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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 area now known as Araluen lies on the traditional lands of the Walbanga people, a group of the Yuin. 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. The natural landscape of Araluen Creek and its valley were destroyed by rampant and extremely destructive alluvial gold mining during the 'gold rush' in the latter half of the 19th century.
By 1852, gold was being mined on Araluen Creek, around what is now Araluen. There were several mining villages in the area. Araluen experienced a great population increase during the gold rush. It experienced a decline after a flash flood in 1860 virtually destroyed the town, killing 24 people. Another flash flood came in March, 2012 killing one person.There was a revival of gold mining at Araluen in the first two decades of the 20th-century, when the area was extensively mined using gold dredges, adding to damage to the landscape of earlier mining efforts. By the mid-1920s, dredging had ended. Over its years as a goldfield, Araluen produced in excess of £11,000,000 worth of gold.After the years of gold mining, Araluen was renowned for its stone fruit, particularly its large, good tasting peaches.It had various schools between 1867 and 1956.
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