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Boorowa sheep

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Boorowa is a farming town and administrative centre of around 3000 people on a tributary of the Lachlan River. It lies on rich river flats of soil from Mt Canemumbola, an extinct volcano.

Surrounded by undulating hills, the area was home to the Wiradjuri tribe, New South Wales' largest. They were nomadic with a warlike reputation and were known to attack early explorers when their territory was invaded.

Boorowa has a strong agricultural a mining base and with the arrival of the railway in 1874 it became a major centre. In 1888 it became a municipality. By 1900 a butter factory and freezing works were major employers.

Early Irish convict population was served by an outreach of the Catholic mission at Yass. Later Irish migration came after the 1850s and St Patrick's church was erected in 1855. Its remains can be seen in Court Street. A newer one was built in 1877 in Queen Street.

Catholic residents looked after the education of their children with their own school which was taken over by the Sisters of Mercy in 1882. There was a convent in Boorowa from 1885 until 1987.

Many prominent buildings associated with the church are testament to the strong social life, particular to the Irish, of Boorowa.

These days the October Irish Woolfest, the annual agricultural show, recognises the town's heritage. Sheep are taken through the streets, just as they were in the 19th century. There are fun activities to go with the sheep walk; dancing, music, games and exhibitions.

Each October long weekend, full wool merinos rampage down the main street leading a parade led by the New South Wales Irish Pipe Band and the Canberra Celtic Pipe Band, decked out in their kilts. There are Irish and Australian artists performing, and a Blessing of the Fleece is an ecumenical service celebrating the fine wool of the district.


The Southern Tablelands of New South Wales.


The Irish Woolfest is held on the October long weekend each year.

More information

Boorowa Irish Woolfest
PO Box 94
Boorowa, NSW, 2586
Ph: (02) 6385 3962
Fax: (02) 6385 1333

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