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The land that would become the town of Nyngan was originally inhabited by the Ngiyambaa Aboriginal people before being discovered by Major Thomas Mitchell during an expedition exploring the river systems of the north-western plains of New South Wales in 1835. Despite the area attracting some squatters and graziers following Mitchell's exploration of the area, settlement would be focused on Canonba a town 30km north of Nyngan.
Relations between the local Aboriginal people and the new settlers were particularly strained, with the government choosing to cancel pastoral licences at one point to try and quell the bloodshed between the opposing sides. When Major Mitchell returned to Nyngan a decade later, the local Aboriginal communities he had originally estimated at around 1000 people were no longer living there, with those not killed during a number of massacres having fled the region for the safety of the sparsely populated land further west.
Nyngan was surveyed for a town in 1882 and with Canonba sidestepped in favour of Nyngan when the railway line was extended through the north-western plains a year later, the majority of residents would leave Cononba and with many dismantling their houses to rebuild in the new township of Nyngan, Cononba became something of a ghost town. Cattle farming was the first industry to provide the local community with a viable economy with a meatworks operating out of Nyngan by the late 1800s, yet the somewhat arid farming conditions would also prove suitable for merino sheep farming for wool production. With early experimental wheat and grain crops enjoying only limited successes due to irregular rainfall patterns, an irrigation canal to the town from the Macquarie River in 1942 would allow for the addition of agricultural crops to the surrounding farm land.
The most significant event in recent Nyngan history was the flood which devastated the town centre and surrounding farms in April, 1990. Thought to be the worst floods of the last Century, the Bogan River would overflow and despite the efforts of locals to sandbag the riverbanks, rising waters would almost completely submerge the town, with all residents having to be evacuated. The floods caused $50 million worth of damage with the railway line so severely affected that rail services to Nyngan have since ceased.
Today the railway station serves as a local history centre which includes the Mid State Shearing Shed, a facility which celebrates the contribution sheep farming has made to the local community. Although Nyngan is no longer a rail centre, the town remains the primary service centre for the Bogan Shire, whilst the native birdlife and fauna which congregate around the Bogan River attract a significant number of tourists to the town each year.