Coleambally, New South Wales

Coleambally, New South Wales

Infobox Australian Place | type = town
name = Coleambally
state = nsw

caption = Main street of Coleambally looking toward the distinctive water tower.
lga = Murrumbidgee
postcode = 2707
est = 1968
pop = 600 (est.)
maxtemp =
mintemp =
rainfall =
county = Boyd
stategov = Murrumbidgee
fedgov = Riverina
dist1 = 637
location1= Sydney
dist2 = 65
location2= Griffith
dist3 = 74
location3= Jerilderie
dist4 = 27
location4= Waddi [ [ Travelmate] ]

Coleambally is a small town in the Riverina of New South Wales, Australia, in Murrumbidgee Shire.

Coleambally is one of the newest towns in the state of New South Wales, officially opened in June 1968. [ Geographical Names Board of NSW] ]

The town has a population of approximately 600, and was designed to act as the centre for the surrounding Coleambally Irrigation Area.

Its name is Aboriginal, probably meaning a swift in flight. The spine-tailed swift is one of the most powerful fliers known, wheeling and sweeping at high speed in search of flying insects.

Coleambally can be accessed by road from Sydney and Canberra via the Hume Highway and Burley Griffin Way and from Melbourne via the Hume Highway, Newell Highway and the Kidman Way.


The Coleambally Irrigation Area scheme was started in the 1950s, with potential farmland being made available through a ballot system. Those who entered the ballot had to prove they had enough money to set up a farm in order to enter, as the land they acquired started off with no fencing or infrustructure whatsoever. The successful ballot winners were also required to give up any other primary interests they may have held. They were to give all or nothing to Coleambally.

In 2008, following the Federal Government's proposals to buy large amounts of water from irrigators—ostensibly to "save" the Murray-Darling Basin—the Coleambally Irrigation Area offered the entire area, including the farms, water rights and the entire town, for sale at a price of $3.5 billion. [cite news|url=,25197,24272699-601,00.html|title=Town says take it all ... for $3.5bn|last=Wahlquist|first=Asa |date=2008-09-01|publisher=The Australian|accessdate=2008-09-19]


Its main industry has been rice growing, with a major rice mill located one kilometre north of the town. Other crops are also grown, such as wheat, maize, sorghum, and soya beans. Grazing of sheep and cattle is also common.

The quality of soil in the Coleambally Irrigation Area, combined with growing a water-intensive crop such as rice, has led to soil salination and high water table problems throughout the area. Efforts to alleviate the soil salination problem since 1995 have minimized the problem.

The lack of water during the latest drought has put the rice industry at risk, with severe water restrictions being imposed. Competition from highly subsidised US farmers also poses a large threat to this industry and the families involved in it.Fact|date=February 2007

Rice production in 2006 will be much higher than recent years due to greater water allocations being available.

Total rice production in 2006 in the Murray Valley and the Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area (MIA) and Coleambally Irrigation Area are expected to total one million tonnes up from 330,000 tonnes in 2005.


There are two schools in Coleambally: Coleambally Central School, a comprehensive government school catering for students from Kindergarten to Year 12, and St Peter's Primary School, a Roman Catholic school administered by the Diocese of Wagga Wagga.


Coleambally is situated in the Anglican Diocese of Riverina. The Anglican Church is dedicated to St Mark.

The Roman Catholic Church is dedicated to St Peter.

The church of the [Uniting Church of Australia] was formerly a shearer's quarters before being moved to its present location.


Coleambally's distinctive wine glass shaped water tower is located in the centre of town.A Bucyrus Class Dragline is located in the Lions Park at the entrace of the town. It is one of four machines imported from the USA in 1935 to excavate the main irrigation channels in the Murray Valley and the Coleambally Irrigation Area in the early 1960s.


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