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The town of Bungendore just north of the New South Wales border with the Australian Capital Territory was originally inhabited by the Ngarigu Aboriginal people and the town takes its name from a Ngarigu word which means 'place of gum blossom' or 'big hill on plain'. Explorer Alan Cunningham passed through the area in 1824 with his reports of the fertile land alongside Turallo Creek attracting sheep and cattle farmers the following year.
The location of Bungendore at the crossroads between established trading points at Cooma, Goulburn and Braidwood contributed greatly to the early prosperity of Bungendore. By the 1840s a post office had been built and a town proclaimed, quickly becoming a key staging post for the Cobb & Co coaches. Despite a relatively small local population in the 1860s, the town itself would grow rapidly and soon the village centre incorporated several churches, a school and several hotels. By the time the railway line was extended to Bungendore in 1885, the town was already well established and able to accommodate the rapid increase in population with additional buildings added including another school and importantly, at a time when bush ranger activity in the region was rife, a police station was built.
With successful grain crops and a flour mill complimenting the already established pastoral runs in Bungendore the district and town seemed poised for further successes. With this in mind, in 1901 the town and nearby Lake George were proposed as potential sites for the new capital city, yet were overlooked for land just south of the region instead. Although Queanbeyan would overtake Bungendore as the commercial centre following the extension of the railway line south from Bungendore to the town in 1887, today Bungendore remains as one of the most historic towns in the region with many of its buildings dating back to the 1840s.
Sheep and cattle farming remain the primary use of farming land around Bungendore, yet successful experimentation with cool climate wine grape varieties have seen local vineyards enjoy considerable success in recent years. The Bungendore Show which has been held annually in Bungendore since the 1880s continues to showcase the local produce whilst other annual events such as the Bungendore Country Muster and the now internationally renowned Bungendore Rodeo demonstrate the strong sense of community pride Bungendore’s residents hold for the local area. Located just under 40 kilometres from Canberra, Bungendore has become a favoured destination for holiday makers from Australia’s Capital City favoured not only for its heritage but the spectacular scenery and recreational activities offered at nearby Lake George.