Henty is on the border of the South West Slopes and Riverina regions of New South Wales, midway between two of Australia’s greatest river systems, the Murray and the Murrumbidgee on the Olympic Highway (route of the 1956 Olympic torch journey to Melbourne).
Around 1835 saw the establishment of agriculture in the district, followed by the arrival by wagon from South Australia of settlers of German descent in the late 1860s and its establishment as the town of Henty in the late 1880s following the construction of the railway.
In 1888 the name Henty was proclaimed, named after Edward Henty (who had leased Round Hill Station to the south of Henty, in the early 1860s). The town’s original name of ‘Dudal Comer’ (pronounced doodle cooma, the local indigenous term for ‘sweet water’), led to confusion with the town of Cooma in the Monaro district.
Henty is perched on the shore of an ancient ebb and flow wetland. For periods during the year the wetland is dry and only after heavy rain is the water visible. The wetland habitat covers 2,023ha which now includes Doodle Cooma Swamp Nature Reserve and private land. Many ancient river redgums (some 400 years old) still stand and these attract a wide range of bird and animal life.
Located between the towns of Henty and Culcairn on the Olympic Highway, is the Henty Man. This sculpture was originally shaped by an itinerant worker in the early 1930’s from a tree burnt out by a swagman’s fire. It became a district landmark until it was destroyed by natural elements about 20 years later. At Henty’s Centenary celebrations in 1986 a restored Henty Man was dedicated to the “Men of the road who, through no fault of their own had to walk the length and breadth of Australia during the Great Depression seeking work...”.