Balranald Shire, in the western Riverina, has recognised that the people who live in and around its remote hamlets are the heart and soul of the district.

Story John Dunn  Photo Wildprints

Balranald Shire has started a new campaign promoting its hamlets and villages to outsiders as a wider example of what living in remote Australia is like. “These tiny outposts scattered across the shire are the centres for companionship and social interaction and for those whose lives may sometimes be lonely and secluded, they are a very necessary part of life on the land in remote, rural Australia,” says the Visit Balranald Website ( “They are, too, a telling display of the togetherness and spirit of country life.”

Sites that are promoted alongside Clare School include the old hall at Hatfield, a historic church at Oxley and a country pub at Penarie. Balranald is a grain-producing and wool-growing shire with 1500 people in the town of Balranald itself, and another 700 or so scattered across 21,693sq km. The Murrumbidgee, the Lachlan and the Edward rivers flow through the shire. 

This story excerpt is from Issue #136

Outback Magazine: Apr/May 2021