Armidale, New South Wales
New South Wales
Looking south across Armidale city
|Elevation||980 m (3,215 ft)|
|LGA(s)||Armidale Dumaresq Shire|
|State/territory electorate(s)||Northern Tablelands|
|Federal Division(s)||New England|
Armidale is a city in the Northern Tablelands, New South Wales, Australia. Armidale Dumaresq Shire had a population of 19,485 people according to the 2006 census. It is the administrative centre for the Northern Tablelands region. It is located approximately half way between Sydney and Brisbane at the junction of the New England Highway, national route 15, and Waterfall Way.
Armidale is located on the Northern Tablelands in the New England region about midway between Sydney and Brisbane at an altitude (980 m AHD) ranging from 970 metres at the floor of the valley to 1,110 metres above sea level at the crests of the hills. A short distance to the east of Armidale are heavily forested steep gorges dropping down to the eastern coastal plain. Large parts of the highlands are covered by Palaeozoic aged metamorphosed sedimentary rocks. Intruding into these meta-sediments are granite plutons which decompose to form sandy soil, slightly deficient in nutrients. There are also basalt flows which are the more fertile for the soil substrates. Those areas away from the deep gorge country tend to display gently undulating terrain mainly used for pastures and where granites occur the areas are usually covered in bushland.
The area contains a number of areas of outstanding natural beauty and scientific interest, and there are several World Heritage national parks in the area including the New England National Park and the Oxley Wild Rivers National Park. To the west is Mount Yarrowyck Nature Reserve.
Armidale has a noted problem with air pollution caused by the use of solid fuel domestic wood heaters during the winter months. A peer-reviewed study carried out by the University of New England found that winter woodsmoke causes 8.8 additional visits per day to GPs in Armidale for respiratory complaints, i.e. about 750 additional visits per year. Another peer-reviewed study estimated that use of wood heaters in Armidale was responsible for about 11.5 premature deaths per year with estimated annual health cost of $14.95 million - about $4720 per year for every woodheater in the city. A local retired doctor (now Associate Professor at the UNE Medical school) said that he is so concerned by the wood smoke situation, he urges people with respiratory problems to get out of town. New evidence shows use of Australian wood heaters increases global warming. A report by the United Nations Environment Program and the World Meteorological Organization recommends that developed countries phase out woodheaters to help prevent catastropic climate change. Policies adopted in much colder climates such as Montreal (with daily average maximum temperatures of -5 degrees C in January, much lower than Armidale's average daily winter maxima of 12-14 degrees C) suggest how this problem might be solved.
||This section needs additional citations for verification. (March 2013)|
It has a cool temperate climate with the majority of rain falling in the summer months. Armidale's elevation gives it a mild climate, with pleasant warm summers, extended spring and autumn seasons, and a long cold winter with some frosty nights. Snow falls on an average of one day every three years.
The presence of four distinct seasons, unlike most of the rest of Australia, is the reason for the "New England" moniker and the autumn colours are a notable feature of the city. Summers are characterised by warm to very warm days followed almost always by cool, sometimes cold, nights. Thunderstorms often produce heavy falls of rain and occasionally hail in the afternoons and early evenings, also bringing a sudden drop in temperature. Unlike nearby coastal areas, Armidale does not usually experience high humidity levels making most of the summer days quite comfortable. Temperatures exceed 30 °C on average of 13 days per year, but rarely reach higher than 35 °C.
As the leaves turn yellow and fall, day temperatures are mostly still warm, particularly in March and April. Days are sunny, the thunderstorm season is over, and rain becomes more sporadic. Nights become colder, and residents often awake to a thick fog blanketing the Armidale valley, but by 9 am fogs have cleared to be followed by a bright sunny day. The first frosts of the year usually occur in April, but are not particularly severe.
Winters are cold; overnight temperatures sometimes drop below −5 °C with a thick white frost on the ground. These cold frosty mornings are usually followed by sunny days. Day temperatures may make it as high as 16 °C, but sometimes may not climb beyond 10 °C. These are typical Northern Tablelands winter days with biting westerly winds, bleak grey clouds, and showers of rain and occasionally snow. Rainfalls during the winter months are usually light.
