Wagga Marketplace and Sturt Mall in the central business district, and suburban shopping centres such as the new South City Shopping Centre in Glenfield Park, the Lake Village Shopping Centre, Lake Albert, the Tolland Shopping Centre and Kooringal Mall in Kooringal. Wagga also has a large Home Base located on the Sturt Highway. Wagga's central business district, with both Baylis and Fitzmaurice Streets and other surrounding streets, offers hundreds of specialty retailers including national chains such as Big W, Myer and Target Country.

Defence forces

The Australian Army base at Kapooka includes the Army Recruit Training Centre, where non-commissioned members of the Australian Regular Army undertake their initial training. The barracks at Kapooka are named after World War II military commander Sir Thomas Blamey, born at Lake Albert Wagga Wagga and Australia's only Field Marshal.[37][19] Following recruit training, soldiers move on to trade specific training at various training establishments throughout Australia. The soldiers club at Kapooka is named for John Hurst Edmondson, Australia's first Victoria Cross winner in World War II, who was born in Wagga Wagga.

There is a separate Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) base at Forest Hill (RAAF Base Wagga), which is the administration and logistics training base for Air Force personnel and the tri-service (RAN/Army/RAAF) electronic (White hander) and aircraft (Black hander) trades school. Some Royal Australian Navy Aircraft Technicians assigned to the HMAS Albatross are based at RAAF Base Wagga as a Aircraft Maintenance and Flight Trials Unit (AMAFTU). RAAF Base Wagga is also the home of the Wagga Wagga RAAF Museum.

 

Education

The sole provider of higher education in Wagga Wagga is the local campus of the multi-campus Charles Sturt University, located on the outskirts of the suburb of Estella. The university was established on 1 July 1989[41] following the enactment of The Charles Sturt University Act, 1989 and involved the merger of several existing separately-administered Colleges of Advanced Education including the Riverina College of Advanced Education in Wagga Wagga. At the time of its establishment it became the ninth university in the state and its inaugural vice-chancellor was C.D. Blake OAM who at the time was the principal of the Riverina College.

The Riverina Institute, a collection of TAFE institute campuses has its headquarters in Wagga Wagga and Wagga is home to three campuses. The Primary Industries Centre, at North Wagga Wagga is set on 250 hectares and runs courses on agriculture and horticulture. The National Aerospace Training Centre of Excellence, at RAAF Base Wagga provides training support to the Australian Defence Force aerospace traineeship program. The commercial contract with the ADF is the largest technical training contract in Australia. In addition Wagga Wagga is home to eight secondary schools and 22 primary schools.

 

Government

Local Government for the city is provided by the Wagga Wagga City Council. As well as Wagga Wagga itself the City Council area includes the outlying towns of Tarcutta, Ladysmith, Mangoplah, Collingullie and Uranquinty covering an area of 4,824km². The local government area was formed as a result of the amalgamation of the Wagga Wagga municipality with the Mitchell and Kyeamba Shires in 1981. The council itself consists of 14 councillors elected for a four year term and from these a mayor and deputy mayor is elected each year by the council.

Wagga Wagga is the largest city in the Australian House of Representatives electorate of Riverina and currently represented by Kay Hull of the National Party. At the state level, the city is represented in the New South Wales Legislative Assembly by Daryl Maguire, of the Liberal Party, member for the Electoral district of Wagga Wagga.

Transport

Fearnes provides bus services from most Wagga Wagga suburbs to the CBD from Mondays to Saturdays with no services on Sunday or public holidays. Wagga Radio Cabs run taxis 24/7 in the city with taxi ranks located at Station Place, Forsyth Street, Gurwood Street, Wagga Wagga Base Hospital and Kooringal Mall.

Baylis Street in the CBD was a thoroughfare for the Olympic Highway until the Gobbagombalin Bridge (referred to locally as the Gobba Bridge and is also believed to be the longest continuous-span viaduct in New South Wales) located about 6 km northwest of the CBD was opened in July 26, 1997. The Sturt Highway passes through the centre of Wagga Wagga.

Wagga Wagga railway station is located on the Sydney-Melbourne railway line with twice daily XPT fast rail services provided by CountryLink, the state owned passenger rail service.

Wagga Wagga Airport at Forest Hill has scheduled daily flights to Sydney and Melbourne through two carriers, Regional Express and QantasLink. The airport itself is owned by the Royal Australian Air Force and the civil side is leased by the City Council. The sealed runway can cater for aircraft weighing up to 30 tonnes. Since 2001, around 100,000 passengers use Wagga Wagga airport annually.

