Moree, New South Wales
New South Wales
Main street, Moree
|Population||9,346 (2011 census)|
|Elevation||212 m (696 ft)|
|LGA(s)||Moree Plains Shire|
|State electorate(s)||Northern Tablelands|
Moree is a major agricultural centre, noted for its part in the Australian cotton-growing industry which was established there in the early 1960s. The first cotton plant in Moree was from a farm called Wilga. It was grown by Bill and Betty Lynch. The town is located at the junction of the Newell Highway and Gwydir Highway and can be reached by daily train and air services from Sydney. It is situated in the Shire of Moree Plains. Like many towns and cities in Australia, Moree shares its name with a much smaller community in Northern Ireland in County Tyrone. At the 2011 census, Moree had a population of 9,346, which was an increase from 8,083 in 2006.
The Kamilaroi people, whose descendants are still in the town, were the early inhabitants of the area. Major Sir Thomas Mitchell went to the district at the request of the acting governor after the recapture of escaped convict George Clarke who told of a great river called the Kindur in 1832. Clarke had been living in the area to the south with the Kamilaroi from 1826-1831. Squatters soon followed in Mitchell's wake establishing pastoral runs, among which was 'Moree' (1844), from a Kamilaroi term believed to mean either 'long waterhole' or 'rising sun'.
In 1851 James and Mary Brand arrived and built a general store on the banks of the river in 1852. A post office was added the following year. The family sold up and moved to the Hunter Region in 1857 but James died in 1858 leaving Mary with six children so she returned opened another business and in 1861 she opened the town's first inn.
Moree was gazetted as a town in 1862 with land sales proceeding that year. A court of petty sessions was established in 1863 and there was a severe flood in 1864. The first constable arrived and a police station was set up in 1865. The first church (Wesleyan) was built in 1867 when the town had a population of 43.
As closer settlement proceeded agriculture emerged as a thriving industry on the fertile flood plains. Banking began in 1876 and the first local newspaper was set up in 1881, at which time the population was 295.
The town became a municipality in 1890. During 1894 construction of the heritage listed Federation-style lands office commenced and ended that years with the completion of the ground floor. The second storey was added in 1903. In 1895 the Great Artesian Basin which sits under Moree was tapped and yields over thirteen megalitres of water every day. The bore was sunk to 3,000 ft (910 m) deep in order to provide water for agricultural pursuits but was proved unsuitable for this purpose. The railway line and service from Sydney arrived in 1897.
Wheat cultivation increased after World War II with a flour mill built at Moree in 1951 and the first commercial pecan nut farm was established on the Gwydir Highway east of Moree in 1966. The Trawalla Pecan Nut Farm is the largest pecan nut farm in the southern hemisphere, growing about 75,000 trees. In 1994 the Gwydir Olive Grove Company was established when two Moree families started producing olive oil from olives grown in the area.
Moree was one of the destinations of the famous 1965 Freedom Bus ride, an historic trip through northern NSW led by the late Charles Perkins to bring media attention to discrimination against Indigenous Australians. It brought racial segregation in rural Australia to the attention of urban Australians, in particular at the Moree public swimming pool as well as pubs and theatres, where Aborigines were refused entry. At the Moree swimming pool, after a confrontation with the council and pool management, it was agreed that Indigenous children could swim in the pool outside school hours.
In 2007 the Moree Plains Council announced plans for a $14m upgrade to the hot thermal baths.
Heritage listed sites
- CBC Bank (former)
- Mellor House
- Moree Club
- Moree Courthouse
- Moree Lands Office
- Moree Spa Baths
- Victoria Hotel Moree
|Climate data for Moree Aero|
|Record high °C (°F)||47.3
|Average high °C (°F)||33.7
|Average low °C (°F)||20.0
|Record low °C (°F)||10.8
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||86.8
|Average precipitation days||7.9||7.0||6.1||4.3||5.1||6.5||6.1||4.7||5.2||6.6||8.6||9.1||77.2|
|Source: Bureau of Meteorology |
In January 1946 a flood cut the township in two, and several hundred homes were flooded. The flood waters affected the local power station which caused a blackout. The floods also damaged roads and railway lines in the region. The Gwydir River bridge at Moree was also damaged.
