Boorowa Then

Before white settlement, two tribes of Aboriginal people inhabited this district. The wiradjuri people are credited with naming it - in their languageBoorowa means 'plain turkey'. Others believe it was the Ngunnawal tribe who named Boorowa. Few, if any of the original inhabitants survived the trauma and disease of the British advance into the south west slopes and plains.

Back in the 1820's, the Irish influence began in Boorowa with cousins Roger Corcoran and Ned Ryan. They arrived here as ticket of leave men, dispossessed of their land in Ireland andf therefore their livelihood, by an oppressive British regime. They'd been transported from Clonulty in Tipperary for their part in the demolition of an infirmary that was ear-marked for occupation by the British army. Their 'Tickets' were granted after serving seven years of assignment to a Samuel Hassall, a farmer at Camden NSW. In Boorowa the cousins worked hard for Samuel's brother, Thomas - a clergyman/farmer. Roger and Ned prospered and encouraged family members and friends to the district. With a famine at home, the Irish began arriving in droves. Many of those original names dominate the local phone book today and can also be found on street signs and on he gates of farms. Ryans Creek flows (sometimes) through the golf course and int the pond behind the present Council Chambers.

Other newcomers from the British Isles and Europe also shaped the social and economic fabric of the district. Many of the soldiers in the colony were recipients of land grants. The soldier/farmer transition was not always a success and when the fight to produce crops and stock was lost, the land was abandoned and the ex-military men moved on.

The Galloping Parson

The Galloping Parson - Reverend Thomas Hassall

The prosperous Hassalls acquired vast tracts of land in Bathurst, Camden and Boorowa; they were British and descended from Anglican missionairies. Thomas Hassall was famously dubbed 'the galloping parson' when he rode into Boorowa to deliver the first religous service here. He believed in practical religion and was an enthusiastic supporter of Methodists and Dissenters while conducting his own brand of evangelical Anglicanism in a parish he called 'Australia beyond Liverpool'. But the original Irish settlers, because of the tragic circumstances of their expulsion from their homeland, created and nutured a 'little Ireland' of culture and Catholicism in Boorowa that remains today.

In the early days the township saw mayhem and even murder as the result of isolation, stress and loss caused by drought, flood and aven earthquakes. There were drink-fired disputes and sober but bitter and long-running battles over boundaries and who owned what sheep or cattle.