Albury is a major regional city in New South Wales, Australia, located on the Hume Highway on the northern side of the Murray River. It is wholly within the boundaries of the City of Albury local government area. Albury has an urban population of 45,627 people. It is separated from its twin city in Victoria, Wodonga by the Murray River. Together, the two cities form an urban area with a population of more than 80,000. It is from the state capital Sydney and from the Victorian capital Melbourne.
There are few remainders of the indigenous population of the area, although the Wiradjuri people occupied the area for many thousands of years before. Little history is documented about the relationship of Aboriginal people and the European settlers.
The explorers Hume and Hovell arrived at what their maps named 'Crossing Point', but is now known as the Murray River at Albury, on 16 November 1824. They named the river the Hume River, after Hume's father, and the next day inscribed a tree by the river bank before continuing their journey south to Westernport in Victoria. In 1829|, explorer Captain Charles Sturt discovered the Hume River downstream at its junction with the Murrumbidgee River. Not realising it was the same river, he named it the Murray River. Both names persisted for some time, Hume falling into disuse eventually in favour of Murray. The aboriginal name for the river was Millewa. A crossing place for the Murray became popular close to where Hovell inscribed the tree. In summer it was usually possible to cross the river by foot.
The first European buildings erected at the crossing place were a provisions store and small huts. A survey for a town was commissioned in 1838 by Assistant Surveyor Thomas Townsend who mapped out Woodonga Place (the present Wodonga Place) as the western boundary, Hume Street as the northern boundary, Kiewa Street to the east and Nurigong to the south, with Townsend Street being the only other north-south road, and Ebden and Hovell Streets being the other two east-west roads. Townsend proposed the settlement be named 'Bungambrewatha', the Aboriginal name for the area, but when his plan was eventually approved and published in the Government Gazette on 13 April 1839 the name had been changed to Albury.
Albury is said to be named after a village in Kent, England which it resembled.
By 1847, the Albury settlement included two public houses and a handful of huts, a police barracks and blacksmiths. A log punt established in 1844 serviced the crossing of the Murray River. Albury Post Office opened on 1 April 1843, closed in 1845, then reopened in the township on 1 February 1847.
In 1851, with the separation of Victoria from New South Wales and the border falling on the Murray River, Albury found itself a frontier town. With increase in commerce with Melbourne, the first bridge was built in 1860 to the design of surveyor William Snell Chauncy. Albury at this time became a customs post between the two colonies as New South Wales held a protectionist stance on gaining its constitution in 1856.
Albury was at this time starting to grow substantially with German speaking immigrants using the area to grow grapes for wine. Albury boasted by the 1870s a butter factory, flour mill, wineries and locally brewed cider and soft drinks.
In 1888, Albury built its first school house. The city's first mayor James Fallon was an innovator of the Public School, funding a demonstration High School to be built on Kiewa Street.
The railway line from Sydney arrived at Albury in 1881 (see Transport-Rail below). A temporary wooden railway bridge joined the line to the Victorian network 1883. New South Wales and Victoria had different track gauges until 1962, when the first train ran straight through from Sydney to Melbourne. The states could not initially agree which should be the transfer point so they had an expensive and attractive iron lattice bridge sent from Scotland which accommodated both gauges. The bridge is still standing astride the Murray and is in daily use.
Albury's proximity to Wodonga has spurred several efforts to achieve some kind of municipal governmental union (see Albury-Wodonga). In 1973, Albury-Wodonga was selected as the primary focus of the Whitlam federal government's scheme to redirect the uncontrolled growth of Australia's large coastal cities (Sydney and Melbourne in particular) by encouraging decentralisation. Grand plans were made to turn Albury-Wodonga into a major inland city and large areas of the surrounding farmland was compulsorily purchased by the government. Some industries were enticed to move there, and a certain amount of population movement resulted. However, the current population of approximately 101,597 residents is far below the 300,000 projected by Whitlam in the 1970s.
Albury has a large number of heritage buildings. The following are listed on the Register of the National Estate.