New South Wales GenWeb Project
A genealogical research hub pertaining to New South Wales, Australia

A-Z NSW Shires
Online Databases
Transcript Depot
Convict Heritage
General History
Message Board
You Are Here!

Selected contents are
copyright as per the
terms of the GNU Free
Documentation Licence

Link to this website

The Northern region of New South Wales, often referred to as the New England district, is characterised by foothills and plains to the west; and vast tablelands in the east. It spans an area of 98,606 square kilometres; its two major cities are Tamworth and Armidale (population circa 180,576).  Thirteen shires comprise the North - Armidale Dumaresq, Glen Innes Severn, Gunnedah, Guyra, Gwydir, Inverell, Liverpool Plains, Moree Plains, Narrabri, Tamworth, Tenterfield, Uralla and Walcha.

North GenWeb (adopt me)

Volunteer Required for the position of Northern County Coordinator.  A County Coordinator maintains the county website and moderates the existing message board.  This is not a difficult position and anyone with basic web editing experience and a genuine interest in the region is welcome to apply.  In addition to web and query maintenance, a County Coordinator also oversees the local GenWebs within its region.  This duty is non-technical as a County Coordinator operates in an advisory capacity only.  Existing Local GenWeb Coordinators and non-locals are welcome to apply for the position.

Join Rootsweb's AUS-NSW-New England mailing list - suitable for anyone with a genealogical interest in the New England District; includes the towns of Armidale, Tamworth, Glen Innes and surrounding areas.

Armidale Dumaresq (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.

Armidale Dumaresq GenWeb Coordinator:  Volunteer Required

^ top

Glen Innes Severn (map); Glenn Innes is a town and local government area located at 1,062 m in the beautiful New England Tablelands (population circa 6,200).  The area is renowned for its distinct seasons and is commonly referred too as 'Celtic Country'.  The first settlers, who arrived in 1838, were predominantly of Scottish origin; today the town is the site of Australia's only official monument to the nation's Celtic pioneers (the Standing Stones).  When tin was discovered at Emmaville in 1872, Glen Innes became the centre of a mining bonanza.  It is a prolific sapphire region and also produces emeralds, garnets, topaz and quartz crystals.  

Glenn Innes Severn GenWeb Coordinator:  Volunteer Required

^ top

Gunnedah (map) is a town and local government area situated 264 metres above sea level on the Liverpool Plains in the Namoi River valley (population circa 12,287 of which approximately 8,000 live within the town of Gunnedah).  The area is very flat; the tallest hills are 400 to 500 metres above sea level. The climate is hot in summer with mild dry winters, although rainstorms in catchment areas occasionally cause flooding of the Namoi River.  Major floods cut transport links to the town, briefly isolating it from the outside world.

Gunnedah and surrounding areas were originally inhabited by Aborigines who spoke the Kamilaroi (Gamilaraay) language. The area now occupied by the town was settled by Europeans circa 1833.  Dorothea Mackellar wrote her famous poem My Country (popularly known as I love a Sunburnt Country) about her family's farm near Gunnedah. This is remembered by the annual Dorothea Mackellar Poetry Awards for school students held in Gunnedah.

Villages within the shire include Breeza, Carroll, Curlewis, Mullaley and Tambar Springs. 

Gunnedah GenWeb Coordinator:  Volunteer Required

^ top

Guyra (map) is a town and local government area situated in the New England region of northern New South Wales (population circa 4,440).  The traditional inhabitants were the Anaiwan people, whilst European farmers arrived in the 1830s.  Guyra was proclaimed a town in 1885.  Located on a volcanic uplift of the Northern Tablelands, the town is one of the highest in Australia at 1,325 metres above sea level.  The principle industries include fine wool, lamb, beef, potatoes and tomatoes. The town is known for its extremely cold winters by Australian standards, with an average of 59 nights per year with subzero temperatures.

Guyra became the focus of national attention on 5 February 1960 when a four year old boy named Steven Walls wandered off from his father on a property north of the town and became lost for four days. Hundreds of volunteers searched the bush for the boy until he was discovered asleep against a log. His immediate question to searchers was "Where's my daddy, where's my daddy?"; which gave rise to a hit song by singer Johnny Ashcroft, entitled 'Little Boy Lost'. A film of the events was later commercially made using many of the local people of Guyra and shown across Australia.

Villages within the shire include Ben Lomond, Ebor, Llangothlin and Tingha. 

