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Home About Attractions

Ariah Park - Wowsers, Bowsers and Peppercorn Trees

Recalling an era of rural Australia in which villages grew up where the tracks of Cobb & Co coaches and travelling stock crossed, Ariah Park, once known as "The Town of Wowsers, Bowsers and Peppercorn Trees", is located at the crossroads of the Burley Griffin Way and the Mary Gilmore Way.

Ariah Park's streetscape remains much the same as it was when at the height of it's prosperity in the 1920's. Proudly wide and distinguished by rows of Peppercorn trees which shade the central strip. The street bears all the hallmarks of self-sufficient country hamlets of the past. There was once "one of everything you need" including the post office, the pub, the general store and an array of variety shops and mixed businesses serving farming families in the settlement's catchment.

Ariah Park has witnessed the same chronology of events as many small rural communities. First settled in 1850, the community began to develop when selectors moved to the district with their families in the 1880's and started clearing and farming the land. The railway line opened in 1906 and in the following year the railway village was gazetted, effectively relocating the small settlement of Broken Dam just to its north, which had been established in the 1870's. With viable land portions becoming available for broad acre farming.

The Broken Dam reserve, located on Mirrool Creek, just to the north of the village, marks the site of the original pastoral settlement of the area. The reserve is an interesting bush-walking setting beside the steep & picturesque creek banks ("Mirrool" is an aboriginal word meaning "coloured clay") and some remains of the original buildings can still be discovered.

The railway brought prosperity. By 1916 when the peppercorn trees were planted, Ariah Park was making a name for itself at harvest time and by 1919 there was enough farm activity to warrant the construction of silos near the railway line.

Ariah Park's moment of glory came on the 27th September 1916 when bulk wheat was loaded at its railway siding for the first time in rural Australia. Prior to this wheat had been transported in bags. A combination of the coming of the railway, better on-farm machinery and bulk selling through enterprising agents allowed Ariah Park to claim its place in the nation's history as "the birthplace of bulk grain haulage" in Australia.

The late-Federation period hotel still operating in the main street, houses a gallery of photos of early grain handling. Many of the village's stores still operate and in deference to a well-known description of the village in the 1920's which summed it up as "The Town of Wowsers, Bowsers and Peppercorn Trees".

Original bowsers are being restored and positioned along the main street as a tourist attraction. Other attractions include 55 acre Lake Arbortree.

Built by the community in 1983, just 5km north of the village, as well as a replica bulk wheat wagon at the railway line. Perhaps the most unique and attractive aspect of the village is its untouched streetscape and trees. Turn back the hands of time by doing a little shopping, village-style, in the same shops where the district's pioneers obtained their provisions so many decades ago.

Ariah Park Is at the heart of a strong and diverse rural community which produces cereals, oilseeds, wool, beef, fat lambs, ostriches, stud rams, deer and pigs. You probably don't know it, but "Babe" was born in Ariah Park too. A visit to Ariah Park is well worth the effort - its a little piece of living history more so than a museum piece.

Contact details
Temora Visitor Information Centre
02 6977 1511 (ph)
02 6977 1911 (fax)

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Last Modified: Tuesday, 26-Jul-2005 08:55:18 EST
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