- Bourke, New South Wales
Infobox Australian Place | type = town
name = Bourke
state = nsw
caption = Location of Bourke in New South Wales (red)
Bourke Shire Council
postcode = 2840
pop = 2,413
maxtemp = 27.6
mintemp = 13.0
rainfall = 354.7
stategov = Barwon
fedgov = Calare
dist1 = 778
dir1 = NW
dist2 = 162
dir2 = N
dist3 = 96
dir3 = W
Bourke is a town and Local Government Area (see
Bourke Shire Council) in the north of New South Wales, Australia. The town is located approximately 800 kilometres north-west of Sydney, on the south bank of the Darling River, (. At the 2006 census, Bourke had a population of 2,413, of whom 815 or 33% identified as Indigenous Australians.Census 2006 AUS|id = UCL112400 | name = Bourke (Urban Centre/Locality) |quick = on | accessdate = 2007-06-28 ]
The site of Bourke was first reached by British settlers in the 1820s and the town originally called Prattenville, was later named after Governor
Richard Bourkeof New South Walesin the 1830s.
Bourke was a port, where goods and passengers travelled by
paddlesteameralong the Murray-Darling river system. However, the use of river transport declined when the railway reached Bourke in 1885. The railway closed in 1990 after flooding caused significant damage to the line. The railway station is now used as a tourist information centre.
In 1895 a heatwave killed 47 people in Bourke over a 13 day period. In that time the daily maximum temperature averaged 47°C (116.6°F). [ [http://www.ema.gov.au/ema/emadisasters.nsf/6a1bf6b4b60f6f05ca256d1200179a5b/eb0eb29d93fdd5aeca256d3300057cd0?OpenDocument Southern Regions, Australia: Heatwave ] ]
Bourke can be reached by the
Mitchell Highway, with additional sealed roads from town to the north (Cunnamulla), east (towards Brewarrina, Moree and Goondiwindi) and south (Cobar). The town is also served by Bourke Airportand has Countrylink bus service to other regional centres, like Dubbo. It was also formerly the largest inland port in the world for exporting wool on the Darling River. The countryside around Bourke is used mainly for sheepfarming with some irrigated fruit and cottoncrops near the river.
Bourke is considered to represent the edge of the settled agricultural districts and the gateway to the
Outbackwhich lies north and west of Bourke. This is reflected in a traditional east coast Australian expression "back o' Bourke", referring to the Outback.
Bourke was mentioned in the trial of
Bradley John Murdochon November 24 2005, as the place where murder victim Peter Falconio was allegedly seen, 8 days after his disappearance from near Barrow Creek, Northern Territory. Fred Hollows, the famous eye surgeon, was buried in Bourke after his death in 1993 [ [http://www.hollows.org/Fred_Bourke/ The Fred Hollows Foundation International : Fred in Bourke ] ] . Fred Hollows had worked in Bourke in the early 1970s and had asked to be buried there.
The Telegraph Hotel, established in 1888 beside the
Darling River, has been restored and now operates as the Riverside Motel [ [http://www.bourkeriversidemotel.com/ Bourke Riverside Motel - Australian Outback Accommodation ] ] .
Additionally, the town is served by 7 FM and 2 AM stations, and 4 TV stations. There are two regional radio stations based in Bourke.
2 WEBbroadcasts on 585 AM. 2CUZ FMis the regional Indigenous radio station in Bourke. It broadcasts locally on 106.5 FM. Both station broadcast to a myriad of communities in the region. The local paper, The Western Herald, is also published on a weekly basis (every Thursday) year-round, except during a short break at Christmas.
* [http://www.bourke.local-e.nsw.gov.au/ Bourke Shire Council website]
* [http://www.visitbourke.com/ Bourke Tourism Information website]
* [http://www.kamilaroihighway.com.au/ Kamilaroi Highway]
* [http://www.outbackradio.com.au/ 2WEB - "The Voice of the Outback"] - community radio station
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