Menindee

Menindee, New South Wales

Menindee is a small town in the far west of New South Wales, Australia, in Central Darling Shire, on the banks of the Darling River, with a sign-posted population of 980.

It is the oldest European settlement in western New South Wales, and the first town to be established on the Darling River. A weir on the Darling River near Menindee diverts water from the river into a series of shallow, otherwise dry, overflow lakes. These lakes, the Menindee Water Storage Scheme, regulate the river flow for irrigation downstream into South Australia.

The first European to visit the area was the surveyor and explorer Major Thomas Mitchell in 1835. He was followed by Charles Sturt in 1844 and the town was the advance base for the Burke and Wills expedition in 1860.

Menindee is located where the transcontinental railway line crosses the Darling River. The town is serviced by the CountryLink 'Outback Xplorer' passenger train from Sydney to Broken Hill on Monday, returning from Broken Hill to Sydney on Tuesday. The GSR Indian Pacific also stops twice-weekly in each direction on request. The railway line is about 900 km west of Sydney and about 110 kilometres south-east of Broken Hill.

Situated on the western edge of town is the Kinchega National Park.

Burke and Wills

The Burke and Wills expedition camped at Menindee on their journey to cross Australia from Melbourne to the Gulf of Carpentaria. They arrived here on 14 October 1860, crossed the Darling River at Kinchega Station and made Camp XXXIV (their thirty-fourth camp since leaving Melbourne). There was dissent within the party and George Landells, the deputy-leader resigned. Robert O'Hara Burke split the party, heading north to Coopers Creek with half the men, stores and animals. The remaining men, stores and animals made a depot camp at Pamamaroo Creek and a sign and cairn mark the site of the camp. This camp was used for the reaminder of 1860 and for most of 1861. While in Menindee, Burke stayed at the Maiden's Hotel, which was then owned by Thomas Pain and was known as Pain's Hotel.

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