Welcome to Nyngan – Bogan Shire – Central New South Wales

Welcome to Nyngan
Welcome to Nyngan

When I said to friends I was going to Nyngan for the long weekend, most said “you’re going all that way to smoke weed?”… “No, thats Nimbin on the NSW North Coast” I stated with a sigh. Nyngan is located in outback NSW on the Bogan River in the Bogan Shire. I was off to visit a good friend, Amanda – not a bogan.

Centenary Fountain, Nyngan
Centenary Fountain, Nyngan

After thousands of years of indigenous habitation, Nyngan was first visited by Europeans in 1835  and settled as a town in 1883. Over the Australia Day long weekend, I travelled by CountryLink XPT from Sydney to Dubbo and connected to a coach service to Nyngan, a distance of around 600 kilometres from Sydney.

The Bogan RIver, Nyngan
The Bogan RIver, Nyngan

The 1990 floods are perhaps Nyngan’s most well known, tragic yet heroic, claim to fame. It was in April of that year when the banks of the Bogan River threatened to burst and flood the town as a result of unusually heavy rains. The residents and Army banded together in an attempt to build a levee to try and save the town. I still remember watching images on t.v of the fast paced effort as they filled bag after sandbag while the water seemingly rose instantly around them.

Nyngan railway station, now a museum
Nyngan railway station, now a museum

Unfortunately, despite the huge effort, the town was flooded and on 24 April the locals, some 2500 people, needed rescuing from the higher ground around the Railway station by Army, television and local helicopters. With practically all of the town and surrounding farmlands completely submerged, it was three weeks before the residents could return.  The seriously damaged railway line caused all services to be ceased, though these days freight trains do pass through and service the town.

Iroqouis Helicopter donated to the people of Nyngan to commemorate the 1990 floods
Iroqouis Helicopter donated to the people of Nyngan to commemorate the 1990 floods
Peter Sinclair Bridge, Nyngan
Peter Sinclair Bridge, Nyngan

The former railway station is now a museum and in the adjacent park you’ll find an Iroqouis  Helicopter, donated to the people of Nyngan by the federal government  to commemorate the evacuation. It was unveiled by Rear Admiral Peter Sinclair A.O in April 1992, whom the bridge over the Bogan River, rebuilt after the devastating floods, is named after.

Pangee Street, the main street of Nyngan
Pangee Street, the main street of Nyngan

The resilient ‘Nynganites’ are tough and could be mistaken for pretty rough, but just on the outside. When my friend Amanda, met me at the station and we went for a drive around town, we stopped for petrol and a few cold drinks. Amanda, jumping out of the car, said “$40 worth thanks!” I turned my head, jaw dropping and was amazed there was an attendant filling up the car,  next he took a squeegee and after lifting the windscreen wipers proceeded to clean the windsheild of all the red dust and squashed bugs. I hadn’t seen this since I was a kid, an actual SERVICE station. He chatted away, the fellow in the shop chatted away, a lady walking down the street waved and said hello – all welcoming me to town!

The true outback, just 'outback' of Nyngan
The true outback, just ‘outback’ of Nyngan

We drove out west of the town on whats nicknamed ‘The Triangle’, a 45 km westward drive along the Barrier Hwy to Hermidale then a 40 km drive southward drive towards the newly opened copper mines then a 45 km northeast drive back towards the town and with not much insight, I could see the toughness of this region, the arid landscape, searing heat and the pungent aroma of roadkill.

Nyngan RSL, Nyngan
Nyngan RSL, Nyngan

I met more of Amanda’s friends that evening when we ‘hit the town’ and went to the Nyngan RSL club, Charmaine, Kelly Rebekah and Kiara and so many more people were so lovely and made me one of their friends instantly. I’ll admit, and they’ll certainly tell you with a few ‘strong words’ in the mix, that there’s not much to do here entertainment wise, but if you are travelling through or out this way, stop in and say hi, because you will discover a gentle roughness and the most welcoming bunch of people only the harsh yet beautiful outback can produce – and not a single Bogan around. 🙂

Bogan St, Nyngan - but no bogans here!
Bogan St, Nyngan – but no bogans here!

With dear thanks to my friend Amanda, her family & the people of Nyngan.

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3 Comments Add yours

  1. kelly says:

    That was bloody lovely m8! Glad to have met u and this nynganite can’t wait ta cum to tha big smoke!!! Woop Woop!!! Wow a sentence with out “strong words” : O , xo

  2. Hehe I’d love it if garage attendants were more common! I’ve seen it once here in Australia but you’re right, it’s so rare!

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