Junee /dʒuːˈni/ is a medium-sized town in the Riverina region of New South Wales, Australia. The town's prosperity and mixed services economy is based on a combination of agriculture, rail transport, light industry and government services, and in particular correctional services. In 2011 Junee's urban population was 4,400.
One theory is that word Junee which originates from the Aboriginal word 'Jewnee' means "speak to me". Another theory is that it is an Aboriginal word "Choo-nee" meaning "frog".
The Wiradjuri people are the traditional owners of the local area prior to European settlement. Leopold de Salis (1816-1898), pastoralist and later politician was one of the principal squatters to open up the Riverina region to agriculture. He established the 'Jewnee' pastoral run in the 1840s. A post office opened in 1862 and a village called 'Jewnee' was gazetted in 1863 on the wool road to Sydney. That same year, Ben Hall and his bushranging gang raided the village.
In 1866 Junee's population was recorded as twelve but the discovery of reef and alluvial gold during the 1860s triggered a gold rush. The main sites – Old Junee (to the west), Junee Reefs (to the north) and Illabo (to the north-east) – were mined until the 1880s.
By the mid-1870s with the southward expansion of the Main South line in New South Wales, the main railway line between Sydney and Melbourne passed 8 kilometres (5.0 mi) east of the town. Junee Post Office was renamed Old Junee in 1881 when the town of Junee was relocated nearer to Junee Junction (Junee railway station). Junee Railway Station Post Office opened on 6 July 1878, was renamed Junee Junction in 1881 and later still, Junee in 1893.
Junee became one of the most important railway centres in the state after the construction there of railway repair facilities including the Junee Roundhouse. Local government was established in 1886 and a courthouse was built in 1890. The railway defined the character of Junee for almost 100 years and the renewed prosperity is evidenced by various hotels and railway facilities. Today these buildings are still faithfully maintained in accordance with architectural standards of their day.
In May 1901, the Duke and Duchess of York arrived in Junee as part of their tour of the British Empire.
The town's rugby league team Junee Diesels competed for the Maher Cup.
The advent of rail transport provided the impetus for Junee's second economic boom providing local agricultural producers with very affordable direct access to both markets in Sydney and Melbourne. In 1952 the largest wheat terminal in the Southern Hemisphere was constructed at Junee.
The Main South line between Sydney and Melbourne runs through Junee, as does the Olympic Highway, named for the route of the 1956 Summer Olympics Torch Relay.
By the early 1970s, Junee's business leaders were faced with a rail based economy in decline. Many locals credit AJJ (John) Thompson, appointed as town clerk in 1970, as the "Father of Modern Junee" for his vision of the town's future and for taking the hard decisions that were needed to reinvigorate the township. With financial assistance sourced from the State Government, land was allocated for new housing developments and new businesses were enticed to move to the town. Local producers were encouraged to diversify into new products.
Almost forty years on Junee is known for its lamb and high quality crops of wheat, canola, oats, barley and triticale. A manufacturing sector has also evolved with emphasis on steel engineering, meat processing and organic flour. It is also the location of the Junee Correctional Centre. Housing development has increased steadily and community facilities have matured and developed to make Junee a sought after lifestyle and tourist destination in the Riverina District.
Junee visitors and residents are served by NSW TrainLink XPT services on their way between Melbourne and Sydney. The local Council maintains an online tourism map including local places of interest. Rail transport makes an important contribution to the local economy with Regional Rail Logistics operating a containerised freight service that delivers various goods from Junee to Sydney, with interstate freight trains also passing through the town.Laurie Daley, a rugby league player and New South Wales and Australian captain
Michael Dobson, a rugby league player who played halfback for the Canberra Raiders and Hull Kingston Rovers
Adam Gilchrist, an Australian cricketer lived here for a short time in his childhood
Bill Heffernan, a Senator for New South Wales, representing the Liberal Party
Sir Elwyn (Jack) Lynn (1917-1997), an Australian artist, author, art critic and curator
Ray Warren, a rugby league commentator
Bernie Fraser, a former Governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia
Adam Commens, an Australian Olympian hockey player
HMAS Junee (J362/M362), one of 60 Bathurst class corvettes constructed during World War II was named in recognition of the town. It entered active service in 1945 and was later used as a training ship until it was decommissioned in 1957.Junee Licorice & Chocolate Factory
Junee Roundhouse – Rail & Transport Museum
Monte Cristo – Historic Homestead
Junee Historical Museum
Kaybunda Lavender Farm Old Junee
Ray Warren Statue
Red Cow Hotel
The Junee Hotel
Pete's Hobby Railway
Junee is served by:Junee Southern Cross newspaper
Radio 1RPH transmitter (99.5FM)