Of all the towns and villages within the Parkes Shire LGA, the southern-most is Daroobalgie. While being closer to Forbes than Parkes, it contains the 2870 postcode. Similarly to nearby Nelungaloo, Daroobalgie shares parts of its history with Forbes as well as Parkes. Long term residents will remember the meatworks and freezer works situated here, while many people can tell if you’re a local if you know how to pronounce it (HINT: it’s pronounced with a lot less letters than how it’s spelt – droo-BALL-ghee)
It still contains buildings that historians love to look at. Indeed it’s position in Australian history is assured, seeing as it played a part in one of the many “snowball marches” of the First World War.
Daroobalgie is first mentioned in The New South Wales Government Gazette in 1848, when a licence to depasture stock at Daroobalgie had been given to Thomas Arkell. (Source: New South Wales Government Gazette (Sydney, NSW : 1832 – 1900), Tuesday February 1, 1848 [Issue No.13] p. 161.) Arkell’s pastoral lease was given in 1839, according to Hildred (1997) p.47. This excellent resource, Forbes, New South Wales, Australia highlights that the definition for Daroobalgie is an Aboriginal word for “jumping into water” (Source: NSWRail.net website) and that like so many place names years ago had an additional way of spelling it DROUBALGIE:
Droubalgie (Aboriginal for jumping into water) was first taken up as a pastoral lease by Thomas Arkell in 1839 and incorporated half of what is now Forbes, the other half was part of Bogabigal: lore has it that the boundaries of Droubalgie and Bogabigal were either where the Lands Office now is or at Ranken [sic] Street.
Mr George Ranken owned Bogabigal Droubalgie extended north from the Lachlan River towards Parkes where it had a common boundary with Bartley’s Creek, now owned by the Tom family.
The accompanying sketch [see below] of ‘Commissioner’s Camp Forbes about 1860’ was given to my mother, Helen Wilson, in 1934 by the daughter of Edward Combes and shows the eastern side of Droubalgie homestead which is built of pit-sawn timber and had a shingle roof (now under corrugated iron). [Brunel Combes is listed as being the Government Surveyor in the Australian Almanac of 1866].
After Thomas Arkell it was owned for many years by Martin Bros, then passed briefly to the Corby family from whom my father, Charles S. Wilson, bought it in 1925. The Wilsons had owned Lake Cowal station at Marsden since 1878 and Charles Wilson had a block called Caloola. In 1923 he married Helen Stitt of Wandary. They lived at Caloola for two years then moved to Droubalgie to take advantage of the fertile river flats and plentiful water of the Lachlan, not to mention being closer to family at Wandary.
In 1926 Charles Wilson built a suspension bridge between Droubalgie and Wandary, not so much for social reasons but to take the Droubalgie sheep to Wandary shearing shed. Droubalgie shearing shed was burnt down in the time of a previous owner who used the insurance money to pay for his daughter’s wedding. The suspension bridge was destroyed by floods in the early 1950s.
Allan Wilson in Hildred (1997) pp.47-48
Census results when Daroobalgie was counted on its own. *** Please note the 1947 Census tally is combined from results Daroobalgie (68), near Daroobalgie (50), and Front Daroobalgie (63). Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics website
Forbes historian, Max Thomas, explained that the parish of Bocobidgle – in the Ashburnham county – was once the name for Daroobalgie. However the “Droubalgie Run” was established and that name eventually formed into ‘Daroobalgie’ for the village’s name. In its heyday Daroobalgie had a school, post office, a few shops as well as a cricket team.
Sketch of Commissioner’s Camp circa 1860 which became ‘Droubalgie’ homestead. Source: Forbes, New South Wales, Australia by Jeannette Hildred (Editor) p.47
The railway line still passes through Daroobalgie, although the railway station was closed on March 25, 1975.
The Stockinbingal-Parkes line highlighting the years of use for Daroobalgie. Source: NSWrail.net website
The Boomerangs as they marched into Parkes before heading to Daroobalgie on their way to Bathurst. Source: Flickr.com website
The “snowball” marches were recruitment marches that started in country towns of New South Wales during the Great War. The aim was to increase recruitment into the Australian Imperial Force while also raising awareness amongst communities. The Australian War Memorial website records:
In 1915 recruiting committees were formed in nearly every town throughout Australia. In the central west of New South Wales a movement began which became known as the ‘Gilgandra snowball’. Under the leadership of W.T. (‘Captain Bill’) Hitchen, 20 or so men who had determined to enlist started off to march to Sydney. Gathering other recruits along the way, they numbered about 300 by the time they reached Sydney. This was known as the Coo-ee March.
