Armidale (map) (population circa 22,000) (map); Armidale is a university and cathedral city in northern New South Wales; it is also the administrative centre for the New England region. The traditional inhabitants were the Aniwan (Anaiwan or Nganaywana) people. European settlement began in the 1830s following the exploration of the area by explorer, John Oxley. Despite the spelling, it was named after Armadale on the Isle of Skye in Scotland. The Scottish Armadale was the ancestral home of George James McDonald who was the Commissioner for Crown Lands in the late 1830s.

Oxley recommended the region for grazing, and soon early pioneers set up small farms in the locality. The town, which was surveyed in 1848 and gazetted in 1849, was established to provide a market and administration for the farms. It wasn't long before gold was discovered at nearby Rocky River and Gara Gorges. A gold rush subsequently ensued enlarging the town rapidly in the 1850s. The gold mining settlement of Hillgrove, about 10km east of Armidale, was the site of Australia's first hydro-electric scheme.

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