New South Wales
Gunnedah viewed from Mount Porcupine
|Elevation||264 m (866 ft)|
|Federal Division(s)||New England|
Gunnedah // is a town in north-eastern New South Wales, Australia and is the seat of the Gunnedah Shire local government area. At the 2011 Census the town recorded a population of 7,888. Gunnedah is situated within the Liverpool Plains, a fertile agricultural region, with 80% of the surrounding shire area devoted to farming. The Namoi River flows west then north-west through the town providing water beneficial to agricultural operations in the area.
The Gunnedah area is a significant producer of cotton, coal, beef, lamb and pork, and cereal and oilseed grains. Gunnedah is also home to AgQuip, Australia's largest annual agricultural field day.
Gunnedah is located on the Oxley and Kamilaroi Highways providing convenient road links to much of the northern sector of the state including to the regional centre Tamworth, 75 kilometres (47 mi) distant. The town has a station on the Mungindi railway line and is served by the daily NSW TrainLink Xplorer passenger service to and from Sydney and Moree.
Gunnedah and the surrounding areas were originally inhabited by Aborigines who spoke the Kamilaroi (Gamilaraay) language. The area now occupied by the town was settled by European sheep farmers in 1833 or 1834. With settlement in the area focused on wool production, Gunnedah was initially known as 'The Woolshed' until taking its name from the local Indigenous people who called themselves the Gunn-e-darr, the most famous of whom was Cumbo Gunnerah.
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.
Coal was discovered on Black Jack Hill in 1877. By 1891, 6,000 tons of coal had been raised from shafts. The Gunnedah Colliery Company was registered in May 1899 and by 22 June a private railway some 5.7 kilometres (3.5 mi) in length had been completed from the railway station to their mine. In September 1957, the Government Railway took over the working of the line.
In early 2012, Gunnedah experienced a mining boom resulting in rental properties being leased by mining companies for up to $1,350 per week. A 4.2 magnitude earthquake occurred in June 2012, affecting Gunnedah and the shockwaves were felt in towns over 200 km away from its epicentre.
Gunnedah Shire is situated 264 metres (866 ft) above sea level on the Liverpool Plains in the Namoi River valley. It is very flat; the tallest hills are 400 to 500 metres (1,300 to 1,600 ft) above sea level. The climate is hot in summer, mild in winter and dry, 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. The town is located on a rich coal seam and within the northern New South Wales wheat belt.
The Gunnedah area is noted for its abundance of native wildlife, including kangaroos, echidnas and koalas. Koalas can often be found in trees within the town, as well as in the surrounding countryside with the help of signs placed by the local tourist centre. The koala population is considered to be the largest koala colony in the state, west of the Great Dividing Range.
Gunnedah has a harsh climate with temperatures regularly rising above 40°C in summer and dropping below 0°C in winter, being one of the few Australian towns to experience temperature variations like this. This is partly due to the town's location on the boundary region between the cool Northern Tablelands of the Great Dividing Range and the hot, dry Western Plains of New South Wales, having climate characteristics of both regions. Its average annual rainfall is 621.9 mm (24.5 in), which is spread throughout the year, however severe thunderstorms in the summer months often cause heavy downpours which boost rainfall totals.
|Climate data for Gunnedah|
|Record high °C (°F)||48.7
|Average high °C (°F)||34.5
|Average low °C (°F)||18.4
|Record low °C (°F)||2.2
|Rainfall mm (inches)||71.7
|Avg. rainy days (≥ 0.2mm)||6.5||6.2||4.7||4.3||5.1||6.3||6.2||6.2||5.8||6.9||6.8||7.1||72.1|
|Source: Bureau of Meteorology|
Local media include the Namoi Valley Independent newspaper and the radio stations 2MO and 2GGG. 2MO claims to be the first station established in Australia outside the capital cities.
The Oxley Highway and the Kamilaroi Highway both pass through Gunnedah, for a short distance, concurrently. The Oxley Highway leads to Tamworth in the east and Coonabarabran to the west. The Kamilaroi Highway leads to Quirindi to the south-east and Boggabri to the north-west.
Gunnedah railway station is situated on the Mungindi (or North West) railway line, 475 kilometres (295 mi) from Sydney. The station, opened in 1879, consists of a substantial station building on a single side platform, a passing loop and small goods yard. For a brief three-year period after the railway arrived in Gunnedah it was the railhead until construction was completed to Boggabri and then to Narrabri South Junction in 1882. Currently a single daily Xplorer diesel railmotor operating between Sydney and Moree serves the station.
- Erica Packer – model and singer, ex-wife  of James Packer 
- Miranda Kerr – Supermodel, ex-wife of Hollywood actor Orlando Bloom 
- Gordon Bray – Sports Commentator
- Tom Gleeson - Comedian
- Ben Smith – rugby league player
- John O'Neill – rugby league player
- John "Dallas" Donnelly – rugby league player
- James Wynne – rugby league player
- Dorothea Mackellar – poet
- Angus Roberts – rugby union player
- Australian Bureau of Statistics (31 October 2012). "Gunnedah (Urban Centre/Locality)". 2011 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 19 March 2013.
- Macquarie Dictionary, Fourth Edition (2005). Melbourne, The Macquarie Library Pty Ltd. ISBN 1-876429-14-3
- Gunnedah. About New South Wales. Retrieved 19 March 2013.
- "Gunnedah". Sydney Morning Herald (Fairfax Media). 8 February 2004. Retrieved 19 March 2013.
- "Gunnedah Railway Station". NSW heritage search. New South Wales Government. Retrieved 17 March 2013.
- A Short History of the Gunnedah Colliery Co. Ltd. Railway Eardley, Gifford Australian Railway Historical Society Bulletin, March 1977 pp58-67
- Peter Lorimer (14 March 2012). "Mining boom is strangling heart of Gunnedah". news.com.au (News Limited). Retrieved 17 March 2013.
- Simon Frazer and staff (8 June 2012). "Rattled NSW towns undamaged by quakes". ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation). Retrieved 17 March 2013.
- "GUNNEDAH POOL". Climate statistics for Australian locations. Bureau of Meteorology. Retrieved 17 March 2013.
- Gunnedah Railway Station. NSWrail.net. Accessed 1 April 2008.
- North Western timetable NSW TrainLink 20 October 2013
- "Girl from Gunnedah to leave others in her wake". The Sydney Morning Herald.
- http://www.lifestyle.com.au/style/miranda-kerr-and-orlando-blooms-wedding.aspx Accessed 22 September 2013.
Media related to Gunnedah, New South Wales at Wikimedia Commons