Rowena

History of Rowena

Squatters moved into the Rowena area as early as the 1830's. The township itself was established in 1906, when the railway reached the district. At the time of federation in 1901, there were two post and telegraph offices in the district at Bulyeroi and Oreel - settlements on the squatting runs that had been established since 1848. The nearest Police Station was at Old Burren, 16 Kilometres south of Rowena; the station was established in 1893 and closed in 1901. In 1901 the only provisional school in the Rowena area was Oreel Provisional School, about 10 kilometres from Rowena's current location. It opened in 1900 with 22 children. The ceiling of the school building was unlined, and during the first summer of operation, many children started missing school due to nosebleeds. The school closed in 1909. Rowena's first public school opened in 1923, the school has been operating ever since. The most popular sports in the district were cricket and tennis. Cricket teams formed around where there was a hotel or a post and telegraph office, or a large property. One of the most significant attempts at building development in Rowena was in 1934, when the Shire Hall was built and the Rowena Hotel burnt down while being rebuilt. The hotel had first been destroyed in 1927, with the loss of two lives. As with many of the smaller villages of Walgett Shire, the past half of the century has seen a decline in population and commerce at Rowena. Today, Rowena has a small but active community of approximately 50, served by a comfortable school, general store and church.

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