Wellington, New South Wales

Coordinates: 32°33′0″S 148°56′0″E / 32.55000°S 148.93333°E / -32.55000; 148.93333
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New South Wales
The Federal Hotel, Wellington (erected in 1894)
Wellington is located in New South Wales
Coordinates32°33′0″S 148°56′0″E / 32.55000°S 148.93333°E / -32.55000; 148.93333
Population4,077 (2016 census)[1]
Elevation305 m (1,001 ft)[2]
  • 360 km (224 mi) WNW of Sydney
  • 49 km (30 mi) SE of Dubbo
  • 100 km (62 mi) N of Orange
  • 92 km (57 mi) W of Mudgee
LGA(s)Dubbo Regional Council
State electorate(s)Dubbo
Federal division(s)Parkes
Mean max temp Mean min temp Annual rainfall
24.3 °C
76 °F
9.4 °C
49 °F
618.4 mm
24.3 in

Wellington is a town in the Central Western Slopes region of New South Wales, Australia, located at the junction of the Wambuul Macquarie and Bell Rivers. It is within the local government area of Dubbo Regional Council. The town is 362 kilometres (225 mi) northwest of Sydney on the Mitchell Highway and Main Western Railway, and 50 km southeast of Dubbo, the main centre of the Central Western Slopes region.

Wellington was the second European settlement west of the Blue Mountains, first established as a convict establishment in 1823.


Aboriginal history[edit]

The area now known as Wellington lies on the traditional lands of the Wiradjuri people.[3]

The 'Wambuul' (Macquarie River) was an important source of sustenance for this widespread Aboriginal group united by kinship and a common language. Surviving evidence in the Wellington area of the occupation by the Wiradjuri people prior to European contact includes rock shelters with archaeological deposits, a carved tree, scarred trees, open camp sites, grinding grooves sites and bora (ceremonial) grounds.[4]

The city still has a strong Aboriginal presence, largely as a result of early missionary settlements set up there, other Aboriginal campsites, such as the Wellington Common, and, from 1910, the Nanima Aboriginal Reserve, all of which kept local people residing in the area.

In 2007, a group of Wiradjuri people won a Native Title claim, over the area known as the Wellington Common, where many Wiradjuri lived, and that land was returned to its traditional owners.[5]

European exploration[edit]

The European discovery of the Wellington Valley occurred during the return journey of John Oxley’s Lachlan River expedition in 1817. While crossing from the Bogan River to the Macquarie River in August 1817 Oxley and his party happening upon the Wellington Valley with the Bell River running through it. They followed the river to its junction with the Macquarie. Oxley was effusive about the valley, describing it as “beautifully picturesque” and “studded with fine trees upon a soil which may be equalled, but can never be excelled”. The Bell River was named “as a compliment to Brevet Major Bell of the 48th Regiment” and the Wellington Valley was named after the Duke of Wellington.[6][7]

Convict outpost[edit]

In January 1823 Lieutenant Percy Simpson was appointed by the colonial government to establish a settlement at the junction of the Bell and Macquarie rivers in the Wellington Valley. Simpson and a party of soldiers and convicts arrived at the locality via Bathurst in February with 12 cows and 40 sheep, as well as a provision of wheat. Simpson chose a site for the settlement on high ground above the Bell River (about three kilometres south of the modern cityship). There were early problems, including desertions and stock theft by convicts, but fields of wheat and other staples were eventually established. A muster roll in 1826 recorded 85 men at Wellington. By that stage a number of pastoral runs had been established in the vicinity of the settlement and along the Macquarie River. The convict outpost at Wellington was discontinued in 1831 and "the settlement was used for a time as a Government stock station".[8][9] A traveller to the area in 1832 described the settlement as “abandoned” except for “a dozen stockmen and soldiers who remained to protect the buildings from the mischievous spoilation of the natives”.[10]

Missionary settlement[edit]

In December 1831 the Secretary of State for the Colonies informed Governor Bourke that an agreement had been entered into with the Church Missionary Society in England “by which the organisation had undertaken to send out and superintend a mission to the natives”. Permission was sought to “establish the Mission at Wellington Valley”, to which the Governor agreed, authorising them to “occupy the Government buildings there and to use for grazing any land they desired to occupy for that purpose”. The missionaries sent to Wellington in 1832 were Rev. William Watson and Rev. James Handt, a Lutheran clergyman.