In February 1955 the highest recorded major flood affected Moree, with a record flood peak of 10.85 metres. Most of the central business district of the town and 800 homes were flooded.
In February 1971 a major flood affected the town, with a flood peak of 10.35 m. Four hundred people were evacuated and the township was isolated for two weeks.
In February 1976, another major flood hit Moree, with a flood peak of 10.60 metres. Nearly three quarters of the buildings in north Moree either had floodwater surrounding them or water in them, which included the central business district.
In November 2011, major flooding flooded parts of Moree, with a peak of 10.21 metres. People were urged to evacuate from parts of north Moree and houses were flooded. Nearly 225 mm of rain was recorded over 72 hours with 112 mm falling in the final 24 hours of rainfall. Moree and numerous other shires were declared natural disaster zones.
In February 2012, major flooding again occurred in Moree. Peaking just 10 centimetres above the February 1976 floods at 10.69 metres, the floods inundated hundreds of houses in and around Moree. the floods were the second highest ever recorded in Moree. Nearly the whole of north Moree had water in the streets with just a few still out. The whole of north Moree was told to evacuate the day before the flood peak including the nearby villages of Yarraman, Gwydirfield, Bendygleet, Pallamallawa and Biniguy. Some of the lower parts of south Moree became inundated with flooding. All of north Moree were urged to evacuate as it was expected then to be the worst flooding in 35 years. Fortunately, there were no fatalities recorded. Nearly 190 mm of rain was recorded in the 72 hours before the flood at the Moree Meteorological Station.
Radio stations 2VM and 98.3 NOW FM also broadcast from Moree. The NOW FM transmitter site is located on Mt Dowe, whilst the 2VM transmitter is located 5 kilometres east of Moree on the Gwydir Highway. Both stations are owned by the Broadcast Operations Group and broadcasts weekday breakfast and afternoon programs.
Moree railway station is situated on the Mungindi line, 665 kilometres (413 mi) from Sydney. The station opened in 1897 and currently marks the northernmost point of passenger services on the line, a daily NSW TrainLink Xplorer diesel railcar to and from Sydney.
Emma Moffatt, triathlete, 2 times world champion (2009 and 2010), 3rd at the Beijing Olympic Games 2008.
Mary Brand (1827–1900) was the first female shopkeeper and first hotelier in Moree. She is commemorated by the town's Mary Brand Park, where a replica of her shop and house were situated until they burnt down in 2012. She is also buried in the Moree Cemetery.
Country music singer-songwriter John Williamson has strong roots in Moree, his mother and a large part of his extended family still live there.
Australian rugby union player Van Humphries grew up in Moree.
Cameron Hammond is the first aboriginal person from Moree to go to the Commonwealth Games (Delhi 2010), where he boxed in the welterweight division. In March 2012, he qualified for the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.
The philosopher and essayist David Stove was born in Moree in 1927.
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- "North West timetable" (PDF). NSW Trainlink. 20 October 2013.
- "North Coast timetable" (PDF). NSW Trainlink. 20 October 2013 [Updated 6 April 2014].
- Moree to Brisbane Crisps Coaches
- Moree to Toowoomba Crisps Coaches
- "Grave Photo Link". National Library of Australia. Retrieved 2007-09-08.
- "Mary Brand Park". Visit NSW. Retrieved 7 December 2013.
- "Iconic Hut Burns Down". Moree Champion. 20 September 2012. Retrieved 7 December 2013.
- "AIS boxing cohort named as Commonwealth Games team members". Australian Sports Commission. 11 August 2011. Retrieved 4 February 2012.
- Chris Monckton (26 March 2012). "Hammond qualifies for London Olympics". Moree Champion.