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Bourke

Bourke is a town in the north-west of New South Wales, Australia. The administrative centre and largest town in Bourke Shire, Bourke is approximately 800km north-west of the state capital, Sydney, on the south bank of the Darling River. At the 2011 census, Bourke had a population of 2,047, of whom 762 (or 37%) identified as Indigenous Australians.HistoryThe location of the current township of Bourke on a bend in the Darling River is the traditional country of the Ngemba people.The first white explorer to encounter the river was Charles Sturt in 1828 who named it after New South Wales Governor Ralph Darling. Having struck the region during an intense drought and a low river, Sturt dismissed the area as largely uninhabitable and short of any features necessary for establishing renewable industry on the land.It was not until the mid-1800s following a visit by colonial surveyor and explorer Sir Thomas Mitchell in 1835 that settlement of the area began. Following tensions with the local people Mitchell built a small stockade to protect his men and named it Fort Bourke after then Governor Richard Bourke. This first crude structure became the foundation for a fledgling community with a small number of agricultural and livestock farms established in the region shortly afterwards. The area started to flourish when its location on the Darling River had it recognised as a key trade centre, linking the nearby outback agricultural industries with the east coast trade routes via the Darling River.
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