Deniliquin, known locally as "Deni", is a town in the Riverina region of New South Wales close to the border with Victoria.
Deniliquin is located at the intersection of the Riverina and Cobb Highway approximately 725 kilometres south west of the state capital, Sydney and 285 kilometres north of Melbourne. The town is divided in two parts by the Edward River, an anabranch of the Murray River, with the main business district located on the south bank.
The town services a productive agricultural district with prominent rice, wool and timber industries. At the 2006 census, Deniliquin had a population of 7,431.
Prior to European settlement, The aboriginal inhabitants of the Deniliquin area were the Barapa Baraba people.
In 1843 the entrepreneur and speculator Benjamin Boyd acquired land in the vicinity of present-day Deniliquin (probably via his agent Augustus Morris). The location was known as The Sandhills, but Boyd (or Morris) named it Deniliquin after 'Denilakoon', a local Aborigine famed for his wrestling prowess.An inn and a punt were established on the site in the period 1845-47 and the town site surveyed in 1848 and gazetted in 1850.Deniliquin Post Office opened on 1 January 1850.
As Deniliquin was established on the convergence of major stock routes between the colonies of Queensland, New South Wales and the Victorian gold rush centres of Victoria, it soon became an important river crossing and the first bridge was built over the Edward River in 1861. The Deniliquin and Moama Railway Company built a private railway in 1879 to connect with Moama, across the Murray River from the busy river port of Echuca, connected by rail to Melbourne.
A water trough on a sheep farm 50 km north of the townWool growing quickly became a major industry and the area around Deniliquin was home to several Merino studs.In 1861, George Hall Peppin and his two sons, experienced English sheep breeders, established a Merino stud at Wanganella station, north of Deniliquin. There, the brothers developed the Peppin Merino, able to thrive in drier inland regions. Today, as many as 70 percent of Merinos in Australia are said to be directly descended from these sheep.
In the 1860s, Deniliquin was the centre of a short-lived campaign by wealthy pastoralists including Peppin, George Desailly, Robert Landale and William Brodribb for secession from New South Wales and the creation of a new Riverina colony. This campaign was supported by David Jones, the editor of the local newspaper the Pastoral Times.
On 19 December 1868, Deniliquin was constituted as The Municipality of Deniliquin, and the first Municipal Election was held on 23 February 1869. In 1993 the enactment of the Local Government Act (NSW) saw the name of the council changed from the Municipality of Deniliquin to the Deniliquin Council.
Large-scale irrigation schemes came to the Deniliquin area with the establishment of the Deniboota and Denimein Irrigation Districts in 1938 and the Berriquin Irrigation District in 1939, using water diverted from the Murray River at Lake Mulwala through the Mulwala Canal. An ample and reliable water supply lead to the development of water intensive industries such as rice growing.
In April 2006 the Herald Sun reported on their front cover that the Edward River was dry, with an accompanying photograph showing a dry creek.This was later revealed to be erroneous; the photograph was of an unknown channel on a farm within 60km of Deniliquin, while the Edward River is in fact still running. Deniliquin Council and members of the Deniliquin community have since attempted to rectify the damage to local tourism by improving the profile of Deniliquin in various media outlets.
Deniliquin is a service centre for the surrounding agricultural region. The region includes both dryland and irrigated areas. The dryland areas support grazing, in particular beef cattle and wool growing. Deniliquin is home to many famous Merino studs and the saltbush plains produce quality medium class wool.
The irrigated areas produce a range of high yield crops. Rice was a major crop until the recent drought. The largest rice mill in the southern hemisphere was in Deniliquin, producing large packs and bulk rice for export markets.. The rice mill closed in mid-2008.
Deniliquin is also the headquarters of Murray Irrigation Limited, an irrigator owned private company and one of the largest privately-owned irrigation supply companies in the world. Murray Irrigation manages the operations of the Berriquin, Deniboota, Denimein and Wakool Irrigation Areas in the Murray Valley. These areas produce 50% of Australia’s rice crop, 20% of NSW milk production, 75% of NSW processing tomatoes and 40% of NSW potatoes.
Sawmills in the area process timber harvested from the River red gum forests lining the Edward and Murray floodplains.
As the largest town in the south western Riverina, there is a range of government and commercial services to residents of the town and the surrounding area.
Notable people from the Deniliquin area include:
Liberal Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser
Sydney Swans Australian rules footballer Leo Barry
Melbourne Cup winning Jockey Roy Higgins
Test and one day cricketer and AFL Player Simon O'Donnell
Test and one day cricketer wicket keeper Adam Gilchrist
Mikarla from Australias Next Top Model, Cycle 5