In 1835 Messrs. Backhouse and Walter, both Quakers, visited the Mission. Backhouse reported that ”the blacks at the station were not numerous”, with “about 30” being the usual number living there. The Aborigines were said to be “very capricious” and “by no means desirous to learn”. They were “attracted” to the food supplied by the Mission and “they were not disposed to work”. A mission report in 1836 stated that “the vocabulary of the native language had been revised and enlarged” and that “services were held in the language”.

Rev. Handt left Wellington in 1836 “as his wife was ill”. Rev. James Gunther and his wife arrived in August 1837, replacing Handt and his wife. [11]

Wellington Courthouse.

Wellington cityship[edit]

In 1840, a village called Montefiores was established on the north side of the Macquarie River crossing.[12][9] The city of Wellington, on the south bank of the Macquarie River opposite Montefiores, was gazetted in 1846, and on 20 March 1885, Wellington was proclaimed a city.[13][14]

The first local government body covering Wellington was the Wellington Municipal District, proclaimed in 1879. In 1950 it was amalgamated with Macquarie Shire and part of Cobbora Shire to form Wellington Shire. There was a number of transfer of areas with adjoining shires, and in 2016 Wellington Shire was amalgamated with the local government area of Dubbo City to form Western Plains Regional Council.

Wellington is the second oldest New South Wales settlement west of the Blue Mountains.[15] One of its hotels, the Lion of Waterloo, established by Nicolas Hyeronimus in 1842, is the oldest operating west of the Blue Mountains.

Near to The Lion of Waterloo is the location of the last recorded duel fought on Australian soil, in 1854.[9]

As a regional centre Wellington benefited by the development of the gold mining industry in the district from the 1850s. Initially this was working alluvial deposits of gold but later focused on the mining of quartz reefs. Among the mining districts was Mitchells Creek located 8 miles to the north east near the locality of Bodangora.[16] In the first decade of the 20th century, there was a revival of gold mining in the area, when gold dredges operated on the Macquarie River near Wellington.[17]

The extension of the Main Western Railway from Orange to Wellington opened on 1 June 1880.[18][19] The line was subsequently extended to Dubbo in February 1881.

Heritage listings[edit]

Wellington has a number of heritage-listed sites, including:


Wellington is the centre of rich agricultural land. While alfalfa and vegetables are grown on lands on the river, wheat, wool, lambs and beef cattle are grown on surrounding pastures. The city acts as a commercial centre for the surrounding district.

In September 2008, the Wellington Correctional Centre was opened. A Probation and Parole Office was also opened in the centre of city. Wellington Council hopes this will stimulate economic growth in the area, due to increasing employment opportunities and the need for non-locals to utilise Wellington facilities.

The local newspaper The Wellington Times, a Rural Press title, is published three times a week with a circulation in the region of around 1000.[24]

There is a popular Community Radio Station operating on a frequency of 91.5 MHz FM.

KFC was built in 2019.


Wellington has a subtropical climate (Cfa) with long, very hot summers and cool winters, and uniform rainfall throughout the year. The city is rather sunny, getting 138.1 clear days annually. In January, the average minimum temperature in the city is 16.9 °C and the average maximum is 32.9 °C, while in July the average minimum is 2.2 °C and the average maximum is 15.2 °C.[2]

Climate data for Wellington (D&J Rural)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 43.7
Mean daily maximum °C (°F) 33.0
Mean daily minimum °C (°F) 16.9
Record low °C (°F) 6.5
Average rainfall mm (inches) 59.2
Average precipitation days 5.5 5.0 5.1 4.6 6.1 7.9 8.2 7.7 6.5 6.7 6.3 5.9 75.5
Average afternoon relative humidity (%) 36 39 41 44 53 57 55 50 46 42 38 34 45
Source: Bureau of Meteorology[2]

Transport links[edit]

Wellington railway station

Welington station is served by a daily NSW TrainLink XPT service which runs between Sydney and Dubbo.[25]

The closest commercial airport is that of Dubbo. QantasLink and Rex Airlines service the airport three-five times daily from Sydney. Bodangora Airport for general aviation aircraft is located twelve kilometres east of Wellington.

Ogden's Coaches operates return services to Dubbo, with one extending to Narromine as a through-routed service with the Narromine link.

Nearby attractions[edit]

Lake Burrendong, a man-made lake, is located 30 kilometres south of the city. Its capacity is three and a half times that of Sydney Harbour and supplies water for irrigation schemes downstream. It is also a popular location for anglers, sailors and water skiers. Burrendong Arboretum is a sanctuary for endangered Australian flora and covers 1.60 km².