Sport

Wagga's location approximately midway between Melbourne and Sydney on the "Barassi Line" contributes to high levels of participation in Rugby league, Rugby union and Australian rules football in the town. Other popular sports in Wagga include soccer, cricket, tennis, and lawn bowls.


The local Rugby league teams play in the Group 9 Rugby League competition and include Wagga Brothers, South City and Wagga Kangaroos. The Group 9 grand final is a major sport event in Wagga Wagga. Rugby Union teams include Rivcoll, Wagga Agricultural College, Wagga City and Wagga Waratahs in the Southern Inland Rugby Union. Australian rules football clubs in Wagga include the Eastern Hawks, Mangoplah-Cookardinia United-Eastlakes, Turvey Park and Wagga Tigers in the Riverina Football League and Collingullie-Ashmont-Kapooka, North Wagga and Rivcoll in the Farrer Football League.Wagga soccer teams include Henwood Park, Wagga United, Tolland, Southern Knights and Lake Albert, with the first grade competition being the Pascoe Cup. The Wagga Wagga Gold Cup, said to be Australia's second oldest thoroughbred horse race is held in the first week of May.

The "Wagga Effect"

The "Wagga Effect" is a term that has been used frequently in the Australian media to describe the disproportionately large number of elite sportsmen and women that originate from the city. It is speculated that the phenomenon may arise in rural areas where the population is large enough to sustain the presence of a large number of sporting codes, but small enough to ensure that talented individuals are exposed to adult-level competition at an earlier age.

Famous sportspeople from Wagga include:

  • Cricket - Mark Taylor, Michael Slater and Geoff Lawson
  • Australian rules football - Wayne Carey and Paul Kelly
  • Rugby League - Peter Sterling and the Mortimer brothers Chris, Peter and Steve
  • Rugby Union - Nathan Sharpe
  • Soccer - Australia women's national football (soccer) team representative Sally Shipard
  • Horse racing - jockey Scobie Breasley
  • Tennis - Tony Roche, 1966 French Open champion, and later a coach, is from Tarcutta near Wagga
  • Golf - US PGA Championship winner Steve Elkington

In 1993, the City of Wagga Wagga instituted a Sporting Hall of Fame as part of the Museum of the Riverina dedicated to the elite sportspeople from Wagga Wagga and the surrounding area.

 

5 o'clock wave

The 5 o'clock wave is a fictional theory on the reasons for Wagga Wagga's sporting success. According to the local urban myth, at precisely 5 o'clock arrives a giant wave which flushes a secret nutrient into the Murrumbidgee River following the release of water from the Blowering and Burrinjuck Dams. The wave is said to continue down river at high speed, and indeed visitors are told it is so powerful that surfers can ride it along the meandering river until it reaches the town of Narrandera.

 

Recreation and culture

Recreation

The Murrumbidgee River at Wagga Wagga forms into a large sandy beach, and is a popular location for swimming, picnics and barbecues during the warmer months. Between 1977 and 1995 the beach played host to the Gumi Races where people were encouraged to make rafts from inner tubing and sabotage their competition by throwing rotten eggs and flour at them. Visitors and local residents still take every opportunity during the warmer months to float down the river from the area known as "The Rocks" located some 600 metres upstream from the main beach area. River cruises also operate on the Murrumbidgee.

Wollundry Lagoon, Lake Albert and various parks also provide recreational facilities. Sporting facilities include the Oasis Regional Aquatic Centre, with Australia's only wave ball. Wagga Wagga Civic Theatre and the Forum 6 Cinemas provide entertainment venues. The Wagga Wagga Botanic Gardens are home to a music bowl, a small zoo with a walk through aviary, a tree chapel, Willans Hill Model Railway and a camellia garden. Located on the banks of the Wollundry lagoon and officially opened in 1927, the Victory Memorial Gardens were established amidst some controversy as a tribute to those who fought and died in World War I.

Culture

The main cultural precinct for Wagga Wagga can be found in central Wagga Wagga, at the Wagga Wagga Civic Centre on the banks of Wollundry Lagoon. The precinct includes the Wagga Wagga Civic Theatre, the Wagga Wagga Regional Art Gallery and the central branch of the Riverina Regional Library.

The Wagga Wagga Civic Theatre was officially opened in 1963 at a cost of ₤165,000. During its design and construction and again after opening the theatre was the subject of severe criticism. Critics lamented the destruction of rose gardens removed to allow construction, the size of the orchestra pit, the amount of seating (497 seats) as well as the design of the feature mural. A considerable refurbishment was carried out in the 1990s and now the theatre is regarded as one of the best in regional Australia, playing host to national and international touring acts.

