With over 20,000 people thronging to the gold diggings at Temora the district was proclaimed a gold field on June 4, 1880. Some large discoveries were made, including the famous Mother Shipton nugget, a facsimile of which appears in the Rock and Mineral Museum section of Temora Rural Museum.
The first white settlement in the Temora district had occured in the 1850s and 1860s, with large runs being established by the early selectors. Broken Dam near Ariah Park was the crossroads for stage coach mail runs between Wagga and Forbes, and Narrandera and Lambing Flats (Young). As the gold declined, Temora continued as the service centre for a developing wheat growing district.
The railway reached Temora in 1893 and was extended to Lake Cargelligo and Griffith, reaching Ariah Park in 1907.
Although already supporting a flourishing pastoral community by the 1860s, the township of Temora was not "established" until the gold rush of 1879, a decade after gold was first discovered. In the 1880s at the peak of the rush, Temora had a population of 20,000. In 1881 the highest yield from the Temora field was attained - an Impressive 35,228oz.
In more recent times, gold mining occurred at the Paragon Gold Mine at Gidginbung, 12 km north of the town, from 1986 to 1996. At the time is was the largest open cut gold mine in operation in NSW.
Although there is little evidence of the old mines, the Mother Shipton mine, located off Moroney's Lane, is a site well worth visiting. Gold mining took place at Reefton, Springdale, Combaning and Sebastapol as well as at Gidginbung and Temora.
In the early 1880s Temora was the scene of a massive gold rush with some 20,000 miners and hopefuls descending on the field. Numerous large gold nuggets were unearthed over a period of several years and there were some who did very well. Others were less fortunate and had great difficulty in surviving.
The most spectacular find was the Mother Shipton Nugget won from the Mother Shipton Mine which is still one of the historic reminders of Temora's golden era. The nugget, which broke into three parts, as it was dug out, weighed in at 308.35 ounces.
In 1882 the nugget was valued at 4,300 pounds ($8300). There is a replica of the nugget at the Temora Rural Museum. The smallest piece of the nugget was presented to Queen Victoria and the largest section was displayed in the window of the Orient Steamship Co. in London.
While there the premises were broken into and the nugget was stolen and never recovered.
In the heart of the NSW agricultural belt, Temora Shire is a sanctuary rich with heritage and resources.
From golden beginnings to high flying achievements, Temora has spread its wings to become more than just another country town. Known for its internationally acclaimed aviation museum in a district of agricultural excellence...