The Burra valley is approximately 25 km south of Queanbeyan, in the Queanbyan Palerang Regional Council area of NSW. It lies between the Monaro Highway and Captains Flat, 20kms north of Michelago and covers approximately 150 square kilometres. Urila and Tinderry are to the east of Burra.

The valley has been described as: “God’s little acres” (Tom Moore, 2000); “Fine forest country intersected by stony ranges” (Currie 1825); “The most scenic hobby farm area around Canberra” (Nathan Carroll, 2000); “Spectacular views, tranquil” (anon); “Serenity, a little piece of heaven” (Lajla Sidhu, 2000).

Throughout its European history, Burra has been a rural locality, a sheep and cattle grazing area. European land use in the area began as early as 1835.

The district of Burra is presently zoned as rural residential and now has about 350 households. There is no town but it is rather a district of a few remaining large properties and smaller “hobby farms”.

Although the development in the Burra area is in a rural environment, the population does not represent a rural population. There are many professional people including a high proportion of public servants and teachers, as well as tradesmen, self-employed and those who are employed on the land.

The population has changed over the last 30 years, which means the landscape has changed, and in turn there has been some effect on the environment in the form of erosion, diversity of land use and heavier traffic on the increased number of roads (dirt or bitumen).

While these physical changes have taken place, so has the “community”. A farmer community which made its living from the land, people who worked the few large properties where survival and raising families was a common bond, who helped each other with mustering, shearing, building and fencing, entertainment and sport. This was the accepted thing even though the community was spread over miles and miles of country. The community now comprises of people who may not have had roots in the country but who want to plant them but with the security of town and city jobs. As subdivision started, there emerged the needs for social interaction with other owner-builders, who had mutual problems, stress and a need to share and release the pressure of starting a new way of life.

The Burra Community Association was formed to provide and organise social and recreational events for the Burra community. It publishes the monthly newsletter, which is the major source of communication within the Burra and Urila valleys. This is delivered to every mailbox in the area, all the work done by volunteers. The Association is also the liaison between the Shire Council and the community. The committee is represented at Shire community consultation meetings throughout the year. Membership of the Association costs $20 per household.

See the Community Groups page for more info about existing groups.

Source: “The Essence of Burra”, Worth C, Murray M 2000, ISBN 0 646 40797 X

The book is available for sale from BCA for $20.


In the 2016 Census the population of Burra was 794. 

For the full census data, go to The Australian Bureau of Statistics