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Wagga Wagga City is located in the Riverina region of southern New South Wales, about 450 kilometres south-west of Sydney and 460 kilometres north of Melbourne. Wagga Wagga City constitutes both rural and urban areas, with commercial, industrial and military areas. Most of the population is located in the urban areas. Rural land is used mainly for wheat-growing, dairy farming, mixed farming and sheep grazing.
The original inhabitants and custodians of the Wagga Wagga area were the Wiradjuri Aboriginal people. European settlement dates from the early 1830s, when land was used for cattle stations. The township of Wagga Wagga was established in the 1840s. Population was minimal until the late 1870s, spurred by the construction of the railway line. Many small towns and villages were established along the railway line, with land used mainly for dairy farming, sheep grazing, wheat growing, fruit growing and wineries. The population grew during the late 1800s and early 1900s, rising from about 4,000 in 1881 to nearly 12,000 in 1933. Significant development occurred during the post-war years, with new suburbs developed to the south of the city, including returned soldier settlements. Rapid growth took place during the 1960s and 1970s, with the population increasing from about 15,000 in 1947 to 30,000 in 1971. Growth continued from the 1970s, with the population rising to about 40,000 in 1981 and 55,000 in 1996. The population was relatively stable between 1996 and 2001, and then increased to 58,500 in 2006 and 61,800 in 2011.
The bulk of recent growth has been in the small areas of Bourkelands – Tatton, Glenfield Park and Springvale - Lloyd. Recently, Wagga Wagga City has played host to two distinct housing market roles; drawing young adults, attracted to education, transport, employment opportunities and providing homes to both young and mature family households. Recent migration into the area largely arrived from the surrounding Local Government areas, metropolitan Sydney or overseas. Conversely, the flows away from the City into were largest toward South East Queensland and greater Melbourne.
The importance of the Wagga Wagga City as a destination for both families and young adults is expected to continue over the forecast period. New residential development opportunities in Estella - University, Springvale - Lloyd, North Wagga Wagga - Bomen, and Forest Hill - East Wagga Wagga will cater for an increase in families to the area while continued ‘infill’ development in Wagga Wagga (Central) will provide drive household growth for young adults.
Note: The migration flows depicted above are historical and do not represent future or forecast migration flows or subsequent council boundary changes. The arrows represent migration flows to the area as a whole and do not indicate an origin or destination for any specific localities within the area. Overseas flow shows overseas arrivals based on answers to the census question "where did the person usually live 5-years ago" and .id estimates of international out-migration.
With the variety of residential and rural locations, different areas within Wagga Wagga City have developed different roles within the housing market. Traditionally, areas to the south of the Wagga Wagga urban area such Bourkelands - Tatton, Lake Albert, Springvale - Lloyd and Glenfield Park have been attractive to both young and mature families. Areas closer to the commercial centre such as Wagga Wagga (Central), Turvey Park and Ashmont have had a significant component of medium and high-density housing, which attracted a large share of younger adults to these areas. The variety of function and role of the small areas in the Wagga Wagga City means that population outcomes differ significantly across the City.
There are also significant differences in the supply of residential property within the City which will also have a major influence in structuring different population and household futures within the LGA over the next five to ten years. Significant new ’greenfield’ opportunities have been identified in Estella - University, Springvale – Lloyd, North Wagga Wagga – Bomen, and Forest Hill - East Wagga Wagga. There have also been a number of medium/high-density development opportunities identified in central Wagga Wagga. Areas such as Bourkelands - Tatton and Glenfield Park, that have recently produced the bulk of all new dwellings in the City, will reach the end of their development cycles. Most other areas are expected to have some growth in dwellings, but based predominantly on residual residential land, infill of vacant lots and more intense use of land.
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