In spring temperatures are milder, although early morning frosts still continue well into October. September is usually a cool windy month, and by late October the thunderstorm season is starting with increasing rainfalls. The spring months produce the most variable weather of the year. A week of warm sunny weather can be followed by several cold days with temperatures right back at winter levels before gradually warming up again. This cycle often repeats itself many times until the start of summer.
|Climate data for Armidale Airport|
|Record high °C (°F)||35.7
|Average high °C (°F)||26.0
|Average low °C (°F)||13.1
|Record low °C (°F)||5.0
|Rainfall mm (inches)||91.8
|Avg. rainy days (≥ 0.2mm)||12.1||12.9||10.9||10.8||11.4||14.0||12.1||9.7||9.8||10.8||13.3||12.8||140.6|
|Source: Bureau of Meteorology|
Armidale has been prone to severe hailstorms and has experienced three such storms over a period of 10 years.
On 29 September 1996, hail of up to 80 millimetres (3.1 in) in diameter and southerly winds of up to 150 kilometres per hour (93 mph) were reported at the airport weather station. The area was declared a disaster zone and State Emergency Service crews were brought in from across the state. Damage was estimated to be in excess of A$200 million.
On 21 December 2006, hail stones, high winds and flash flooding damaged more than 1,000 homes and destroyed the Armidale Livestock Exhibition Centre which collapsed entirely under the weight of accumulated hail. The city was declared a state of emergency by New South Wales Premier Morris Iemma the following day.
Armidale railway station is located on the Main North railway line and is served by daily passenger trains to and from Sydney. Armidale consists of its own modern airport with five daily scheduled flights to and from Sydney with Qantaslink. Armidale Airport, at 1,084 metres (3,556 ft), is the highest licensed airport in New South Wales. The city is linked further north by daily coach to Tenterfield provided by Countrylink. Other bus companies such as Greyhound also provide the city with numerous daily services. Local city services are provided on six different routes by Edwards Coaches and Armidale is serviced by 16 taxis.
Although the hills to the north and the south can be a challenge for some, cycling is an option to get around Armidale. A cycleway exists from the University of New England through the city to the residential areas on the eastern side of city. This cycleway snakes back towards Ben Venue School. The passage through the city provides easy access for cyclists to the shopping centres. Bicycle racks can be found in strategic locations around the city centre, including at Coles supermarket, The Armidale Plaza, and Centro Armidale. Places are also provided outside the Armidale Dumeresq War Memorial Library, and at either end of the Mall. A maze of marked cycleways on the shoulder of the roads in the southern residential areas of the city give cyclists a safe option for riding on the roads in that part of city. Separate cycleways also exist from the Armidale Arboretum along Kellys Plains Road to the south and from the north of the city along Rockvale Road to the Armidale State forest (known as the Pine Forest by locals).
Armidale was first settled in the early 1830s, following the earlier exploration of the area by John Oxley. It was named after Armadale on the Isle of Skye in Scotland, but seemingly the city fathers were not good spellers. The Scottish Armadale was the ancestral home of George James McDonald who was the Commissioner for Crown Lands in the late 1830s. (This is not to be confused with Armadale, West Lothian, near Edinburgh.)
Oxley recommended the region for grazing, and soon early pioneers set up small farms in the locality. Armidale Post Office opened on 1 April 1843. The town, which was surveyed in 1848 and gazetted in 1849, was established to provide a market and administration for the farms, but soon after gold was discovered at nearby Rocky River and Gara Gorges, and a gold rush ensued, enlarging the town rapidly in the 1850s. The gold mining settlement of Hillgrove about 40 km east of Armidale was the site of Australia's first hydro-electric scheme, remains of which are still visible. The nearby town of Uralla was home to the famous Captain Thunderbolt - outlaw Fred Ward - who caused trouble in the area in the 1860s. As with Ned Kelly, the locals have adopted him as a larrikin hero and make the most of him as a tourist attraction.
City of Armidale 
Armidale was proclaimed a city in 1885. It is a cathedral city, being the seat of the Anglican and Roman Catholic bishops of Armidale. St Peter's Anglican Cathedral, which replaced the original St Peter's Church, was designed by the Canadian architect, John Horbury Hunt who also designed Booloominbah at the University of New England. St Peter's Cathedral opened for worship in 1875 and the tower was added in 1938. The Catholic Cathedral of St Mary and St Joseph was consecrated in 1912.