Guyra GenWeb Coordinator:  Volunteer Required

^ top

Gwydir Shire (map) is a local government area formed following the amalgamation of the former Yallaroi and Bingara Shire Councils, and a northern portion of the former Barraba Shire Council.  The Yallaroi Shire was based in Warialda, the town is now home to the shire's main works depot.

The shire is bordered by Inverell and Guyra Shires to the east; and Moree Plains Narrabri Shires to the West.  The shire includes the towns of Warialda, Bingara and the villages of Warialda Rail, Gravesend , North Star, Croppa Creek, Coolatai and Upper Horton. 

Update: while the Federal seat of Gwydir was abolished in 2006 the region continues to be represented here as Gwydir Shire. For further information: Click Here (pdf)

Gwydir GenWeb Coordinator:  Volunteer Required

^ top

Inverell (map) is a town and local government area situated on the western slopes of the New England highlands.  The name is of Gaelic origin and signifies 'the meeting of the swans' - 'inver' (meeting place) and 'ell' (swan).  The Macintyre River and Swanbrook River meet in Inverell.

Agriculture flourishes within the region although mining is also undertaken.  Inverell is renowned for its gems, contributing to the majority of Australia's sapphire production.  The Inland Fishing Festival is held every year at Copeton Dam, the district's main water supply.  This man-made dam holds three times the capacity of water as Sydney Harbour.  It is so large that when it is below 3% of its capacity during drought, it still has enough water to supply the town for up to ten years without water restrictions.

Inverell GenWeb Coordinator:  Volunteer Required

^ top

Liverpool Plains (map) is a geographical and local government area in northern New South Wales.  It is primarily flat due to the undulating terrain formed from the remnants of volcanoes, such as those of the Liverpool Ranges to the southwest. To the south and east it merges into the higher and cooler Northern Tablelands.

The Liverpool Plains Council was formed in 2004 by the amalgamation of Quirindi Shire, substantial parts of Parry (Split with Tamworth Regional Council) and Murrurundi Shires, plus small parts of Gunnedah Shire. It has an area of 5,085 km2 and a population of approximately 7,910. 

The largest town in the geographical area is Gunnedah although it lies outside the local government area.  The largest town within the shire is Quirindi. Other towns include Werris Creek, Wallabadah, Willow Tree and Curlewis. 

Liverpool Plains GenWeb Coordinator:  Volunteer Required

^ top

Moree Plains Shire (map) is located on the New South Wales side of the border with Queensland.  It is one of the largest Local Government areas in the State of New South Wales (population circa 16,027).  Also known as the 'Spa Capital of Australia', the township of Moree is situated at the crossroads of the Newell and Gwydir Highways.  Local produce includes Wheat, Barley, Sorghum, Pulses, Cotton, Maize, Beef, Sheep, Wool, Olives, Pecans and Canola.

The Moree Hot Artesian Pool Complex, first established in 1896, attracts visitors from around Australia and overseas to 'take the waters'; an activity particularly popular with immigrants from eastern and southern Europe and eastern Asia. Moree itself sits at the south-eastern extremity of the Great Artesian Basin, a vast underground water resource covering much of eastern and central Australia.

The Shire has a relatively high Indigenous Australian population (17%) and in recent years has achieved recognition for its Aboriginal Employment Strategy, targeting indigenous employment in the mainstream workforce through a process of mentoring and counselling of both employer and employee.

The town of Mungindi (population circa 645), which straddles the New South Wales/Queensland border, is custodian of the world's largest survey peg, the One Ton Post, which marks the start of the colonial border survey of 1881 from Mungindi to Cameron's Corner at South Australia.  The Shire also includes the towns of Boggabilla (population circa 667), Pallamallawa (population circa 307) and Gurley (population circa 305). 

Moree Plains GenWeb Coordinator:  Volunteer Required

^ top

Narrabri (map) is a town and local government area located on the Namoi River.  It is 531kms northwest of Sydney; situated on the junction of the Kamilaroi and Newell Highways (town population circa 8,000).

Narrabri is the centre of a major cotton industry; other industries include wheat, beef and lamb. Nearby attractions include Mount Kaputar National Park; the Australia Telescope Compact Array at the Paul Wild Observatory (administered by the CSIRO); and a number of agricultural centres, including the Australian Cotton Centre.  Just to the south of town is the Pilliga Forest, the largest remnant temperate forest in Eastern Australia.

Narrabri Shire includes the towns of  Wee Waa, Boggabri, Pilliga, Gwabegar and Bellata. 

