Griffith (map) is a town and local government area designed by Walter Burley Griffin. Named after Sir Arthur Griffith the first New South Wales minister of Public Works, Griffith was proclaimed a city in 1987. The entire area of the City of Griffith has an approximate population of circa 25,000 and a catchment population of approximately 50,000. The area was first established in 1916 as part of the Australian Federal Government's Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area (MIA) project. The aim was to supply irrigation from the Murrumbidgee river in western New South Wales to encourage farming such as citrus and rice.
From its earliest days, the MIA was populated by Italian workers, some of whom were initially employed by Australian farmers to run steamboats on the Murrumbidgee and Murray Rivers. Approximately 60% of today's Griffith population claim Italian background. This includes the initial settlement of Italians who relocated to Australia during the Depression; and a second wave of immigrants who arrived in Griffith in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Many Italians in Griffith are from the Veneto region or the Calabria region of Italy. Only a small proportion (approximately 25%) claim Anglo-Saxon ancestry. Griffith's multi-cultural population includes significant Sikh Indian and Tongan communities.
Griffith is the cathedral city of the Anglican Diocese of Riverina. The foundation stone of the Parish Church of St Alban the Martyr was dedicated in 1954. It was proclaimed as a cathedral in 1984.
Griffith Shire incorporates the areas of Ballingall, Beelbangera, Benerembah, Bilbul, Collina, Darlington Point, Driver, Ellimo, Griffith, Griffith Centre, Griffith East, Griffith North, Griffith South, Griffith West, Hanwood, Kooba, Lake Wyangan, Mayfair, Mirrool Irrigation Area, Mooreville, Mount Bingar, Myall Park, Nericon, Pioneer, Somerton Park, Tabbita, Tharbogang, Three Way Bridge, Warburn, Warrawidgee, West End, Whitton, Wickhams Hill, Widgelli, Willbriggie, Willow Dam, Wumbulgal, Yenda and Yoogali.
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