Batlow, New South Wales
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New South Wales
|Population||1,313 (2016 census)|
|Elevation||775 m (2,543 ft)|
|LGA(s)||Snowy Valleys Council|
|State electorate(s)||Wagga Wagga|
Batlow is well known for its apples. About 50 growers in the district supply 1.6 million cases of apples, or 10% of the Australian apple crop, to the Australian market. The district also produces cherries and stone fruit. The town's main landmark, the "Big Apple", which stands on private land 5 km north of the town, stands testament to the orchards which have been vital to the town's economy for over 120 years.
When gold was discovered in the area in 1854, a small settlement called Reedy Creek was established as a supply point and service centre for the mining area, and a Mr Batlow surveyed a townsite nearby. The gold deposits were quickly exhausted, but farmers found the area better suited to a variety of crops, so the mining supply point was moved and the current township established around 1855. Reedy Flat Post Office opened on 1 August 1873 and was renamed Batlow in 1889. Fruit trees and timber quickly became the main sources of income for the town, and in 1910 the townsite was gazetted.
In 1922, the first cool stores in New South Wales were constructed in the town. At the same time a railway was built from nearby Tumut. These developments facilitated the town's trade with Sydney and beyond. The district supplied troops with dehydrated fruit and vegetables during World War II. Many Land Army Girls were stationed in and around Batlow during the Second World War and a sizeable collection of memorabilia is held at the Historical Society Museum. There are two Soldier Settlements close to Batlow, Willigobung and Kunama.
On 4 January 2020 the town was damaged by fire during the 2019–20 Australian bushfire season. In the town itself at least 17 home were destroyed, as well as the old hospital and service station. Outlying properties were also affected with hundreds of apple trees "scorched".
In the 2016 Census, there were 1,313 people in Batlow. 76.3% of people were born in Australia and 81.5% of people spoke only English at home. The most common responses for religion were No Religion 27.0%, Anglican 24.5% and Catholic 20.4%.
Climate and GeographyEdit
Batlow is located 94 kilometres (58 mi) west of Canberra, though, by highway is approximately 225 kilometres (140 mi) due to the Great Dividing Range between them. The nearest city is Wagga, whilst five towns; Kunama and Laurel Hill in the southwest, Tumut in the northeast, Adelong in the northwest, and Tumbarumba in the south, are within 40 kilometres (25 mi).
The countryside around Batlow is a plateau of rolling hills, straddling 1,000 metres (3,300 ft) in altitude. Being on the western edge of the Great Dividing Range, Batlow receives much of the precipitation that has not fallen farther west, an average of 1,220.4 millimetres (48.05 in) per year; chiefly in winter, with August at 147.7 millimetres (5.81 in). Little or no precipitation is received from the Tasman Sea to the east, due to the large distances and the Great Dividing Range; instead, precipitation (and likewise snow) derives from the Southern Ocean, advancing northwards across Victoria with south-westerly upwinds. The cold, snowy winters, combined with the higher rainfall and good soils, make an excellent apple-growing climate. However, in 2006, Batlow experienced the most severe downturn in rainfall in New South Wales, receiving only 392 millimetres (15.4 in) of rain that year.
|Climate data for Batlow, NSW (Green Hills State Forest); 785 m AMSL; 35° 26′ 54.61″ S|
|Average high °C (°F)||26.3
|Average low °C (°F)||12.1
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||73.1
|Average precipitation days (≥ 0.2 mm)||6.7||6.6||6.7||8.6||10.3||11.9||14.6||15.2||11.5||12.0||8.5||8.0||120.6|
|Source: Australian Bureau of Meteorology; Green Hills State Forest|
Bago State Forest (surrounding plateau)Edit
Bago State Forest, about 21 km southwards of Batlow, yields a cooler climate owing to its much greater elevation. The climate here is Montane Grassland, owing chiefly to its significant elevation and windward position astride the Cumberland Range. Snowfall is frequent from May to September, and often falls rather heavily; snowfall can be expected at any time of the year, including early summer. The region is subject to high winds year-round; either as a result of thunderstorms in the warmer months, or snowstorms in the cooler months.
