In 1829 exploration parties headed from the west of Sydney across unknown lands towards the
Murray and Darling rivers to possibly discover an inland sea. In 1830 Captain Charles Sturt, while
navigating the Murray river, came across a river junction, the Darling river.
in 1838, Joseph Hawdon and Charles Bonney drove cattle overland from New South Wales to
Adelaide along the Murray and arrived at the Murray/Darling junction. Other overlanders followed
the route, which became known as the Sydney/Adelaide highway, and the river junction spot became
an established camp site known as Hawdon's Ford. The junction at the time was called "The Rinty".
The settlement was later referred to as the "Darling Junction".
A number of squatters established reign over the land along the Darling and Murray Rivers, expanding
their holdings westwards from the Murrumbidgee area and north eastwards from South Australia.
In the mid 1840's the settlement was known as McLeod's Crossing", named for the first white residents
of the settlement.
With the arrival of the river steamers in 1853, the small European settlement found itself to be ideally
situated as an administrative and commercial centre for the untapped wealth of the vast Outback.
For many years Sydney was the only port in New South Wales to handle more cargo than Wentworth.
The steamers brought a new sophistication to the rugged river towns. They carried the hopes and
dreams of fragile communities for over three quarters of a century.
In 1857, Surveyor General Barney considered it time to establish a proper township. The town site was
approved in 1859 and was named after the New South Wales explorer and politician William Charles
Wentworth, on June 21, 1859. The area was proclaimed a municipality on January 23, 1879, and is the
region's oldest settlement.