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Where is Come By Chance - A Village Town in New South Wales, Australia

Lady Rain lives in Australia and enjoys writing about travels, crafts and historical events.

A small country town with an unusual name of Come By Chance is situated on the Baradine Creek in northern New South Wales, Australia. With a postcode number 2832, Come By Chance is about 100 kilometres North West of Coonamble in the Walgett Shire and about 250 kilometres from Dubbo in regional New South Wales. This country town stands at an elevation of 144 metres above sea level and covers an area of less than 1700 square kilometres. The population in Come By Chance was around 220 in the 2016 census. The closest town with a population of over two thousand is Walgett which 50km from Come By Chance. This outback place in New South Wales is as remote as the Kimberleys in Western Australia.

The summers are hot to very hot with very little rainfall. Temperatures above 40°C are not unusual. The winters are mild but sometimes temperatures fall below 0°C.

More than a century ago, the area used to be a meeting place for station owners. In 1862, George and William Colless were surprised that they were able to purchase a sheep station in the area. The brothers came across the block of land that had missed allocation after the 1861 Lands Act settlement. They had thought all the land in the area were no longer available because they were all allocated and sold. As luck would have it, after they purchased the block of land, they decided to name their property Come By Chance Station.

After the Colless family settled in the area, they also owned many other blocks of buildings including the post office, a hotel, a police station, a blacksmith shop and even the cemetery. The village was later named after the Colless' sheep station. At one stage, Come By Chance was even believed to be the only privately owned village in the Southern Hemisphere. Sheep and cattle farming were practised in the early days, followed by farming of crops like legumes and cereal.

The people who lived in Come By Chance owned stations and horses. As a result, horseracing began in 1947 and it became a yearly event. Since then, the Come By Chance Picnic Race Club has been hosting the races every year in September. The Come By Chance Picnic Races are now held at the Glenada Racecourse. Thousands of spectators and some horses from the neighbouring towns flock to Come By Chance to attend this picnic race every year, except in 2007 where there was an outbreak of equine influenza (horse flu). There are lots of other entertainment and activities for adults and children on horseracing day. The race club celebrated its 70th anniversary in 2017. Thousands turned up for the races despite the heatwave, gusty and dusty wind on the day.

Despite being a quiet small town in the outback and almost unknown to the rest of the world, Come By Chance was mentioned by Australian poet Andrew Barton 'Banjo' Paterson in one of his bush poems:

"But my languid mood forsook me when I found a name that took me;

Quite by chance I came across it - 'Come by Chance' was what I read"

The works of Paterson can be found in this book:

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This is what the races would look like in outback Australia over 50 years ago.

This is what the races would look like in outback Australia over 50 years ago.

The Shire of Walgett is closest to Come By Chance.

The Shire of Walgett is closest to Come By Chance.

Where in the World is Come By Chance

Other places to explore in Australia

© 2012 lady rain


lady rain (author) from Australia on May 10, 2012:

Sharon, I like visiting small towns like this as there is always something interesting or unique about these places. Thank you for stopping by and leaving comment.

aboutaustralia from Newcastle, New South Wales on May 09, 2012:

Weird and wonderful place names never cease to amaze me! We have come across some interesting ones in our travels around the country too. Enjoyed reading about the history of this little town, thanks. Sharon

lady rain (author) from Australia on January 03, 2012:

Hi ByChanceTV, you made me smile! Thanks for stopping here by chance. Cheers!

ByChanceTV on January 03, 2012:

Well isn't that ironic - I should Go There..!

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