Their example was soon followed by other marches from around New South Wales and Queensland: the Waratahs, Kangaroos, Wallabies, Dungarees, Men from Snowy River, Kurrajongs, Kookaburras, Central West Boomerangs and North Coast Boomerangs. They relied on the support of the communities they passed through, which was often enthusiastic. The total number of men involved was only about 1,500 but the marches attracted wide publicity and may have encouraged fund-raising and enlistment more generally.
The Central West Boomerangs took the following route:
Route: from Parkes the Boomerangs took the train to Daroobalgie then marched to Donaghey’s Hill, Forbes, Yamma Station, Eugowra, Gooloogong, Canowindra, Billimari, Cowra, Woodstock, Lyndhurst, Carcoar, Blayney, Newbridge (to Georges Plains by train), Perthville, Bathurst.
They arrived in Bathurst almost at the same time as the Kookaburras and were given a combined reception. They entered the new Bathurst Show Ground Military Camp for training.
Each original Boomerang marcher was presented with a medallion brooch in the shape of a boomerang, etched with the name of the volunteer, his town and the words ‘Come back’.
For most of the 20th Century, the main industry at Daroobalgie was the abattoir. The meatworks was used for all manner of meat production, including cattle, pigs and goats. In 1911 an update to the Meatworks meant it was among the best in New South Wales. It was also in the year that a 50-ton ice-making machine was installed. Daroobalgie now had a Freezerworks also (Source: Western Champion Friday March 10, 1911 p.10)
Photograph of Daroobalgie Freezing Works 1958. Source: Forbes Museum used with permission
Central West Livestock Exchange (aka “the Salesyards”)
The Central West Livestock Exchange at Daroobalgie was finally completed in 2006 after over ten years of planning. Allowing farmers from Parkes, Forbes and other surrounding towns with first class facilities for trading stock.
The first sale at the brand new Central West Livestock Exchange, near Daroobalgie. Source: Parkes Champion Post Wednesday January 11, 2006 p.1
The newly opened Central West Livestock Exchange raises money for local charities. Source: Parkes Champion Post Friday February 24, 2006 p.19
Dignitaries turn the first sod at stage two construction of Central West Livestock Exchange at Daroobalgie. Source: Parkes Champion Post Friday December 11, 2009 p.22
Opening of the new pig yards at Daroobalgie, 15 years in the planning and continuing a tradition that’s nearly a century old. Source: Parkes Champion Post Friday April 20, 2012, p.24
It is not surprising that Daroobalgie becomes another haven for sports lovers, given how much of the Parkes Shire’s past and present is linked with sport. Daroobalgie is the home of the motocross and dirt racing for the district. Continuing the link between the twin towns of Forbes and Parkes, the Forbes Motorcycle Club brings together riders and spectators from both towns and surrounding districts.
Daroobalgie is the home to motocross for both Forbes and Parkes riders. Source: Parkes Champion Post Monday August 11, 2008 p.15
Parkes local, Frazer Miller, is seen in action here at Daroobalgie. Source: Parkes Champion Post September 12, 2008 p.24
It’s not just bikes but auto sports and go karts at Daroobalgie. Source: Parkes Champion Post Friday, April 24, 2009 p.26
Parkes resident, Brandon Ross, photographed in action at Daroobalgie. Source: Parkes Champion Post Friday July 24, 2009 p.19
A great day for Parkes motocross riders, with several podium finishes for local riders. Source: Parkes Champion Post Friday, August 7, 2009 p.27
If you have stories, photographs or memories that you are willing to share about Daroobalgie please contact Parkes Shire Library via email@example.com so that they can be shared and kept for posterity on this blog. Alternatively you may leave comments on this page.
Parkes Riders Perform Well in Motocross (August 11, 2008). Parkes Champion Post, p.15. Retrieved February 12, 2020, from X1 Database in Parkes Shire Library
Bike Riders to Race Sunday. (September 12, 2008). Parkes Champion Post, p.24. Retrieved February 12, 2020, from X1 Database in Parkes Shire Library
Racing Continues at Forbes Tomorrow. (April 24, 2009). Parkes Champion Post, p.26. Retrieved February 12, 2020, from X1 Database in Parkes Shire Library
Flying High: Brandon Ross is pictured monstering his bike across the finish line at the last motocross meeting at Daroobalgie. (July 24, 2009). Parkes Champion Post (Friday, July 24, 2009, p. 19). photograph.
Parkes Riders Carve Up The Field at Forbes Dirt-Track. (August 7, 2009). Parkes Champion Post, p.27. Retrieved February 12, 2020, from X1 Database in Parkes Shire Library