Centenary of Griffith

Historical Timeline

    •  The Wiradjuri People inhabited the area. We acknowledge the Wiradjuri people as the traditional owners of the land and pay respect to Wiradjuri Elders past, present and future.

  1. John Oxley 

    • Surveyor-General John Oxley described the Murrumbidgee plains as a "howling wilderness"


    •  The Murrumbidgee Irrigation Scheme was approved by the NSW Government.

    • First farms released in the Hanwood Area. By 1916, over 200 farms had been taken up.

    •  Water Conservation and Irrigation Commission established.

    • First grapevines planted at Hanwood by JJ McWilliam and his son Jack.

    • First home built in the MIA.

    • Bagtown School established.


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    • Walter Burley Griffin draws plans for the township of Griffith.
    • Mirrool Settlers Cash Club established, the forerunner to the Griffith Co-operative Society and the Producers' Co-operative

    • Griffith gazetted.

    • Yenda gazetted.

    • Railway from Barellan to Griffith opened.

  3. Lyceum Theatre c1920 
    • Returned Soldier Settlers Act passed and a camp established at Yenda. Returned Soldiers had to work 90 days probation before they could apply for a farm.
    • Griffith was ready for occupation and shops were established.
    • WC & IC Office relocated from Bagtown to Griffith.
    • Electricity became available in Griffith.
    • Lyceum Theatre and the open air theatre built.
    • First Agricultural Show was held. A licence was granted to hold a publicans booth despite the area being under prohibition and a riot broke out.
    • Yenda Public School opened.
    • Villages of Beelbangera, Bilbul and Yoogali gazetted.
    • Griffith Cemetery opened.
    • St Patrick's School established.
    • "Sylvania" Hospital Yenda built (closed 1925).
    • Field Hospital opens in Banna Avenue (first in Griffith).
    • First major visit of politicians to the area - Ministerial Parliamentary Party.
    • First rice crops grown.
    • The Area News commenced printing.
    • A severe storm destroyed the Lyceum Theatre, it was rebuilt and a café eventually replaced the open air theatre.

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    • Soldier Settlers protest march to WC & IC for a better deal.
    • Alcohol prohibition in the MIA was lifted.
    • Griffith Country Women's Association (CWA) founded.
    • Griffith linked to Leeton via rail.


    • Burrinjuck Dam completed.
    • Formation of Wade Shire Council.
    • Griffith Post Office was constructed.
    • Pageant held for Griffith and District Hospital and included a parade, dancing, merry-go-round, and joy flights.
    • Griffith Public School became Griffith District School.
    • Valerio Ricetti "the hermit" arrives in Griffith
    • Jondaryan Club opened, demolished in 2006.
    • Griffith Swimming Club established.


  5. Lyceum Theatre c1920
    • Mirrool Creek flooded, breaching the Northern Branch Canal at Yenda. The town centre was under 600mm of water, while the residential area to the west was under 1m of water.
    • Griffith District Hospital opens at its current site.
    • Griffith District School became Griffith Intermediate High School with classes up to third form (Year 9).
    • Charles Kingsford Smith flew into Griffith.
    • The Reservoir was established, storing Griffith's water for over 60 years. Now the site of Griffith Central (opened 2007).

    • With rumblings of war in Europe, the Lighthorse was re-established. The local Unit was named 'Riverina Horse'

    • 150 years of European Settlement celebrated with the Venetian Carnival which was held on the town reservoir.

    •  Griffith High School was opened.

    • Griffith's CBD flooded.

    • The Cenotaph opened on ANZAC Day.
    • First Women's Land Army members arrived in Griffith. Their contribution to the area cannot be overestimated.

    • First commercial air service to Griffith.

    • Riverina Express Train (Griffith to Sydney) maiden run.


    • Water Wheel Festival held in celebration for the Centenary of Responsible Government in Australia.



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    • New location set for the Civic Centre (now the site of Griffith Regional Theatre).
    • Opening of Griffith North Public School.
    • Golden Jubilee Celebrated.
    • Fairey Firefly memorial 'plane on a stick' erected.


    • Catholic High School established with the merger of St Brendan's School for Boys and secondary classes from St Patrick's.



    • Wade High School opened.
    • Griffith Pioneer Park Museum Opened.



    • Yenda flooded.
    • Griffith's CBD flooded (pictured: Yambil Street)
    • Murder of anti-drugs campaigner, Donald Mackay.
    • Lyceum Theatre closed.
    • Griffith Ex-Servicemen's Club was destroyed by fire and rebuilt.
    • Wade Shire Council became Griffith Shire Council.
    • Griffith Regional Art Gallery opened.


    •  Griffith Regional Theatre opened.

    • Griffith Shire Council became Griffith City Council. 




    • Unveiling of Griffith's Scenic Curtain at Griffith Regional Theatre.
    • 95.1FM Community Radio commenced.
    •  Official opening of Griffith Community Gardens.

    • Griffith Plaza opened.

    • Residents petition to 'keep our pool'.

    • Signing of the Declaration of Reconciliation.
    • Official opening of Griffith Regional Aquatic Leisure Centre.

    • Griffith Central opened.


    • 5000 angry locals confronted the Murray Darling Basin Authority representatives at a meeting to protest the unfair 'plan'.
    • Official opening of the Griffith City Council Chambers extension and renovation.
  10. Lyceum Theatre c1920
    • A widespread rain event resulted in devastating flooding across the region, affecting the villages of Yenda, Yoogali and Hanwood.
    • Official opening of the Griffith City Airport Terminal upgrade.