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Dalgety
New South Wales
Dalghetty.png
Main street of Dalgety and the Buckley's Crossing Hotel
Population 75 (?)
Established 1832
Postcode(s) 2628
Elevation 760 m (2,493 ft)
Location
  • 51 km (32 mi) from Cooma
  • 452 km (281 mi) from Sydney
LGA(s) Snowy Monaro Regional Council
State electorate(s) Monaro
Federal Division(s) Eden-Monaro
Mean max temp Mean min temp Annual rainfall
15 °C
59 °F
-18 °C
-0 °F
630 mm
24.8 in

Dalgety is a small town in New South Wales, Australia, on the banks of the Snowy River between Melbourne and Sydney.

The town is located at what was once an important river crossing along the Travelling Stock route from Gippsland to the Snowy Mountains High Country dating from the 1840s.

History

The first settlement was originally known as Buckley's Crossing after Edward Buckley who established a farm near the river crossing in 1832. It was renamed Barnes Crossing in 1848, by which time it had become an important waypoint on the stock route between Gippsland in Victoria and the Snowy Mountains in New South Wales. In 1874 the town was formally surveyed and named Dalgety after the maiden name of the wife of surveyor J. R. Campbell. Like the founder of Dalgety and Company she was a grandchild of a Colonel Alexander Dalgety.

At the time of the survey the population was 23 and it was recorded that a punt was operating across the river. A Catholic school opened in 1874 to cater for the children of Irish gold prospectors, and the first bridge over the river was constructed in 1888.

The town also became a meeting place between white settlers and local Aborigines, who would camp along the river bank on the way to the Snowy Mountains. The Thaua people and Ngarigo people lived in this area seasonally.

Location for national capital

In 1903 a Federal Royal Commission named Dalgety as the location for Australia's national capital city. The choice was based on criteria including climate, food supply, land ownership and ability to support major industries, and was formalised in the Seat of Government Act 1904. In an early demonstration of Sydney-Melbourne rivalry, the decision was immediately opposed by the Parliament of New South Wales which argued that Dalgety was too close to Melbourne and too far from Sydney. A more practical objection was the distance to the main Sydney-Melbourne railway line and the expense involved in constructing a spur to the proposed capital.

These objections were resolved with the passage of the Seat of Government Act 1908 which passed over Dalgety in favour of Canberra.

Dalgety NSW river Stevage
Dalgety is situated on the Snowy River, seen here from a bridge on the west side of the town.

Geography

Situated on the Monaro Plains and in the rain shadow of the Snowy Mountains, Dalgety is a relatively dry area of rolling hills with granite boulders scattered across the landscape.

The town depends on the Snowy River for water supplies. In October 2007 the New South Wales Department of Water and Energy recommended a cut in river flows through the nearby Lake Jindabyne, to a level which may require Dalgety to import drinking water.

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