The nearby Wellington Caves feature the Cathedral Cave with the massive Altar Rock and has a viewable underground river running at the bottom. Immediately to the East of the cityship lies the Catombal Range with magnificent bushwalks in and around Mt Arthur and Mt Wellesley.

The Wellington Boot, a country racing festival is held in March and April annually. The Bell River Wine Estate is nearby.

Notable residents[edit]


  1. ^ Australian Bureau of Statistics (27 June 2017). "Weillington (NSW) (State Suburb)". 2016 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 4 August 2017. Edit this at Wikidata
  2. ^ a b c "Wellington (D&J Rural)". Climate statistics for Australian locations. Bureau of Meteorology. March 2019. Retrieved 27 April 2013.
  3. ^ Studies, Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (8 June 2021). "Map of Indigenous Australia". aiatsis.gov.au. Retrieved 14 August 2021.
  4. ^ "Blacks Camp". Office of Environment and Heritage. NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment. Retrieved 29 March 2021.
  5. ^ Reporter, Joel Gibson Indigenous Affairs (15 November 2007). "Traditional owners win 13-year fight for native title". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 15 August 2021.
  6. ^ The Discovery and Occupation of Wellington Valley (part one) by James Jervis (Senior Research Officer of the Royal Historical Society), Wellington Times, 16 October 1950, page 3.
  7. ^ "John Oxley discovers Wellington Valley". Oxley Museum, Wellington NSW. Retrieved 27 April 2013.
  8. ^ The Discovery and Occupation of Wellington Valley (part two) by James Jervis (Senior Research Officer of the Royal Historical Society), Wellington Times, 23 October 1950, page 8.
  9. ^ a b c "Wellington". Sydney Morning Herald. 8 February 2004. Retrieved 13 March 2019.
  10. ^ Wellington as a Missionary Settlement (part one), Wellington Times, 4 December 1952, page 3.
  11. ^ Wellington as a Missionary Settlement (part two), Wellington Times, 11 December 1952, page 7.
  12. ^ "Wellington Valley and Wellington". Wellington Times. No. 3162. New South Wales, Australia. 8 September 1921. p. 2. Retrieved 13 March 2019 – via National Library of Australia.
  13. ^ "Village of Wellington". New South Wales Government Gazette. No. 33. New South Wales, Australia. 24 April 1846. p. 503. Retrieved 13 March 2019 – via National Library of Australia.
  14. ^ "Wellington". Geographical Names Register (GNR) of NSW. Geographical Names Board of New South Wales. Retrieved 11 August 2013. Edit this at Wikidata
  15. ^ "Wellington History". Wellington NSW. Retrieved 13 March 2019.
  16. ^ Osborne, Idle 1975 Annual Report Compilation, Wellington Division – Dubbo Sheet 1875-1974, Department of Mines NSW, ARC080.
  17. ^ "COLD-DREDCING ON THE MACQUARIE RIVER". Sydney Mail and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW : 1871 - 1912). 12 April 1905. p. 925. Retrieved 15 August 2021.
  18. ^ "Wellington Railway Precinct". Office of Environment and Heritage. Retrieved 13 March 2019.
  19. ^ "Opening of the Railway from Orange to Wellington". Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners' Advocate. Vol. VIII, no. 1855. New South Wales, Australia. 2 June 1880. p. 2. Retrieved 13 March 2019 – via National Library of Australia.
  20. ^ "John Fowler 7nhp Steam Road Locomotive". New South Wales State Heritage Register. Department of Planning & Environment. H01867. Retrieved 18 May 2018. Text is licensed by State of New South Wales (Department of Planning and Environment) under CC-BY 4.0 licence.
  21. ^ "Wellington Convict and Mission Site - Maynggu Ganai". New South Wales State Heritage Register. Department of Planning & Environment. H01859. Retrieved 18 May 2018. Text is licensed by State of New South Wales (Department of Planning and Environment) under CC-BY 4.0 licence.
  22. ^ "Wellington". New South Wales State Heritage Register. Department of Planning & Environment. H01415. Retrieved 18 May 2015. Text is licensed by State of New South Wales (Department of Planning and Environment) under CC-BY 4.0 licence.
  23. ^ "Blacks Camp". New South Wales State Heritage Register. Department of Planning & Environment. H01865. Retrieved 18 May 2018. Text is licensed by State of New South Wales (Department of Planning and Environment) under CC-BY 4.0 licence.
  24. ^ "Wellington Times". Fairfax Regional Media. Retrieved 27 April 2013.
  25. ^ "Western timetable". NSW TrainLink. 7 September 2019.

External links[edit]