Wingham, New South Wales
|This article needs additional citations for verification. (February 2007)|
New South Wales
Wingham Library and Post Office
|Population||4,812 (2006 census)|
|LGA(s)||City of Greater Taree|
|State electorate(s)||Myall Lakes|
Wingham is a town in the Mid North Coast region of New South Wales, Australia in the City of Greater Taree 335 kilometres (208 mi) north of Sydney. According to the 2011 census, Wingham had a population of 4,518.
The first land grant in the area was made at The Bight to George Rowley in 1841. Wingham was chosen as a location for a government settlement because supply boats could not proceed any further up the Manning River and was also located on the road from Raymond Terrace to Port Maquarie. Named after Wingham in Kent, England, Wingham was proclaimed a village in 1844 but allotments were not made until 1854, the same year that Henry Flett laid out Taree as a private settlement. In the meantime, Tinonee had also been established as a government settlement and in 1866 had a population of 100, compared to 90 at Wingham and 150 at Taree.
Wingham was proclaimed a municipality in 1889. By 1909, Wingham consisted of 285 houses and had a population of 900, but government services had been transferred to Taree, which had a population of 1300 in 269 houses. The municipalities were merged with each other and the Manning Valley Shire in 1981 to form the City of Greater Taree.
Wingham's main street, Isabella Street runs east west and fronts the typically English town square, Central Park. Around the eastern end Central Park are the Wingham Brush Public School, the Victorian style School of Arts, built in 1907 and now a council building with Library at the rear, the state heritage listed Post Office, built in 1884, and a telephone exchange. Along the southern side of the park runs Farquhar Street which has a private residence, the Georgian Revival style Courthouse, built in 1934, the 1909 Federation style police station, Catholic Presbytery, St. Joseph's Catholic School, Our Lady of Perpetual Succour Catholic Church, the Manning Valley Historical Society rooms and Museum and a dental surgery. On the corner of Bent and Farquhar Streets stands the old Gibson and Skinner Butchery, built in 1911. Bent Street runs along the western side of Central Park and is home to the Australian Hotel (the Top Pub to the locals), the Wingham District Memorial Services Club, formerly a Returned Services League Social Club and various shops. Shops also dominate the northern side of the park. The Northeast corner was occupied by the Wingham Hotel or Bottom Pub from 1926 until it burned down on 5 July 2010.
Central Park itself is home to "The Log," a massive log felled in the surrounding countryside which serves to remind the townsfolk of the timber (and dairy) driven history of the area, a de Havilland Vampire fighter plane (opposite the RSL Club), a cricket pitch (Phil Tufnell played an exhibition match in Wingham in which he was bowled for a duck in the first innings, by Glenn Levine, but made a good fist of it in the second), some children’s play equipment, a drinking fountain commemorating the installation of mains water in the town, a small ornamental waterfall (which has been filled in with a garden), and two flag poles at opposite ends of the northern side of the park.
There are five schools in Wingham. Wingham Public School is located in Murray Road, and is known to the locals as Murray Road Public School. St Joseph's Catholic School is located between the Catholic Church and Presbytery on the southern side of Central Park, Wingham Special Education primary school for young mentally challenged children, located in the north end of Richardson Street and Wingham Brush Public School is around the corner between the eastern side of Central Park and Wingham Brush.
Wingham High School is located three blocks northeast of Central Park, and has an extensive agricultural science department, owning three properties and a feedlot. The WHS Agricultural Show Team breeds all their own cattle through both natural mating and artificial insemination. They specialise in commercial beef animals, and have won first ribbons for hoof and hook, steer competitions, as well as junior judging and parading, in such shows as the Royal Sydney Show, Royal Brisbane Show and Tamworth Show.
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Along the Manning River is Wingham Brush, an area of native bush including spectacular Moreton Bay Fig trees and home to a colony of flying foxes. For many years the flying foxes were considered pests and various initiatives were taken to remove them, including offering free ammunition to those willing to shoot them. These efforts proved ineffective and, in more recent years, moves have been taken to protect the flying foxes, which have become a tourist attraction. Wingham Brush is also home to a large number of Moreton Bay Fig trees.
Wingham is the gateway to the Ellenborough Falls on the Bulga Plateau, the second longest single drop waterfall in the Southern Hemisphere. The Bank Guesthouse, formerly the local branch of the Westpac Bank, featured on the Seven Network's Sydney Weekender with Mike Whitney in 1999.
The infamous murderer and fugitive Jimmy Governor was incarcerated in Wingham immediately after his capture. The cell in which he was imprisoned is on display at the Manning Historical Society Museum. A memorial to Governor is located at the site of his capture, a 30 minute drive west along the Wingham-Elands road, outside the small town of Bobin.
Members of Sydney based independent bands The Maladies and Love Parade grew up in the area and attended Wingham Public School and Wingham High School.
Wingham is served by the Grafton, Casino and Brisbane XPT service on the North Coast Railway Line linking Sydney with Grafton, Casino, and Brisbane with complimenting bus services which travel to Newcastle and Broadmeadow with NSW TrainLink, rail connections to Sydney. Six NSW TrainLink XPT services stop at Wingham (three in each direction). Night time NSW TrainLink XPT services no longer stopped in Wingham from the early 1990s until around 2011. Night time services stopping in Wingham ended in the early 1990s when the station became unattended. The Wingham station opened on 5 February 1913 and features single platform and a 780 metre crossing loop which is predominantly used for freight cargo travelling along the North Coast Railway Line.
- Wingham Summertime Rodeo. Events include rodeo, bucking horses, saddlebronc, rodeo clowns, and bucking bulls. First week in January.
- Wingham Show held annually at Wingham Showground.
- Wingham Beef Week, a series of beef-oriented activities held the fourth week of April in Wingham and surrounding areas.
- Bonnie Wingham Scottish Festival usually held first weekend in June.
- Wingham Campdraft at Wingham Showgrounds, first week in November.
- Wingham Akoostik Music Festival held in Wingham Central Park every third weekend in October. It presents various genres of music such as Acoustic, Rock, Reggae & everything alternative.
- Australian Bureau of Statistics (25 October 2007). "Wingham (Urban Centre/Locality)". 2006 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 2009-07-24.
- ABS 2013. Website. http://www.censusdata.abs.gov.au/census_services/getproduct/census/2011/quickstat/UCL115158?opendocument&navpos=220
- "Wingham Walk". Greater Taree City Council. March 2010. Retrieved 5 August 2010.
- "Taree". The Age website. The Age Company Ltd. 2007-08-16. Retrieved 2008-10-07.
- Ramsland, John (1987). The Struggle Against Isolation - A History of the Manning Valley. North Sydney, New South Wales: Library of Australian History. pp. 42–43,. ISBN 0-908120-67-2.
- Ramsland, John (1987). The Struggle Against Isolation - A History of the Manning Valley. North Sydney, New South Wales: Library of Australian History. pp. 160, 300–301. ISBN 0-908120-67-2.
- Wingham District Memorial Services Club Limited, Annual Report 2010
- "Historic Wingham pub burnt to the ground". Manning River Times. 2010-07-05.
- "Wingham hotel burns to ground". Manning River Times. 2010-06-06.
- Bonnie Wingham Scottish Festival page on Manning Valley Historical Society website 
- "Wingham Akoostik Music Festival". Website. Retrieved 27 August 2013.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Wingham, New South Wales.|
- "Manning River catchments" (map). Office of Environment and Heritage. Government of New South Wales.