The city centre is laid out in a grid of streets. The main street is called Beardy Street, named for two of the founding settlers who had beards. The court house was built in the 1850s and is still a prominent feature of the central district. Much of the rest of the city is residential.
The Australian Wool Fashion Awards, which showcases the use of Merino wool by fashion designers, are hosted by Armidale in March each year. The Autumn Festival is a popular annual event of April in Armidale. The festival features a street parade, stalls and celebrations throughout the city. It is a regular part of the city's attractions, often promoting Armidale's diverse culture (for instance, posters set up by council attempt to attract tourists with the motto "Foodies Thrive In Armidale") and autumn colours. During May the annual New England Wool Expo is staged to display wool fashions, handicrafts, demonstrations, shearing competitions, yard dog trials and demonstrations, a wool bale rolling competition and other activities.
Sister cities 
The city is home to a large number of education facilities, including the Armidale Waldorf School (1985), New England Girls' School (1895), The Armidale School (1894), and the Presbyterian Ladies' College, Armidale (PLC Armidale) (1887), schools of the Australian independent education sector. O'Connor Catholic High School (1974) and St Mary's Primary School are systemic Catholic schools. Duval High School (1972) and Armidale High School (1911) are government-funded secondary schools. Almost 30% of Armidale's total population is in the 10-24 year age group, compared with an equivalent NSW figure of only 19.4% (2001 Census).
University of New England 
Main article: University of New England
The university was founded in 1938, at first as a college of the University of Sydney, but then in its own right in 1954. The UNE contributes to Armidale's position as a city of culture and diversity, with a vibrant artistic and cultural element. The university has strong links to the rural community, and undertakes a lot of agricultural research. There is also a high-technology presence, as well as notable humanities teaching. UNE hosts a wide range of courses, and introduced a number of new courses in 2008, including a Bachelor of Medicine as part of a joint medical program with the University of Newcastle. The university is built around the old mansion of Booloominbah, which is now used for administration and houses a restaurant. UNE is one of the city's main employers.
Armidale is a major regional retail centre, housing three shopping malls:
- Centro Armidale, a A$49 million development anchored by a Woolworths, Big W and 32 speciality stores. Centro began trading in late November 2007.
- Armidale Plaza, a A$70 million venture, officially opened an extension, refurbishment and rebranding (formerly Kmart Plaza) in August 2007. Armidale Plaza is anchored by Kmart, Target Country and 50 specialty stores. Bi-Lo was one of the anchor stores until it closed on 28 February 2010.
- The East Mall was constructed in 2002 and houses Coles Supermarket and 15 speciality stores.
The Mall 
Armidale has a pedestrian mall which stretches over three blocks of Beardy Street in the centre of city. It features many shops and cafés with outdoor eating areas along with some notable architecture, including Tattersalls Hotel, built in the Art Deco style during the 1930s; Armidale Courthouse; the city's main Post Office; the former Commonwealth Bank and the New England Hotel. The mall was opened in 1973 and was the first of its kind in regional Australia.
Armidale Dumaresq Council has been undertaking major upgrades to the mall since 2003 as part of the Armidale CBD Streetscape Design Project[dead link] which aims at easing traffic in the city centre by creating an emphasis on the "ring road" around the CBD with the assistance of signage, elevation of roads using paving and the creation of one-way streets.
The city is serviced by three local newspapers, many radio stations including four local outlets, and all major television stations.
Local press 
- Armidale Express
- Armidale Express Extra
- Armidale Independent
Local radio 
- TUNE! FM, one of Australia's oldest community radio stations aimed at a youth audience.
- 2AD/FM100.3, a commercial broadcaster owned by the SuperNetwork.
- 2ARM, a community radio station which is operating on a Temporary Community Broadcasting Licence.
- 88.0 is a narrowcast tourist radio station.
- 87.6 Raw FM Australia (Dance Floor Radio Network)
National radio 
Television stations 
- Prime7, 7Two, 7mate - (Seven Network affiliated channels).
- NBN Television, Go! channel, GEM - part of the (Nine Network Australia).
- Southern Cross Ten, One HD, Eleven - (Network Ten Australia) affiliated channels.
