IT WAS the expansion of irrigated agriculture and the need for an urban centre to service this new area that led to the creation of the Coleambally township.
The Water Conservation & Irrigation Commission (WC&IC) had investigated several potential new schemes, including one on the north side of the Murrumbidgee River, towards Berallan.
However, a survey on the south side of the river identified an area, encompassing part of the “Coleambally” property, as more suitable.
The Coleambally Irrigation Area scheme was started in the 1950s and was one of the largest irrigated land settlement schemes attempted in Australia.
Land was resumed by the Crown and gazetted as an irrigation area, and sub-divided into farms of between 500 and 800 acres for large-area mixed farming and about 100 acres for horticultural farms.
The potential farmland was made available through a ballot system. With no infrastructure at all in place, those who entered the ballot had to prove they had enough money to set up a farm. The ballot winners were also required to give up any other primary interests they may have held.
This advertising feature is supported by the following businesses and organisations:
- Southern Cotton
- Hutcheon & Pearce
- Member for Murray Austin Evans
- Coleambally Community Bank (Branch of Bendigo Bank)
- Coleambally Solar Pty Ltd
- Marylin's Pharmacy
- Lions Club of Coleambally
- Coly Hardware
- Claire's Picture Framing
- Murrumbidgee Shire Council
- Elders Ltd
- Tim's Meats
- Mannes Agencies
- Member for Farrer Sussan Ley
- Barry's Transport
- Catalyst Accountants and Financial Solutions
- DeMamiel Bros.
- Serafin Ag Pro
- CIA Tyres
- JLB Livestock and Property
- Coly Concrete
- Cater and Blumer
- Coleambally Automotive Centre
- Coleambally Country Womens Association
- Coleambally Golf Club
- Coleambally Irrigation
- Coleambally Newsagency
- Coly Built
- Hi Trac Equipment
- Mens Shed
- Ledwidge 4 Pty Ltd
- Owen Motor Group
- Stitch In Time
- Wilks Water
- Akazien Hof Grain & Fertilizers/Yenda Prods
An initial group of 26 large-area farms was designed in March 1959 and allocated in 1960 and the first delivery of water was made in February of that year.
Management of the irrigation area is now by the farmer-owned Coleambally Irrigation Co-operative, delivering water across an area of about 400,000ha, of which only 79,000ha is intensively irrigated.
The system is fed from the Coleambally Canal, which takes off upstream from Gogeldrie Weir, located on the Murrumbidgee River between Yanco and Whitton. As it was initially envisioned, water delivery is via a gravity-fed channel system via 518km of supply channels and 734km of drainage.
The Coleambally Irrigation District now encompasses 491 irrigation farms about 200ha in size and employ sophisticated layouts and recycling systems to ensure water efficiency.
The major crops produced around Coleambally today are rice, wheat, corn, cotton, barley, soy beans and canola, as well as a variety of fruit and vegetables.