New South Wales
Gunnedah viewed from Mount Porcupine
|Elevation||264 m (866 ft)|
|Federal Division(s)||New England|
Gunnedah // is a town and local government area (see Gunnedah Shire) in north-eastern New South Wales, Australia. At the 2011 Australia Census the town recorded a population of 7,888. The larger local government area had a population of 12,066.
Gunnedah is located on the Oxley and Kamilaroi Highways providing road links to the state capital Sydney at a distance of 475 kilometres (295 mi) and the nearest regional centre Tamworth is 75 kilometres (47 mi). It is also linked to Sydney by rail. The town is served by the daily NSW TrainLink Xplorer service between Sydney and Moree.
The major industry is agriculture, with 80% of the shire area devoted to farming. Gunnedah's primary exports are cotton, coal, beef, lamb and pork, and cereal and oilseed grains. Gunnedah is also home to AgQuip, Australia's largest annual exhibition of agricultural equipment.
It claims the title "Koala Capital of World". A title also claimed by the Port Stephens area north of Newcastle and Port Macquarie, whose local koala population has led to the development of a specialised koala hospital.
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 freezing 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 (24.4 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)||34.0
|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.
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. 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
- 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
- Sam "Crayfish" Naismith - Australian Rules Football player [AFL]
- 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.
- CountyLink Timetable CountryLink.info. Accessed 1 April 2008.
- The Sydney Morning Herald: national, world, business, entertainment, sport and technology news from Australia's leading newspaper
- 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
|Preceding station||NSW TrainLink||Following station|
|NSW TrainLink North Western||