- ABC Television including ABC1, ABC2, ABC3 and ABC News 24, part of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
- Special Broadcasting Service, SBS ONE and SBS Two.
||This article is in a list format that may be better presented using prose. (April 2010)|
- Oxley Wild Rivers National Park
- Dangar Falls and Gorge
- Gara Gorge (site of early hydro-electric scheme)
- Saumarez Homestead - National Trust listed early farmstead
- New England Regional Art Museum
- Ebor Falls
- Cathedral Rock National Park
- Waterfall Way, Hillgrove and Wollomombi Falls etc.
- Mount Yarrowyck Aboriginal Rock Art site
- All Saints' Church, Gostwyck (1921) and Deeargee Woolshed (c. 1869)
- Gemstone fossicking
- Waterfall Track Network - Bushwalking dead link
Notable people 
||This section may stray from the topic of the article. (April 2010)|
- Gayla Reid, writer
- Joe Roff, Australian rugby union player
- David G. Williams, comics artist
- Dean Widders, rugby league player
- Cadel Evans, professional cyclist
- Judith Wright, poet
- Hugh Gordon, veterinary parasitologist
- Peter Allen (Woolnough), singer and stage performer
- Alex Buzo, playwright
- Don Walker, keyboardist for the Australian pub rock band Cold Chisel
- Jack Bedson, children's author and poet, resides in the city
- Anya Beyersdorf, actress
- Kate Bell, actress
- Australian Bureau of Statistics (25 October 2007). "Armidale (Urban Centre/Locality)". 2006 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 6 November 2008.
- Armidale Retrieved 23 October 2010
- SMH Armidale - Fast Facts Retrieved on 11-2-2009
- Armidale Air Quality Group
- "Health costs of woodsmoke in Armidale"
- "Robinson, D. L., J. M. Monro, et al. (2007). Spatial variability and population exposure to PM2.5 pollution from woodsmoke in a New South Wales country town. Atmospheric Environment 41: 5464–5478."
- "Local ABC Radio Interview Transcript - smoke gets in your eyes and lungs"
- "Australian wood heaters currently increase global warming and health costs, Atmospheric Pollution Research, July 2011"
- "Curbing Soot, Smog Could Help Limit Global Temperature Rise"
- "$6 million earmarked to end wood burning"[dead link]
- "Armidale Airport AWM)". Climate statistics for Australian locations. Bureau of Meteorology. Retrieved 10 March 2013.
- "The Big Armidale Hailstorm: Sunday 29th September 1996". Storm News and Chasing. Retrieved 11 June 2007.
- "Severe Hailstorm at Armidale: Saturday 1st January 2000". Storm News and Chasing. Retrieved 11 June 2007.
- "State of emergency declared in Armidale"[dead link], ABC News, 22 December 2006.
- "Emergency declared in wake of massive hailstorm". Sydney Morning Herald. 22 December 2006.
- Premier Postal History. "Post Office List". Premier Postal Auctions. Retrieved 26 May 2011.
- Sydney Morning Herald online travel section
- Waldorf School
- University of New England
- "Shopping centres on track for 2007 opening". The Armidale Express. 19 July 2006.[dead link]
- "Development Overview - Centro Properties Group". 31 December 2007.
- "Centro Armidale nears construction phase". The Armidale Express. 10 May 2006.[dead link]
- "Read all about your new Centro shopping centre in My Life magazine". Retrieved 14 July 2008.
- "Armidale CBD Master Plan Report" (PDF).[dead link]
- Tamworth TV Guide[dead link]
- "Cadel Evans Biography". cadelevans.com.au. Archived from the original on 15 May 2010. Retrieved 29 April 2010.
- Ingall, Jennifer (5 February 2008). "Peter Allen's Armidale". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 29 April 2010.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Armidale, New South Wales|
|Wikivoyage has travel information related to: Armidale|
- Photographs of Armidale in 1994, National Library of Australia
- Thrive in Armidale - Information Portal
- Armidale Dumaresq Council
- University of New England
- The Armidale School
- New England Girls' School
- Tourism Info
- Presbyterian Ladies College
- Duval High School
- Armidale High School
- Northern Rivers Geology Blog - Armidale