Taralga is a small village in the Southern Tablelands of New South Wales, Australia, in Upper Lachlan Shire.
- Area:119.375 km2
- Elevation:852 m
- Local Government Area:Upper Lachlan Shire Council
Taralga is a small village in the Southern Tablelands of New South Wales, Australia, in Upper Lachlan Shire. It is located at the intersection of the Goulburn-Oberon Road and the Laggan-Taralga Road. It is accessible from Oberon to the north, Mittagong to the east, Goulburn to the south, and Crookwell to the west. At the 2016 census, Taralga had a population of 467. Taralga is located relatively close to the famous Wombeyan Caves. The town experiences a volatile climate and is frequently affected by snow in the winter months.
The population of Taralga has fluctuated over time reflecting the town's fortunes. There were approximately 100 residents in 1863, growing to over 700 by the 1890s. Immediately after the depression of the 1890s, the population shrank to half this size, but recovered by the mid-1950s almost to its peak level. Today the town and its surroundings are home to around 400 people.
The area around Taralga was the traditional land of the Burra Burra peoples, a warlike tribe who often clashed with neighbouring tribes and never lost a fight. Although no major clashes with the Europeans seem to have been recorded, nor tales of collaboration with them, their last great gathering or corroboree seems to have been in the 1830s after which they are not recorded by European history. Accordingly, they would have been pushed further west to less fertile plains after the disease brought by the Europeans.
Charles Throsby passed through the Taralga area in 1819 on a journey from Cowpastures to Bathurst in search of new grazing lands. By 1824, John Macarthur's son James and his nephew Hannibal had established themselves in the Taralga region where they helped pioneer Australia's wool industry. A private village was established on land donated by James Macarthur and cleared by convicts in order to house and service members of the Macarthur family and their employees. Orchard Street, now the main thoroughfare is located on the site of Macarthur's orchard. During the town's early history, Macarthur Street functioned as the main street and many examples of heritage buildings still stand here.
An 1828 census revealed a small number of residents at Taralga suggesting the village was already under way by that time, although there were probably no more than a few buildings. For the first few decades of the colony of New South Wales, most of the settlers were convicts assigned to the landowners and it was they who largely cleared the land, built the huts and houses, and ran the farms. Taralga started to look like a town after the first few houses were built in the 1840s, but more rapid growth would be experienced in the 1860s in part due to the Robertson Land Acts allowing freehold title over land to settlers at favourable rates.Taralga was officially established as a town in the 1860s, with a school in 1857, and churches—Presbyterian in 1861, St. Ignatius Roman Catholic in 1864, St. Lukes Anglican in 1866 and Methodist (now the Historical Society building) in 1868. There were a number of stores, smiths and artisans' businesses and two hotels recorded in 1866. There was a large increase in population in Taralga after the 1860s, caused mainly by the gold rush bringing new migrants to the area.
In 1923, the town was visited by Premier Sir George Fuller, marking a period of renewed interest and prosperity in Taralga. During this visit, the Premier unveiled a war memorial honouring those residents who served in World War I, turned the first sod for construction of a railway link as well as laying the foundation stone for the Taralga Co-Operative Dairy Company's new butter factory. The 25 km (16 mi) Taralga railway line, constructed as a branch from the Crookwell line at Roslyn opened in 1926 and closed in 1957. The line has since been lifted and little remains of the formation. Electricity was first provided in the 1930s by way of a plant set up by local Mr Sid Holt.
Taralga has an oceanic climate. Temperatures are warm in summer, whereas winters are cool during days, with frequent frosts by nightfall. Precipitation is relatively frequent year-round, peaking in winter and spring with a notable quantity of snowfall and sleet. Summers occasionally see frost due to a high diurnal range.
The lowest maximum temperature was 1.1 °C (34.0 °F) recorded in August 1962; the warmest maximum temperature recorded was 40.5 °C (104.9 °F) in January 2020. The coldest low plummeted to -9.6 °C (14.7 °F) in July 1982; the warmest low on record was 24.2 °C (75.6 °F) in February 1973.
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