Upper Hunter Shire

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Upper Hunter Shire
New South Wales
Upper hunter LGA NSW.png
Location in New South Wales
Coordinates 32°05′S 150°51′E / 32.083°S 150.850°E / -32.083; 150.850Coordinates: 32°05′S 150°51′E / 32.083°S 150.850°E / -32.083; 150.850
Population 14,112 (2016 census)[1]
 • Density 1.8/km2 (4.7/sq mi)
Area 8,096 km2 (3,125.9 sq mi)[2]
Time zone AEST (UTC+10)
 • Summer (DST) AEDT (UTC+11)
Mayor Wayne Bedggood[3]
Council seat Scone
Region Hunter[4]
State electorate(s) Upper Hunter[5]
Federal Division(s) Hunter[6]
Upper hunter shire council logo.JPG
Website Upper Hunter Shire
LGAs around Upper Hunter Shire:
Liverpool Plains Tamworth Walcha
Warrumbungle Upper Hunter Shire Mid-Coast Council
Mid-Western Muswellbrook Dungog

The Upper Hunter Shire is a local government area in the Upper Hunter Region of New South Wales, Australia. The Shire was formed in May 2004 from the Scone Shire and parts of Murrurundi and Merriwa shires.

The Mayor of the Upper Hunter Shire Council is Cr. Wayne Bedggood.[3]


The towns of the Upper Hunter are Scone, Aberdeen, Murrurundi, and Merriwa, as well as several villages, including Bunnan, Gundy, Moonan Flat, Ellerston, Wingen, Blandford and Cassilis. Of the towns, only Aberdeen on the Shire's south eastern border is situated on the Hunter River.


At the 2011 census, there were 13,754 people in the Upper Hunter Shire local government area, of these 49.9 per cent were male and 50.1 per cent were female. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people made up 3.9 per cent of the population, which was higher than the national and state averages of 2.5 per cent. The median age of people in the Upper Hunter Shire was 39 years, which was marginally higher than the national median of 37 years. Children aged 0 – 14 years made up 21.2 per cent of the population and people aged 65 years and over made up 16.4 per cent of the population. Of people in the area aged 15 years and over, 51.6 per cent were married and 11.6 per cent were either divorced or separated.[7]

Population growth in the Upper Hunter Shire between the 2006 census and the 2011 census was 6.00 per cent. When compared with total population growth of Australia for the same period, being 8.32 per cent, population growth in the Upper Hunter Shire local government area was slightly lower than the national average.[8] The median weekly income for residents within the Upper Hunter Shire was marginally lower than the national average.[7]

At the 2011 census, the proportion of residents in the Upper Hunter Shire local government area who stated their ancestry as Australian or Anglo-Saxon exceeded 85 per cent of all residents (national average was 65.2 per cent). In excess of 75% of all residents in the Upper Hunter Shire nominated a religious affiliation with Christianity at the 2011 census, which was considerably higher than the national average of 50.2 per cent. Meanwhile, as at the census date, compared to the national average, households in the Upper Hunter Shire local government area had a significantly lower than average proportion (3.1 per cent) where two or more languages are spoken (national average was 20.4 per cent); and a significantly higher proportion (93.9 per cent) where English only was spoken at home (national average was 76.8 per cent).[7]

Selected historical census data for the Upper Hunter Shire local government area
Census year 2001 2006[8] 2011[7]
Population Estimated residents on Census night n/a 12,976 13,754
LGA rank in terms of size within New South Wales
% of New South Wales population 0.20%
% of Australian population n/a 0.07% Steady 0.07%
Cultural and language diversity
top responses
Australian 36.6%
English 32.4%
Irish 8.2%
Scottish 7.9%
German 2.8%
top responses
(other than English)
Mandarin Steadyn/c Increase 0.2%
Portuguese n/c Increase 0.2%
Cantonese 0.2% Decrease 0.1%
Arabic n/c Increase 0.1%
Tagalog 0.1% Steady 0.1%
Religious affiliation
Religious affiliation,
top responses
Anglican 41.3% Decrease 39.3%
Catholic 27.2% Decrease 26.9%
No Religion 9.7% Increase 13.4%
Uniting Church 4.4% Decrease 5.6%
Presbyterian and Reformed Decrease 3.2% Decrease 3.3%
Median weekly incomes
Personal income Median weekly personal income A$438 A$552
% of Australian median income 94.0% Increase 95.7%
Family income Median weekly family income A$1,090 A$1,392
% of Australian median income 93.1% Increase 94.0%
Household income Median weekly household income A$882 A$1,071
% of Australian median income 85.9% Increase 86.8%


Current composition and election method[edit]

Upper Hunter Shire Council is composed of nine Councillors elected proportionally as a single ward. All Councillors are elected for a fixed four-year term of office. The Mayor is elected by the Councillors at the first meeting of the Council. The most recent election was held on 10 September 2016 and the makeup of the Council is as follows:[9]

Party Councillors
  Independents and Unaligned 8
  Country Labor 1
Total 9

At the 2016 election there were 10,094 people enrolled to vote in the local government area. The current Council, elected in 2016, in order of election, is:[9]

Councillor Votes %
  Lee Watts 2,163 27.29%
  Maurice Collison 1,089 13.74%
  Wayne Bedggood 916 11.56%
  Ron Campbell 653 8.24%
  Sue Abbott 598 7.55%
  Josh Brown 540 6.81%
  Lorna Driscoll 492 6.21%
  Kiwa Fisher 459 5.79%
  James Burns 378 4.77%


The Upper Hunter is the largest horse-rearing region in Australia.

The Burning Mountain Nature Reserve, near Wingen, is the site of a subterranean coal seam fire that has been burning for several thousand years.[10]

The council also owns several FM rebroadcasters of ABC Radio National and SBS Radio, under the self-help schemes run by those broadcasters.


  1. ^ Australian Bureau of Statistics (27 June 2017). "Upper Hunter Shire (A)". 2016 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 27 November 2017.  Edit this at Wikidata
  2. ^ Australian Bureau of Statistics (31 October 2012). "2011 Community Profiles: Upper Hunter Shire (Local Government Area)". 2011 Census of Population and Housing. Retrieved 13 October 2012.  Edit this at Wikidata
  3. ^ a b "New mayor and Deputy Mayor for Upper Hunter Shire". 
  4. ^ "Suburb Search – Local Council Boundaries – Hunter (HT) – Upper Hunter Shire Council". New South Wales Division of Local Government. Retrieved 13 October 2012. 
  5. ^ "Upper Hunter". New South Wales Electoral Commission. 24 September 2012. Retrieved 13 October 2012. 
  6. ^ "Hunter". Australian Electoral Commission. 26 July 2012. Retrieved 13 October 2012. 
  7. ^ a b c d Australian Bureau of Statistics (31 October 2012). "Upper Hunter Shire (Local Government Area)". 2011 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 13 October 2012.  Edit this at Wikidata
  8. ^ a b Australian Bureau of Statistics (25 October 2007). "Upper Hunter (A)". 2006 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 23 December 2013. 
  9. ^ a b "Upper Hunter Shire Council: Summary of First Preference and Group Votes for each Candidate". Local Government Elections 2016. Electoral Commission of New South Wales. 17 September 2016. Retrieved 20 October 2016. 
  10. ^ Krajick, Kevin (May 2005). "Fire in the hole". Smithsonian magazine. Smithsonian Institution: 54ff. Retrieved 13 October 2012. 

External links[edit]