Albury (map) is a city located on the Hume Highway on the Northern side of the Murray River (population circa 46,500). It is approximately 550 km from the state capital Sydney, but only 312 km from the Victorian capital Melbourne. It is separated by the Murray from its twin city in Victoria, Wodonga.
Few remainders of the indigenous population of the area exist. The Wiradjuri people are believed to have arrived in the area not long before the European explorers Hume and Hovell who arrived at what is now known as the Murray river at Albury in November 1824. The area was labelled on their map as Crossing Point; they named the river the Hume River and subsequently inscribed the name in a tree by the riverbank before continuing their journey south to Westernport. Among the first squatters to follow in the steps of the explorers and settle in the district were William Wyse and Charles Ebden.
A crossing place for the Murray became popular close to the Hovell tree inscription. In summer it was usually possible to cross the river by foot. An easier crossing was 10 miles upstream where the Hume Weir now is, however, the drovers' tracks led to Albury. The first buildings erected at the crossing place were provisions store and small huts. On early maps, the settlement was named Bungambrewatha. The reason for the name change from Bungambrewatha to Albury is not documented. By 1847 Albury settlement included two public houses and a hand full of huts, a Police Barracks and blacksmiths. A log punt established in 1844 serviced the crossing of the Murray River. In 1851 with the separation of Victoria from New South Wales and the border falling on the Murray River, Albury found itself a frontier town. And with increase in commerce with Melbourne the first bridge was built in 1860. Albury at this time became a customs post between the two colonies as New South Wales held a protectionist stance on gaining its constitution in 1856.
Albury was in this time starting to grow substantially with Germans using the area to grow grapes for wine, and escaping the growing nationalism in Germany. Albury boasted by the 1870s a butter factory, flour mill, wineries and locally brewed cider. In 1872 the broad gauge railway line from Melbourne reached the township of Belvior/Wodonga, and in 1881 the New South Wales railway line reached Albury, with a railway bridge being built in 1883 making Albury the stop over where passengers on the Melbourne-Sydney journey had to change trains until 1963 when a standard gauge was put all the way between the two capitals. In 1888 Albury built its first school house. And the cities first mayor James Fallon was an innovator of the Public School funding a demonstration High School to be built on Kiewa Street.
Albury's proximity to Wodonga has spurred several efforts to achieve some kind of municipal governmental union (Albury-Wodonga). Albury Shire currently incorporates the communities of Albury, Corrys Wood, East Albury, Ettamogah, Glenroy, Hamilton Valley, Hume Weir, Jindera, lake Hume Village, Lavington, Mungabareena, North Albury, South Albury, Splitters Creek, Springdale Heights, St Hilaire, Table Top, Thurgoona, West Albury and Wirlinga.
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