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Murrumbateman is a small town on the NSW Southern Tablelands. It is located on the Barton Highway between Canberra (Australia's national capital) and the town of Yass.
Murrumbateman was settled by Europeans in 1826. For the rest of the nineteenth century and during 20th century Murrumbateman was the centre of a farming area (producing wool, wheat and cattle). There was also some mining activity (gold, bismuth, etc.)
In the 1950s Murrumbateman had a population of just 150 souls. The village had a post office, two general stores, a garage/petrol station, a small motel, a public school (infants and primary pupils) and two churches (one Church of England and the other used by the Presbyterians and the Methodists on alternate Sundays).
Next to the Church of England church was a community hall used for dances, concerts and other local events (that hall has now been removed to a local property where it is used as a shearing shed).
Across the road from the Public School was an oval that was used for field days. Nearby was the Merrivale property where Sir Walter Merriman produced world-class fine merino wool for the world market.
Locals would travel to Yass to do their shopping, banking and other business. Teenagers would take the bus five days a week to attend Yass High School.
To read more about the history of Murrumbateman in the period 1824-1960, click here.
The 21st Century
Murrumbateman is now connected by a greatly upgraded Barton Highway to both Canberra and Yass. Increasing numbers of public servants working in Canberra now live in Murrumbateman (enjoying its pleasant rural ambience) and commute to work in the national capital just 40km away down the Barton Highway.
Murrumbateman used to call itself a village. Now with its population steadily increasing, Murrumbateman is a township.
A number of subdivisions have taken place around Murrumbateman where new houses and hobby farms are now seen in some numbers.
Many sheep, cattle and wheat farms continue to dot the countryside around the town. Alpaca are also raised on a number of local studs.
Attracted by the cool climate and the fertile soils, several winemakers have also set up vineyards in the locality. These winemakers offer fine wines and tours of their establishments, which attract many tourists to the locality.
These days a variety of retail shops and services operate in Murrumbateman, including a cafe, a restaurant, a takeaway food store, a pub (the Murrumbateman Country Pub), a butcher, a pharmacy and medical centre, a vet, a hairdresser, a hardware store and various tradies (servicing the new houses being built), and a petrol service station (with auto mechanic). (For more details, see: Murrumbateman Services Directory.)
A great selection of recreation activities (both sporting and cultural) can be enjoyed locally. There is an active scouting/cubs group. The oval mentioned above is now known as the Murrumbateman Recreation Grounds (it is also referred as Jones Park) and also contains a community hall and a children's playground.
The township also operates a public library and a pre-school centre.
Two churches open their doors on Sundays (the All Saints Soldiers' Memorial Anglican Church and the Murrumbateman Community Church operated by the Uniting Church).
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Author: David Paul Wagner
(David Paul Wagner on Google+)