Narrabri GenWeb Coordinator:  Volunteer Required

^ top

Tamworth (map) is the major regional centre for southern New England and the government seat of the Tamworth Regional Council Local Government Area.  Nationally famous as the 'Country Music Capital of Australia', it is home to the annual Tamworth Country Music Festival.

Tamworth is the traditional home of the Kamilaroi people.  The first European settler to pass through the area was explorer John Oxley (1818).  In 1831, the first sheep and cattle stations were formed; and in the same year the Australian Agricultural Company (AAC) was granted a lease of 127,000 ha of land at Goonoo Goonoo, south of the present location of Tamworth, extending to present-day Calala.

In the 1830s a company town began to develop on the Peel's southwest bank, the present site of West Tamworth. In 1850 A public town was gazetted on the opposite side of the river from the existing settlement. This town became the main town, called Tamworth after Tamworth, Staffordshire, represented at the time in parliament by Robert Peel. The town prospered and was reached by the railway in 1878.

In 1888 Tamworth was the first town in the Southern Hemisphere to have municipally-operated electric street lighting generated by a newly opened power station.  Tamworth was proclaimed a city in 1946 and in 1988 a country music icon, the 12 m tall Golden Guitar is erected as a symbol of the city's country music roots.  In 2004,  a new local government area 'Tamworth Regional Council' is formed from Tamworth City, Manilla Shire and parts of Parry, Nundle and Barraba Shires.

Tamworth GenWeb Coordinator:  Volunteer Required

^ top

Tenterfield (map) is a town and local government area located in the New England region of northern New South Wales. Situated at the intersection of The New England and Bruxner Highways, Tenterfield is a 3 hour drive from Brisbane (QLD) and a 10 hour drive from Sydney.  It sits in a valley astride the Great Dividing Range at an altitude of 880m.

Tenterfield's proximity to many regional centres and its position on the route between Sydney and Brisbane led to it being a centre for the promotion of Federation of the Australian States. Sir Henry Parkes delivered his Federation Speech in Tenterfield in 1889 whilst en route from Brisbane to Sydney.

A number of famous Australians have roots in Tenterfield including Major J. F. Thomas, a solicitor known for his vigorous defence of Harry 'Breaker' Morant; and the boy from Oz, Peter Allen who lived with his grandfather George Woolnough, a saddle maker who was forever immortalised in the song 'Tenterfield Saddler'.

Tenterfield GenWeb (adopt me)
Tenterfield GenWeb Coordinator:
Volunteer Required

^ top

Uralla (map) is a small town and a local government located on the New England Highway about 500kms north of Sydney and about 20kms south west of  Armidale (population circa 2,500).  Situated more than 1000 meters above sea level, the area is known for its cold winters and mild summers.

Uralla was firmly established as a town in 1855, spurred on by a gold rush that inflated the town's size to 5,000 plus. It is still possible to pan for gold in the rivers around the town. Today, the area is used for raising sheep and is renowned for its super-fine and ultra-fine wool for use in the fashion industry. It is also a good area for growing apples and other fruit which require cooler weather.  Three foundries account for a large percentage of the employment rate, as well as other metal manufacturing businesses.  Uralla is the final resting place for the infamous bushranger, Captain Thunderbolt.

Uralla GenWeb Coordinator:  Volunteer Required

^ top

Walcha, known locally as 'Pasture Wonderland' (map), is town and local government area situated approximately two and a half hours drive from the New South Wales coastline.  Originally inhabited by the Anaiwan and Dangaddii people, the first European to venture into the area was explorer John Oxley.  He arrived in September 1818 and promptly named the local river 'Apsley' after the Secretary of State for the colonies, Lord Apsley.

Hamilton Collins Sempill was the first settler in the area, arriving in 1832; he named the area 'Wolka'.  The etymology of Wolka is inconclusive although it is said that Wolka (Walcha) may mean 'sun' or 'water'.  

Between 1834 and 1858 a number of settlers joined Sempill, one of whom was David William Jamieson.  Jamieson and associates industrialised the region by introducing a flour mill, local store and blacksmith.  The first school was established during this period as were the local churches.  By 1870 gold fever had struck the region and the population soared.  

Walcha was proclaimed a Municipality in 1889; the adjacent Shire of Apsley was proclaimed in 1906.  By the turn of the century the town was a thriving local hub with a population of approximately 2,600 (includes surrounding area).  In 1955 the Shire of Walcha was constituted by the amalgamation of the Municipality of Walcha and the Shire of Apsley; in 1993 Walcha Shire Council was renamed Walcha Council.

Walcha GenWeb Coordinator:  Volunteer Required

© 2017 NSWGenWeb Project  ^ top