Cowra Shire

About the area

Key Statistics


Cowra Shire is located in the Central Tablelands of New South Wales, about 310 kilometres west of the Sydney CBD. Cowra Shire is bounded by the Cabonne Council area and Blayney Shire in the north, the Bathurst Regional Council area in the east, Upper Lachlan Shire and the Hilltops Council area in the south, and Weddin Shire and Forbes Shire in the west.

Included Areas

Cowra Shire includes the localities of Billimari, Bumbaldry (part), Canowindra (part), Cowra, Darbys Falls, Garland (part), Gooloogong (part), Koorawatha (part), Lyndhurst (part), Mandurama (part), Neville (part), Roseberg, Wattamondara, Woodstock and Wyangala (part).

Land Use

Cowra Shire is predominantly rural, with several townships which include residential, commercial and industrial areas. Settlement is based mainly in the township of Cowra, and the smaller villages of Billimari, Darbys Falls, Gooloogong, Wattamondara, Woodstock and Wyangala. The Shire encompasses a total land area of about 2,800 square kilometres, of which a large proportion is national park and state park. Rural land is used mainly for farming, including sheep and cattle grazing, vegetable and crop production and viticulture.

Name Origin

Cowra is named from an Aboriginal word meaning "rocks".

Indigenous Meaning

The original inhabitants of the Cowra area were the Wiradjuri Aboriginal people.


European settlement of the area dates from the late 1820s when the first settlers arrived. The township of Cowra was established in the 1840s. Land was used mainly for farming, particularly grazing. Population was minimal until the 1870s and 1880s, aided by the construction of the railway, improved access and the discovery of gold. The town grew steadily as a service and retail centre. Some growth took place in the early 1900s, aided by the construction of the Wyangala Dam. Growth continued in the early 1940s, due largely to the establishment of a Military Training Camp and a Prisoner of War Camp. The most significant development occurred in the post-war years, aided by the establishment of a Migrant Camp. The population was relatively stable from the early 1990s, at about 12,000 people.

Major Features

Major features of the Shire include Conimbla National Park, Wyangala Waters Holiday and Recreation Park, the Lachlan River, Lake Wyangala, Wyangala Dam, Darbys Falls Observatory, Koorawatha Nature Reserve, Bellevue Hill Reserve, Cowra Japanese Garden and Cultural Centre, Prisoner of War Camp Ruins, Cowra War Museum, Cowra Aquatic Centre, Cowra Regional Art Gallery, TAFE NSW Western Institute (Cowra College), Australian World Peace Bell and numerous wineries.


Cowra Shire is served by the Mid Western Highway and Cowra Airport.

Cowra Shire

economic profile