Manilla, New South Wales

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New South Wales
Clock tower in the main street
Manilla is located in New South Wales
Coordinates 30°45′0″S 150°43′0″E / 30.75000°S 150.71667°E / -30.75000; 150.71667Coordinates: 30°45′0″S 150°43′0″E / 30.75000°S 150.71667°E / -30.75000; 150.71667
Population 2,081 (2006 census)[1]
LGA(s) Tamworth Regional Council
County Darling
State electorate(s) Tamworth
Federal Division(s) New England
Holy Trinity Anglican Church, Manilla, NSW

Manilla is a small town in New South Wales, Australia, located on Fossickers Way 45 kilometres northwest of the regional city of Tamworth and 27 kilometres northeast of the historic village Somerton. At the 2006 census, Manilla had a population of 2,081 people.[1] Manilla is famous for its setting as a fishing and paragliding area. The name Manilla comes from the Gamilaraay language, and is said to mean 'winding river'.[2]

Manilla was established in the 1850s at the junction of the Namoi River and the Manilla River. It was formerly the centre of Manilla Shire local government area, but this was amalgamated with Tamworth City Council and portions of Parry, Barraba and Nundle Shire Councils to form Tamworth Regional Council in 2004. It lies next to the Bundarra-Barraba Important Bird Area which is important for the conservation of the critically endangered regent honeyeater. Manilla is also well known for Split Rock Dam on the Manilla River and Lake Keepit on the Namoi River.


  • Bowling Club
  • Caravan Park
  • Royal Hotel
  • Motel
  • Police Station
  • Post Office
  • Swimming Pool
  • Sportsground
  • Tennis Courts
  • War Memorial Hall, Library and Pre-School
  • Fuel Station & Cafe North Store - Manilla


The junction of the Manilla and Namoi Rivers was for generations, a camping ground for the local indigenous people, members of the large Kamilaroi (Gamilaraay) tribes of northwestern New South Wales. During the 1850s, teamsters with bullock waggons were regularly transporting goods from the Hunter District through the Manilla area to outlying cattle stations and the northern goldfield settlements of Bingara and Bundarra. Teams were often delayed at the junction of the Namoi and Manilla Rivers by high water. In 1853, enterprising Englishman George Veness arrived at ‘The Junction’ to set up a store and wine shop at the teamsters’ camping ground. In doing so, Veness led the way to town settlement and is acknowledged as the Founder of Manilla. The town's early prosperity was founded on the highly productive wheat and pastoral industries.

Manilla also features a new library centre. Located within the Tamworth Regional Council office in the main street of Manilla, the library is a new type of facility which is known globally as a convergence centre. This means there are many facilities on offer including Centrelink Agency, the Manilla Book Club, a free weekly Storytime for preschool aged children and many other community activities.

Australian singer-songwriter Darren Hanlon immortalised the town of Manilla in his song 'Manilla NSW' which appeared on his 2006 record, 'Fingertips and Mountaintops'.[3]

Aviation Sports[edit]

In recent years, Manilla has become famous throughout the world as a major sports flying centre supporting hang gliding, paragliding,[4] ultralight aircraft, gyrocopters and gliders (sailplanes).[5] It boasts nearby Mt Borah, one of the worlds best paraglider and hang glider launch sites. In 1998 local paragliding instructor and developer of Mt Borah, Godfrey Wenness, gained the world distance record with a flight of 335 km. Major free-flight competitions are staged annually during the summer months. The 10th FAI Paragliding World Championships were held at the site in 2007, attended by 150 pilots from 41 nations. In the week prior to the event Manilla was in the headlines around the world for the survival of paraglider pilot Ewa Wiśnierska of Germany who was sucked up into a thunderstorm to 9946 m (32,000 ft). The dramatic story was made into a TV documentary Miracle in the Storm which won an AFI award and was nominated for a Logie Award.

Notable residents[edit]

Henry Burrell 1873-1945 - During the early 1900s Harry Burrell, amateur naturalist, photographer & film-maker, began unlocking the secrets of the platypus. In 1927 he published his findings in his book, "The Platypus". It was the result of around 30 years of research carried out along the Manilla, Namoi & MacDonald Rivers on the biology & life habits of one of the world's most fascinating creatures.

Stan Coster (27 May 1930 – 25 March 1997) was an Australian country music singer-songwriter. His songs were regularly performed by Slim Dusty and other singers.

In 1984 Fiona Coote, aged 14, became Australia's second and also its youngest heart transplant recipient. Fiona underwent a second transplant operation in January 1986. Her surgeon Doctor Victor Chang, was murdered in 1991.

Dally Messenger (1883-1959), a rugby league great, played rugby union in Sydney from 1900, later moving over to the new game of rugby league around 1907. Played 56 games for Eastern Suburbs 1908 and 1910-13. He came to Manilla in 1917 and held the licence of The Royal Hotel. During that time he introduced the game of rugby league to local footballers and was instrumental in the foundation of Manilla Rugby League Club.

John Quayle, former Australian Rugby League boss, began playing football with Manilla Rugby League Club as a boy, playing all his junior football with the local club. He rose through the ranks of all grades and joined Sydney's Eastern Suburbs team in 1968. In 1975 he was selected to play for Australia in the World Cup, held that year in New Zealand. He became head of the Australian Rugby League organisation in the mid-1980s. In 1997, John Quayle joined the Sydney Olympic Organising Committee (SOCOG) as General Manager of Precincts & Venue Operations.

Harry M. Miller, entrepreneur, bought the Manilla property "Dunmore" in the 1970s and with the purchase of pedigree German Simmental cattle from New Zealand, made "Dunmore" the largest producer of the breed in Australia.

Anne Rouen, Historical Fiction Novelist- Multi-Award Winning Author of the 2013 Master of Illusion Series. Anne Rouen is the pen name of local woman Lynn Newberry. Anne's work can be seen on the Amazon Australia bestseller lists for Historical Romance and Historical Mystery. Achieving a Top 100 Hot Australian Author rank on Amazon in February 2014, Anne's Master of Illusion Book One has also been nominated in four literary awards programs in 2013/2014 and was the winner of the Silver Medal for Historical Literature Fiction in Dan Poynter's Global Ebook Awards 2014.[6] In August 2016, Anne's third novel in the Master of Illusion Series - Angel of Song - won the Bronze Medal for Modern Historical Literary Fiction in the Global Ebook Awards.[7] In 2011, writing as Lynn Newberry, she achieved a highly commended in the Rolf Boldrewood Literary Awards for the short story, The Scent of a Criminal.[8][9]

Anna Henderson is an ABC News federal political reporter in Canberra.

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ a b Australian Bureau of Statistics (25 October 2007). "Manilla (Urban Centre/Locality)". 2006 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 27 October 2009. 
  2. ^ "Manilla". Geographical Names Register (GNR) of NSW. Geographical Names Board of New South Wales. Retrieved 27 October 2009. 
  3. ^ "Darren Hanlon Discography". Darren Hanlon. Retrieved 25 March 2013. 
  4. ^ Fly Manilla,
  5. ^ Lake Keepit Soaring Club, Gliding at Lake Keepit.
  6. ^
  7. ^ "2016 Global Ebook Award Winners – Dan Poynter's Global Ebook Awards". Retrieved 2016-08-16. 
  8. ^ Rouen, Anne. "Anne Rouen's Official Website". StoneHut Publishing. Retrieved 17 February 2014. 
  9. ^ Rouen, Anne. "Anne Rouen's Official Achievements Webpage". StoneHut Publishing. Retrieved 17 February 2014. 

External links[edit]

Media related to Manilla, New South Wales at Wikimedia Commons