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Canberra Region

About the area

Name origin

Bega is thought to be named from an Aboriginal word meaning “big camping ground”. Bega Valley Shire is also known as the Sapphire Coast.

Location and boundaries

Bega Valley Shire is located at the south-eastern extremity of coastal New South Wales. Bega Valley Shire is bounded by Eurobodalla Shire in the north, the Tasman Sea in the east, the State of Victoria in the south, and the Snowy Monaro Regional Council area in the west. Bega Valley Shire is located about 350 kilometres south of the Sydney CBD, 430 kilometres north-east of the Melbourne CBD, and 170 kilometres south-east of the Canberra CBD.

Included areas

Bega Valley Shire includes the townships and localities of Angledale, Bald Hills, Barragga Bay, Bega, Bemboka, Bermagui, Berrambool, Black Range, Bournda, Boydtown, Broadwater, Brogo, Buckajo, Burragate, Candelo, Cathcart (part), Chinnock, Cobargo, Coolagolite, Coolangubra, Coopers Gully, Cuttagee, Devils Hole, Dignams Creek (part), Doctor George Mountain, Eden, Edrom, Frogs Hollow, Green Cape, Greendale, Greenlands (part), Greigs Flat, Jellat Jellat, Kalaru, Kameruka, Kanoona, Kiah, Kingswood, Lochiel, Merimbula, Millingandi, Mirador, Mogareeka, Mogilla, Morans Crossing, Mount Darragh, Mumbulla Mountain, Murrah, Myrtle Mountain, Nadgee, Narrabarba, Nelson, Nethercote, New Buildings, Nullica, Numbugga, Nungatta (part), Nungatta South, Pambula, Pambula Beach, Pericoe, Quaama, Reedy Swamp, Rocky Hall, South Pambula, South Wolumla, Steeple Flat (part), Stony Creek, Tanja, Tantawangalo, Tarraganda, Tathra, Timbillica, Tinpot (part), Toothdale, Towamba, Tura Beach, Verona, Wadbilliga (part), Wallaga Lake, Wallagoot, Wandella, Wapengo, Wog Wog, Wolumla, Wonboyn, Wonboyn North, Wyndham, Yambulla, Yankees Creek, Yellow Pinch and Yowrie (part).

Land use

Bega Valley Shire is predominantly rural, with many townships, villages and holiday areas. The Shire encompasses a total land area of over 6,000 square kilometres. The Shire’s main urban centre is Bega, with smaller urban areas in Bemboka, Bermagui, Candelo, Cobargo, Eden, Merimbula, Pambula, Pambula Beach, Tathra, Tura Beach, Wolumla and Wyndham. Land is used predominantly for conservation and timber production (national park and state forest). The next biggest land use is agriculture, particularly dairy farming, with fishing, oyster harvesting, tourism and retail also being important industries. The Shire’s population has grown steadily over the past few decades, particularly in the towns and villages.

Transport

Bega Valley Shire is served by the Princes Highway, the Snowy Mountains Highway, Merimbula Airport and the Port of Eden.

Settlement history

European settlement dates from the 1830s, initially in the Twofold Bay (Eden) and Bega areas. The urban centres began as small agricultural service centres and fishing ports in the 1850s. Wharves were constructed at Bermagui, Eden, Tathra and Merimbula to service the dairying and beef industries. Land was used mainly for farming, agriculture and timber-getting, with some fishing, whale processing and gold mining. The coastal centres expanded rapidly in population during the post-war period, particularly from the mid 1970s, with the population rising from under 20,000 in 1981 to over 27,000 in 1991. Growth slowed from 1991, with the population gradually increasing to about 32,000 in 2011, with most of the growth occurring in the towns and villages.

Indigenous background

The original inhabitants of the Bega Valley were the Monaro and Yuin Aboriginal people.

Regional labour force

Bega Valley Shire labour force region is defined by an area in which a significant percentage of workers travelled into Bega Valley Shire to work at the 2011 Census. Details of this calculation and a list of areas included can be found in the data notes.

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