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Cooma
New South Wales
Cooma, NSW, Courthouse, jjron, 24.09.2008.jpg
Cooma Court House
Cooma is located in New South Wales
Cooma
Cooma
Location in New South Wales
Population 6,742 (2016 census)
Established 1849
Postcode(s) 2630
Elevation 800 m (2,625 ft)
Location
  • 397 km (247 mi) SW of Sydney
  • 116 km (72 mi) S of Canberra
  • 112 km (70 mi) NW of Bega
LGA(s) Snowy Monaro Regional Council
County Beresford
State electorate(s) Monaro
Federal Division(s) Eden-Monaro
Mean max temp Mean min temp Annual rainfall
19.4 °C
67 °F
4.1 °C
39 °F
541.6 mm
21.3 in
Localities around Cooma:
Binjura Bunyan Middle Flat
Dairymans Plains Cooma Middle Flat
Pine Valley The Brothers Rock Flat

Cooma is a town in the south of New South Wales, Australia. It is located 114 kilometres (71 mi) south of the national capital, Canberra, via the Monaro Highway. It is also on the Snowy Mountains Highway, connecting Bega with the Riverina.

At the 2016 census, Cooma had a population of 6,742. Cooma is the main town of the Monaro region. It is 800 metres (2,620 ft) above sea level. The name could have derived from an Aboriginal word Coombah, meaning 'big lake' or 'open country'.

Cooma is 5 kilometres (3 mi) south of the banks of the Murrumbidgee River, a main tributary of the Murray–Darling basin. Cooma sources its water from the river.

History

The railway from Sydney was extended from Royalla to Cooma in 1889 under the supervision of John Whitton. The line was closed to rail passenger traffic in 1989. The estimated population of Cooma was 47 in 1851 and it grew to 2330 (1911), 1969 (1933), 2249 (1947), 9103 (1966), 7353 (1976) and 7978 (1981).

In 1949, the town became the headquarters of the Snowy Mountains Scheme and grew rapidly.

Cooma has developed a growing tourism industry as it became the main rest stop for many travellers heading to the NSW snow fields during the winter months. As a result, the town nicknamed itself the 'Gateway to the Snowy Mountains'.

The Aviation Pioneers' Memorial at Cooma contains artifacts recovered from the Avro 618 Ten aircraft Southern Cloud, which crashed on 21 March 1931 in the Toolong range of the Australian Alps. The wreck was not found until 26 October 1958.

Climate

Cooma has a subtropical highland (Cfb) climate, owing to its elevation and high diurnal temperature variation. Summers are warm with cool nights, and winters are chilly with freezing nighttime lows. The area is relatively dry (by south-east coastal Australia standards), as it falls in a rain shadow. Despite its dryness, it only has 90.1 clear days annually, lower than the adjacent coastal areas of Wollongong and Sydney (106 and 107 clear days, respectively).

Strong cold fronts often push through the region in winter and snow is not uncommon in Cooma from June to August, however is generally light and rarely settles for more than 24 hours. Severe thunderstorms are semi-frequent in summer and due to the towns elevation can carry large quantities of hail.

Mean daily minimum temperatures range from −2.8 °C (27.0 °F) (July) to 10.7 °C (51.3 °F) (January), with annual mean daily minimum of 4.1 °C (39.4 °F). Mean daily maximum temperatures range from 11.4 °C (52.5 °F) (July) to 27.2 °C (81.0 °F) (January), with annual mean daily maximum of 19.3 °C (66.7 °F).

