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Berrima is widely recognised today as the best preserved example of a Georgian village on the Australian mainland.
A fortunate series of events created the Berrima we see today. 1831 to the 1860s was a time of promise and growth, which came to an abrupt end when the railway bypassed the village in 1867. For the next hundred years there was little or no development in the village.
Today's visitor to Berrima can experience the quiet charm and romance that comes from those features of the village which remained frozen in time and which now so wonderfully portray those earlier times. (See the Historic Berrima page for a map and list of these features.
It wasn't always quiet and charming. From the 1950s onward, cars and trucks were taking more passenger and freight traffic away from the railway. The village quietness was increasingly disturbed by heavy traffic along the Hume Highway (previously known as the Great Southern Road).
Travellers, and especially those journeying between Canberra and Sydney, found Berrima a convenient stopping point for a break and a meal. To these travellers, Berrima was mostly a strip of eateries and shops straddling the highway and catering to the passing trade.
The increased highway traffic was at best a mixed blessing to Berrima. While some businesses were benefiting from the passing trade, crossing the main road had become a hair-raising experience for pedestrians. Most people in the village were delighted when, in 1989, Berrima was bypassed by the South Western Freeway.
The village is no longer merely a stopping point on the way to somewhere else. Today's Berrima is a delightful destination in its own right - for a day trip, for a weekend, or for a much longer holiday.
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