Griffith Court House
|Established:||4 August 1916|
|Elevation:||129.2 m (424 ft)|
| Time zone:
• Summer (DST)
|LGA:||City of Griffith|
Griffith ( //) is a city in south-western New South Wales, Australia. It is also the seat of the City of Griffith local government area. Like the Australian capital, Canberra and the nearby town of Leeton, Griffith was designed by Walter Burley Griffin. Griffith was named after Sir Arthur Griffith the first New South Wales minister of Public Works. Griffith was proclaimed a city in 1987, and presently has a population of 16,182.
It can be accessed by road from Sydney and Canberra via the Hume Highway and the Burley Griffin Way and from Melbourne, Victoria via the Newell Highway and either by using the Kidman Way or the Irrigation Way.
At the 2006 Census, 16,182 persons declared the urban centre locality of Griffith as their usual place of residence. Of this number 13,949 were Australian citizens. The median age was 34, and the average household size was 2.6 members.
28% of persons declared themselves being of Australian ancestry, 19% English ancestry, 18% Italian ancestry, 6% Irish ancestry and 5% Scottish ancestry. Respondents could nominate up to two ancestries.
Griffith was established in 1916 as part of the New South Wales State Government's Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area (MIA) project to supply irrigation from the Murrumbidgee river in western New South Wales to be used for farming. The main dam was the large Burrinjuck Dam between Gundagai and Canberra, which stored water to be released down the river for irrigation. Berembed Weir, near Narrandera, was built across the Murrumbidgee River, from which flows the Main Canal. The Canal, almost a river in its own right, flows through the MIA to Griffith, supplying water to the entire area, and petering out to the northwest of the city in rice farms.
The water supply was further enhanced with the construction of the Snowy River scheme by the Australian Federal Government in the 1950s and 1960s. The Blowering Dam, a large dam near Tumut stores a significant amount of water to be released down the Murrumbidgee for irrigation around Leeton, Griffith and the newer Coleambally area south of the Murrumbidgee and Griffith.
From the start of the MIA, citrus and other fruit and vegetables were grown in abundance around Griffith. In the 1950s the irrigation area expanded to include large rice farms. Vineyards were established early, and wineries followed, beginning with McWilliams wines at Hanwood and Yenda, two villages just outside the city.
From its earliest days, the MIA was populated by Italian workers, some of whom were initially employed by Australian farmers to run steamboats on the Murrumbidgee and Murray Rivers. Approximately 60% of today's Griffith population claim Italian background. These include the initial settlement of Italians from the boat crews and other Italians who came out to Australia in the Depression, or from a second wave of immigrant Italians who came to Griffith in the late 1950s and early 1960s.
In the 1970s, Griffith was often associated with drug distribution (particularly marijuana) and organised crime, as depicted in 2009 by Underbelly: A Tale of Two Cities. However, Griffith is now associated with good wine and food, primarily as a result of its diverse population, with notable contributions by Italian-Australians. Griffith's multi-ethnic population is now absorbing new national groups, including a significant Sikh Indian community. The city is sister city with the Italian city of Treviso in the Veneto Region. Many Italians in Griffith are from the Veneto Region or the Calabria Region of Italy.
The Italian influence expanded the range of fruit and vegetables, and also significantly increased the number of wineries and the range of wines produced. De Bortoli, Rosetto and other wineries were established by Italian immigrants, and today they are well known around Australia. In recent times they have been joined by one of the country's best known wine labels, Yellow Tail, produced by Casella Wines.
|Climate data for Griffith|
|Record high °C (°F)||46.0|
|Average high °C (°F)||32.8|
|Average low °C (°F)||16.9|
|Record low °C (°F)||6.8|
|Precipitation mm (inches)||33.2|
|Avg. precipitation days||4.2||3.7||3.9||4.6||6.4||7.6||9.4||9.0||7.5||6.4||5.3||4.9||72.9|
Griffith is the regional service centre for the vast Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area - one of the most productive agricultural regions in Australia. Thanks to irrigation Griffith is rich in agriculture and the city is also known as Australia's "Wine and Food Country".
Griffith has experienced strong commercial growth in recent years. Griffith's main streets are Banna Avenue and Yambil Streets but commercial growth has occurred throughout the city. Shopping centre developments include:
- Griffith City Plaza
- Griffin Plaza
- Griffith Central
- Griffith Lifestyle Centre
- The Gateway Centre
- Griffith Woolworths Complex
- Griffith City Central
- Driver Shopping Complex
Griffith is home to the Riverina's largest employer, the Baiada Group. Griffith also has several wineries, including De Bortoli Wines and Casellas (makers of Yellow Tail wine); and the Summertime Juice Factory.
Griffith's urban sprawl is very extensive due to the rapidly growing population. The entire suburb of Collina has been constructed to the north west of the city. Other housing development has occurred in North Griffith, Mayfair and Pioneer.
Griffith also has 13 primary schools and various day care and pre-school facilities. Griffith has one of the largest campuses of Riverina Institute of TAFE. There has been recent plans to construct a fifth campus of Charles Sturt University in Griffith.
Griffith Buslines operates buses through Griffith and surrounding towns and villages.
Griffith is a major junction for the Kidman Way, Burley Griffin Way and Irrigation Way. Griffith is located 550 km west of Sydney via Burley Griffin Way and Irrigation Way and 450 km north of Melbourne via the Kidman Way. Griffith has daily bus services to the major metropolitan areas and a special Xplorer service to Sydney on weekends. Griffith Airport operates daily flights to Sydney and Melbourne.