One of 7,000 wetlands along the Murray River, Thegoa Lagoon supports an array of native plants and animals. The lagoon provided Aboriginal people with food and shelter and was an important meeting and corroboree place for Darling and Murray tribes. Early European settlers used the area for water, grazing, sand harvesting, quarrying, and a cemetery. The Wentworth Shire Council and community are rehabilitating this precious and vulnerable wetland to preserve its heritage and improve its significant environment.
Kinchega National Park
Kinchega National Park is south from Menindee. The area was recognised for its unique and special qualities in 1967 when it was declared a national park, the first in western NSW. A feature of the park is the famous Kinchega Woolshed, built of local timber during 1872 and listed on the NSW Heritage Register. At its peak in the 1880s, there were stands for 62 blade shearers and six million sheep were shorn there over a one hundred year period.
Once a thriving river port, this small town now boasts one of the best bush race days in western NSW. Some locals still call it ‘The Port’ from its days as a staging place for paddle steamers and wool barges.
Mungo National Park
This world heritage area was once part of a freshwater lakes system that supported a large Aboriginal community. Human remains, tools, shell middens and animal bones provide a record of Aboriginal life stretching back for 45,000 years. The sand dunes and dry lake bed make up one of the oldest public archaeological sites in the world. The area is also significant for its native wildlife and vegetation that is typical of the western plains of NSW.
Junction of the Murray and the Darling
Wentworth is where Australia’s two greatest rivers meet. The junction was a significant trading, meeting and corroboree site for Aboriginal nations. It was here that explorer, Charles Sturt, named the Murray River in 1830. In the late 1800s, Wentworth was the largest inland port in Australia for the 400 river boats that carried goods along the Murray and Darling rivers. In 1956, the high Murray and Darling rivers created one of the largest Darling floods in history, almost drowning the township of Wentworth.
The locks along the Murray River were built in the 1920’s for riverboat navigation. Unfortunately, they were built as railways and road transport became more competitive. The locks are still maintained to provide access for houseboats, fishing and cruise boats. The weirs provide secure water for irrigation, industries and towns. However, weirs prevent natural movement of native fish. Since 2003, all of the weirs are being fitted with Australian-designed fish ladders to allow native fish to move freely.
These striking red sand hills, just west of Wentworth, date back to an ice age over 40,000 years ago. Evidence suggests that the Barkindji people lived here. Bones also indicate that huge kangaroos, wombats and other mega fauna once roamed the area.