Climate data is sourced from Pilot Hill, which lies at 1,128 m AMSL—343 m higher than Green Hills State Forest.
|Climate data for Bago State Forest, NSW (Pilot Hill); 1,128 m AMSL; 35° 37′ 00.12″ S|
|Average high °C (°F)||23.5
|Average low °C (°F)||9.7
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||74.1
|Average precipitation days (≥ 0.2 mm)||6.1||5.7||6.7||6.6||8.0||12.4||11.7||13.9||11.9||10.5||7.7||7.3||108.5|
|Source: Australian Bureau of Meteorology; Bago State Forest (Pilot Hill)|
Batlow is an agricultural town offering services and facilities to the surrounding area, including two primary schools and a high school, a library (with telecentre), a hall and several stores and small businesses. The Batlow Fruit Co-operative, trading since 1922, (now the Batlow Fruit Co.) is based in the town.
Batlow was the home of the 'Mountain Maid' cannery until its closure in the early 2000s. The steel frame of the WWII Lend Lease–constructed building used in the production of food for the allied troops is still visible today.
Batlow's economy turns around the production of apples for the fresh food market. Some revenue is also obtained from other agricultural exploitations and timber from the large soft and hardwood plantations. There is a strong influx of seasonal labour for the harvesting of fruit from March to April. A smaller influx occurs at thinning time in December. There are a number of producers of cherries, nuts, honey and eucalyptus oil products.
Batlow is now the home to a truffery, a number of published authors, including British media personality Joshua Fox and novice film makers.
The 43,000-hectare (110,000-acre) Bago State Forest between Batlow and Tumbarumba contains stands of alpine ash and radiata pine. Pilot Hill Arboretum (est. 1920s) and the Sugar Pine Walk- a beautiful avenue of Sugarpine resembling a cathedral.
On the third Saturday of May each year the Batlow Ciderfest is held in the main street showcasing locally and regionally produced cider and regional food. Many interesting stalls also attend the family friendly Ciderfest event. The Ciderfest recently[when?] came second in the NSW Event awards after only beginning three years ago. On the Friday preceding a Cider Industry Conference is held. In the past two years a 'Living Food conference' has also been added to the CiderFest weekend. On the third Saturday of October the Apple Blossom Festival is held. This re-invigorated festival began in 1942 and the First Apple Blossom Queen was a Land army girl.
Batlow is in the Snowy Valleys Council. Batlow was moved to the bellwether federal Division of Eden-Monaro for the 2007 federal election. With Batlow usually voting overwhelmingly conservative, the vote swung to the centre left Australian Labor Party member Mike Kelly by 26%. Batlow is now in federal seat of Riverina.
- Australian Bureau of Statistics (27 June 2017). "Batlow (state suburb)". 2016 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 29 June 2017.
- Batlow: Big Apple, Big Trip.
- "MnKqvqZTSX". Geographical Names Register (GNR) of NSW. Geographical Names Board of New South Wales. Retrieved 13 June 2009.
- Premier Postal History. "Post Office List". Archived from the original on 19 August 2008. Retrieved 11 June 2009.
- Sydney Morning Herald. "Travel - Batlow". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 30 October 2006.
- Crowe, David (7 January 2020). "Defending the 'undefendable': How Batlow was saved". The Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax Media. Retrieved 18 January 2020.
- Hose, Nick; Francis, Laura (6 January 2020). "Fires in NSW leave Batlow residents returning to rubble after 'hairy' weekend". ABC News. Australia Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 18 January 2020.
- "Great Circle Distance between BATLOW and CANBERRA". Geoscience Australia. March 2004. Archived from the original on 10 October 2012.
- Sydney Morning Herald (8 January 2007). "Crunch Time for Apple Growers". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 29 December 2007.
- "Polling Place Results". Australian Electoral Commission. 2007. Retrieved 29 December 2007.
Media related to Batlow, New South Wales at Wikimedia Commons