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Araluen is a small town near Braidwood in the Southern Tablelands of New South Wales, Australia, in Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council. It lies in the valley of Araluen Creek, that joins the Deua River at roughly the midpoint in its course. At the 2016 census, Araluen had a population of 168 people.The name 'Araluen' meant 'water lily' or 'place of the water lilies' in the local Aboriginal language. At the time of European settlement Araluen was described as a broad alluvial valley with many natural billabongs covered with water lilies. Unfortunately, no such billabongs exist in the Araluen valley today. As with most river and creek valleys in south-eastern Australia, the natural landscape of Araluen Creek and its valley were destroyed by rampant and extremely destructive gold mining during the 'gold rush' in the latter half of the 19th century. The town experienced a decline after a flash flood in 1860 virtually destroyed the town, killing 24 people.
A second flash flood came in March, 2012 killing one person.Araluen experienced a great population increase during the gold rush. It had various schools between 1867 and 1956. Araluen West Public School operated from 1867 to 1919, although it was called Bourketown Public School during its first two years. Araluen Upper Public School operated from 1872 to 1888. Araluen Lower Provisional School operated from 1943 to 1956. Araluen West Evening Public School operated from 1880 to 1886 and in 1890 and 1892. Araluen Evening Public School operated in 1880 and 1881.The town was connected by road to Braidwood from its earliest days. Those travelling from the coast went via Braidwood, either over the Clyde Road (from Nelligen on the Clyde River) or the Braidwood Road (from Nowra).
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