BOURKE is mainly known for its remoteness, and this alone is enough to attract tourists; once you’ve crossed the North Bourke Bridge that spans the Darling River, you’re officially “out back”. Bourke was a bustling river port from the 1860s to the 1930s, and there remain some fine examples of riverboat-era architecture, including the huge reconstructed wharf, from where a track winds along the magnificent, tree-lined river. The Darling River water has seen crops as diverse as cotton, lucerne, citrus, grapes and sorghum successfully grown here despite the 40 °C-plus summer heat, while Bourke is also the commercial centre for a vast sheep- and cattle-breeding area. However, Bourke has suffered in former years due to prolonged periods of drought, consequently losing one-third of its population (some 1000 people), who have had to move out of the region to find employment..