The Wagga Wagga Regional Art Gallery hosts local collections and travelling exhibitions and has space for an Artist in residence. The centrepiece of the collection is the National Art Glass Gallery, a nationally significant collection of studio art glass hosted in a separate, specially designed gallery. The collection was first established by the former director of the Wagga Wagga Regional Art Gallery, Judy Le Lievre in response to a request by the Australia Council for regional galleries to develop a specialised collection to avoid duplication and competition. The collection consists of around 400 works making it the largest studio glass collection in Australia.

The Museum of the Riverina was established in 1967 by the Wagga Wagga and District Historical Society. Wagga Wagga City Council took over its operations in the late 1990s and it now operates at two sites. The Historic Council Chambers site on the corner of Baylis and Morrow streets in central Wagga, hosts travelling exhibitions and the main site at the Botanic Gardens is home to the main collection including the Riverina Sporting Hall of Fame. The museum also has an important collection of memorabilia about the Tichborne Case, including a set of four rare plaster figurines depicting characters from the trial, a complete set of hard-bound court transcripts and a monumental painting entitled The Tichborne Trial painted in 1874 by Nathan Hughes, which hangs in the city's council chambers.

The Wagga Wagga Jazz Festival was established in 1995 and has featured a range of Australian and international musicians. Established in 1976 as the Riverina Trucking Company and renamed in 1983, the Riverina Theatre Company is one of Australia's longest running regional theatre companies and runs a full program of events each year at the Riverina Playhouse, which is located on the banks of the Murrumbidgee River and owned by Charles Sturt University.

Notable artists and performers from Wagga Wagga include poet Dame Mary Gilmore, who is featured on the Australian 10 dollar note and veteran actor Bill Kerr. The Yellow Wiggle, Sam Moran, is also from Wagga Wagga, having replaced the original Yellow Wiggle, Greg Page, in November 2006. The fictional creation of satirist, Barry Humphries, Dame Edna Everage was said to have been born in Wagga Wagga.

Wagga also has strong cultural ties with three international sister cities which form part of a twinning program. Those sister cities are Leavenworth, in the United States; Nördlingen in Germany; and Kunming in China.

Literary links

Wagga has captured the interest of writers, novelists and songwriters over the years. Specifically the city's international notoriety surrounding Arthur Orton and the Tichborne Case attracted a visit from Mark Twain when he visited Australia in the 1890s. In addition Wagga has been home to a number of famous Australian writers, including Frank Moorhouse who worked as a journalist on the city's daily newspaper, and the poets Mary Gilmore and Barcroft Boake.

In other cases the town's name has been directly referred to as part of the content of songs and novels. For example the song Don't call Wagga Wagga Wagga, written by Australian country music artists Greg Champion and Jim Haynes, was a minor hit on the Australian country charts and is a light-hearted take on the habit of Australians to refer to double named towns by one name only.Other examples include the Harry Potter series of fantasy novels, where the character Gilderoy Lockhart claimed to have defeated the "Wagga Wagga Werewolf",[68] the Bryce Courtney book The Power of One, where the main character Peekay is said to have a cousin Lenny from Wagga Wagga Australia, and the Robert G. Barrett novel, "Mud Crab Boogie" which is partially set in Wagga Wagga.

Media

As a regional centre for the Riverina and South West Slopes, Wagga Wagga is home to a number of regional media outlets. Television is provided by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation who offer two channels, ABC TV and ABC2 which is broadcast on digital only. The other government broadcaster SBS provides programming that reflects Australia's multicultural society. Commercial broadcasters include Prime Television, WIN Television and Southern Cross Ten.

Radio stations broadcasting from Wagga Wagga include ABC stations ABC Riverina, Radio National, ABC Classic FM and Triple J. The major commercial stations include AM radio station 2WG and Star FM. Specialist interest stations include Christian radio station Life FM and the national multicultural broadcaster SBS FM. 2AAA FM is the local community radio station.

The Daily Advertiser, published Monday to Friday and its sister publication, the Weekend Advertiser, service Wagga and much of the surrounding region. The newspaper was established by two wealthy local pastoralists, Auber George Jones and Thomas Darlow and first printed on December 10, 1868 by editor Frank Hutchison, an Oxford graduate. Originally printed bi-weekly, by 1880 it was tri-weekly and finally became 'daily' on 31 December 1910. In 1962 the newspaper reduced in size from a broadsheet to a tabloid format. The Riverina Leader, the local free community newspaper was launched in May 1979.





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Last Updated ( Sunday, 04 May 2008 )
 
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