Climate data for Cooma
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 39.0
(102.2)
38.9
(102)
35.2
(95.4)
30.4
(86.7)
24.2
(75.6)
19.6
(67.3)
20.9
(69.6)
24.5
(76.1)
29.2
(84.6)
33.1
(91.6)
36.5
(97.7)
36.7
(98.1)
39.0
(102.2)
Average high °C (°F) 27.2
(81)
26.3
(79.3)
23.8
(74.8)
19.4
(66.9)
15.6
(60.1)
11.9
(53.4)
11.4
(52.5)
13.3
(55.9)
16.3
(61.3)
19.5
(67.1)
22.5
(72.5)
25.1
(77.2)
19.4
(66.9)
Average low °C (°F) 10.8
(51.4)
10.6
(51.1)
8.1
(46.6)
4.1
(39.4)
0.7
(33.3)
-1.3
(29.7)
-2.7
(27.1)
-1.9
(28.6)
1.2
(34.2)
3.8
(38.8)
7.0
(44.6)
9.0
(48.2)
4.1
(39.4)
Record low °C (°F) -0.2
(31.6)
-1.0
(30.2)
-1.9
(28.6)
-6.5
(20.3)
-8.6
(16.5)
-11.5
(11.3)
-11.4
(11.5)
-13.9
(7)
-8.6
(16.5)
-6.8
(19.8)
-3.9
(25)
-3.0
(26.6)
-13.9
(7)
Precipitation mm (inches) 57.4
(2.26)
62.1
(2.445)
58.2
(2.291)
38.0
(1.496)
30.5
(1.201)
37.6
(1.48)
28.2
(1.11)
27.1
(1.067)
34.8
(1.37)
46.0
(1.811)
65.5
(2.579)
54.7
(2.154)
539.6
(21.244)
Humidity 40 44 45 49 54 59 54 48 45 44 43 41 47
Avg. precipitation days 8.1 7.9 8.3 8.6 8.0 10.0 8.6 8.6 9.9 9.8 11.1 9.0 107.9

Transport

Cooma is serviced by Cooma - Snowy Mountains Airport which is 15 kilometres from the CBD. Cooma has a bus service connecting various areas of town three times a day run by Cooma Coaches. Snowliner Coaches also operate services. Cooma has a taxi service run by Cooma Radio Taxis.

NSW TrainLink operate road coach services from Canberra to Bombala and Eden. Cooma was served by the Cooma Mail until May 1986 and the Canberra Monaro Express until September 1988.

The Cooma Monaro Railway is a heritage railway using CPH railmotors built in the 1920s. Until operations were suspended in January 2014, the railway operated a weekend and public holiday service on an 18-kilometre section of the Bombala railway line north to Bunyan and Chakola.

Mars

The name Cooma is used as a name for a crater on the planet Mars, without specifically commemorating the town.

Gallery

Education

Government schools include Monaro High School, a high school that serves the town and seven of the neighbouring rural towns and villages including Peak View, Berridale, Jindabyne, Nimmitabel, Bredbo and Dalgety. The other two government schools support primary education and are Cooma Public School and Cooma North Public School, both providing education for students in kindergarten to year 6.

The Roman Catholic school is called St Patrick's Parish School and provides education from kindergarten to year 10. The Snowy Mountains Christian School, an independent Christian school provides education from kindergarten to year 10.

Tertiary education is provided by TAFE NSW Illawarra Institute Cooma campus. Another Tertiary Education centre is the newly opened Cooma Universities Centre, which opened in 2014.

Notable people

  • Samantha Armytage – breakfast show host
  • John Bērziņš – bishop of Caracas of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia; first Australian-born orthodox bishop
  • Torah Bright – Olympic snowboarder
  • Jamie Burns – NSW cricketer, 1927
  • Nick Cotric – rugby league player in the National Rugby League and New South Wales rugby league team representative.
  • Carmen Duncan – actress
  • Paula Duncan – actress
  • Michael Gordon – rugby league player in the National Rugby League
  • A. D. Hope – poet and essayist
  • Pat Hughes DFC – Royal Australian Air Force pilot
  • Keegan Joyce – actor and singer has a song called "Cooma" included in his album, Snow On Higher Ground
  • Horst Kwech – Austrian born, Cooma raised, motor racing driver in the early US based Trans-Am Series
  • Virginia Lette – media personality
  • Steve Liebmann – journalist
  • John Tierney – Senator in the Government of Australia
  • John Tranter – poet
  • Wilton Welch – actor and playwright
  • Brett White – rugby league player in the National Rugby League
  • Jack Williams – rugby league player in the National Rugby League
  • Sam Williams – rugby league player in the National Rugby League
  • Charlotte Wood – writer
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