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Bega is a town in the south-east of New South Wales, Australia in the Bega Valley Shire. It is the economic centre for the Bega Valley.Place nameOne claim is that place name Bega is derived from the local Aboriginal word meaning "big camping ground". Another claim is that it is a corruption of the Aboriginal word "Bika" meaning "beautiful".History and descriptionThe Bega region was used by the Yuin-Monaro tribal grouping of Aborigines for thousands of years before Europeans arrived in the area. The first European to come near the area was George Bass, who explored the coastline in 1797 as part of his broader explorations of the Australian coast. William Tarlinton was the first European to explore the area on foot, arriving in 1829. He returned in the early 1830s and settled there, starting a cattle farm. Others who arrived in the area around the same time were the Imlay brothers, who also began farming there. Their name has since been preserved in the form of Mount Imlay National Park. Live cattle were transported to Sydney for a time, to be supplemented by tallow and hides in the early 1840s. Beef and dairy farming were carried on in the area through the 1840s, and many towns were surveyed in the 1850s.The town of Bega itself was laid out and gazetted in 1851. Located to the north of its present location, repeated flooding later resulted in its relocation to the higher ground south of the river. Dairy farming expanded in the region quickly throughout the 1860s, overtaking cattle farming as the predominant industry. In 1858, Tathra was used as a port for the transport of products to Sydney, and the Illawarra Steam Company was established. In 1860, Tathra Wharf was constructed, which allowed for the further growth and expansion of the dairy industry.Add Bega and other Australia destinations to your travel plans using our Australia trip itinerary builder app.
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