Darling River Towns
Brewarrina, NSW, provides a wonderful insight into the Darling River's significance to indigenous history and vibrant living culture. Near the centre of town are the Fish Traps, an ancient arrangement of rocks used to corral fish for catching. It is truly a marvel and a moving experience standing on the bank imagining the history and culture surrounding them and how important Brewarrina is for the local indigenous community.
The traps are estimated been used for over 40,000 years and are believed to be the oldest man-made structure on earth. The system that exists today is a restoration as much of what existed at the time of European settlement was unfortunately removed to allow the early river-boats to travel further upstream.
It is said that the fish were so plentiful that there were times when as many as 5000 Aboriginal people gathered beside the river to enjoy this rich harvest. This fascinating history is recorded at the Brewarrina Aboriginal Cultural Museum.
The fish traps provide the visitor with an insight into how the waterways were managed by the Indigenous Australians. This connectivity to the river and the land is continued down the Darling River in different ways, in different 'countries', by different groups.
Brewarrina was settled by Europeans in the 1840s who, by the 1860s, realised that it was primarily the furthest point that riverboats could reliably travel up the Darling River. As such, Brewarrina became an important port for settlers wishing to transport their produce via the Darling and Murray Rivers to the major shipping ports of Adelaide and Melbourne.
At Brewarrina, the Darling River Run; continues upstream to Walgett and downstream to Bourke.