On arrival to Ariah Park, a blend of present offerings mixed with a taste of days gone by welcomes visitors.
In a district first settled by grazing interests in the 1850s, the village of Ariah Park sprang to life in response to the arrival of the railway in 1906.
The heart of a strong and diverse rural community which produces cereals, oilseeds, wool, beef, fat lambs, stud stock and pigs, Ariah Park can count ‘Babe’ as a favourite son, born and raised here before leaving to find fame on the silver screen.
The railway which brought prosperity to this region gave rise to a chain of new communities and Ariah Park’s epithet ‘Wowsers, Bowsers and Peppercorn Trees’ encapsulates the sense of friendly social and sporting rivalry that linked the railway towns dotted along what is now the Burley Griffin Way, connecting Canberra and Griffith.
In deference to this phrase, the main street has been renovated to preserve the central avenue of peppercorn trees, a central plaza offers picnic tables and seating and several of the vintage petrol bowsers have been restored and reinstated.
On September 27, 1916, Ariah Park took a special place in the development of the Australian grain industry when, for the first time anywhere in rural Australia, a shipment of wheat was loaded in bulk for rail transport to the seaboard. A restored railway carriage provides a fitting memorial to the community’s role as the birthplace of bulk grain haulage in Australia.
The village today caters for all essential requirements, offers shopping for arts, crafts and antiques, and provides facilities for a range of sporting activities including tennis, netball, football, bowls, golf and swimming. Free camping is always available. Spiritual needs are also catered for at the local churches.
A highlight of any visit to Ariah Park is ‘Second Glance’. Situated in the restored billiard room complex, this quaint community centre offers the visitor and local resident alike a friendly welcome, a cuppa, community information and an intriguing and ever changing array of bric-a-brac and old wares for the fortunate fossicker. It is open daily from 10.30am to 4pm.
The development of ‘Echoes of Ariah Park’ in combination with ‘Second Glance’ brings the heritage of the district to life and adds a new facet to the Ariah Park experience, a glimpse of 1920s living tucked away in modern rural Australia.
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