The Ngarigo were the original inhabitants of the Monaro region.

Mosaic Mural - Discovery

In May 1823 a small group of white men set out on horseback from the Moss Vale area, to explore the then unknown country south of Lake Weerawa (now called Lake George). The party consisted of Brigade Major John Ovens, Captain Mark Currie R N, and an ex-convict named John Wild, plus a number of Aboriginal men. After a few days they passed Limestone Plains (now Canberra), and came upon a lovely stretch of land which they named Isabella Plains (after the daughter of Governor Brisbane).

Mosaic Tile Picture, a part of the Cooma Monaro Time Walk, Centennial Park, Cooma


In early June they camped on the bank of a gully where they were met by a group of local Aboriginal people. It was obvious that the Currie and Ovens party were the first white people the locals had ever seen, and they were terrified of the horses, but they managed to communicate with the Aboriginal party members, who explained that the area was called "Maneroo" (or "Monaroo"). Currie was impressed by the great expanse of rolling hills and downs, much of whose rich grassland was strangely treeless.

Granite Boulders

This district was rapidly settled by squatters; by 1848 there were over 1,900 people in the area, plus 307,000 sheep and 113,000 cattle. The peculiar lack of trees meant that the squatters could put their stock to graze immediately without first having to clear the land.

Click below for details about the history of...

Agriculture & Industry on Monaro -"bastards every one, with small frames and impaired constitutions"

Banjo Paterson & Monaro

Education on Monaro - "lessons being carried out in cleaners' cupboards and weathersheds"

Geography & Geology of Monaro - where are all the trees???


Health Care - "paupers, wanderers, severely injured labourers and a few mental cases"

Local Government - Cooma-Monaro Shire

The Snowy Scheme

Transport on Monaro

The war years on Monaro


Towns and localities within Cooma-Monaro Shire:

Big Badja, Bredbo

Chakola, Cooma, Countegany, Currango

Jerangle & Peak View, Jingera



Nimmitabel, Numeralla

Rock Flat

Shannons Flat