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This is about the city in Australia. For the town in the United Kingdom with the same name see heremarker

Tamworth is a city in the New England region of New South Walesmarker, Australia. Straddling the Peel Rivermarker, Tamworth with an urban population of 42,501 people is the major regional centre for southern New England and in the local government area of Tamworth Regional Councilmarker. The city provides services for an area population of 55,063. The city is located midway between Brisbanemarker and Sydneymarker the two largest cities on the Australian east coast.

Tamworth is nationally famous as the "Country Music Capital of Australia", annually hosting the Tamworth Country Music Festivalmarker in late January; the second biggest country music festival in the world. The city is recognised as the "National Equine Capital of Australia" because of the high volume of equine events held in the city and the construction of the world class Australian Equine and Livestock Events Centremarker, the biggest of its kind in the southern hemisphere. The city additionally is known as the "First City of Lights", being the first place in the Southern Hemispheremarker to utilise electric street lights.


The Kamilaroi people, from whose language comes the word "budgerigar", inhabited the area before European contact. John Oxley passed through the Peel Valley in 1818 and described it as "it would be impossible to find a finer or more luxuriant country than its waters...No place in this world can afford more advantages to the industrious settler than this extensive vale".In 1831, the first sheep stations and cattle stations were formed, and in the same year the Australian Agricultural Company (AAC) was granted a lease of 127,000 hectares of land at Goonoo Goonoo, south of the present location of Tamworth, extending to present-day Calala.

In the 1830s a company town began to develop on the Peel's southwest bank, the present site of West Tamworthmarker. In 1850 A public town was gazetted on the opposite side of the river from the existing settlement. This town became the main town, called Tamworthmarker after Tamworth, Staffordshiremarker, represented at the time in parliament by Robert Peel. The town prospered, and was reached by the railway in 1878.

In 1888 Tamworth became the first location in the Southern Hemispheremarker to have electric street lighting, giving the city the title of "First City of Light".


  • 1818 - Explorer John Oxley passes through the area on his exploration mission. Names the river that now runs through the town: Peel River, after English Prime Minister Robert Peel, whose name is also that of the main street and one of the local high schools.
  • 1831 - First sheep and cattle stations, namely Joseph Brown's 'Wallamoul' and William Dangar's 'Waldoo'. The exploring expedition led by Major Mitchell visited 'Wallamoul' in December 1831 on its way to the north-west.
  • 1834 - First Australian Agriculture Company sheep brought to the Tamworth region.
  • 1851 - The white population of the village of Tamworth was 254.
  • 1852 - John Barnes built the Royal Oak Hotel
  • 1861 - Population 654.
  • 1866 - Tamworth Mechanics' Institute opened
  • 1888 - Power station opened and enables beginning of electric street lighting. The first electric streetlights in the southern hemisphere.
  • 1918 - An anchor is unveiled as a memorial to the discovery of Tamworth district.
  • 1946 - Proclaimed a city.
  • 1947 - East-West Airlines established in Tamworth - flying Tamworth - Sydney.
  • 1988 - A country music icon, the 12 m tall Golden Guitarmarker is erected as a symbol of the city's country music roots.
  • 1990s - The Local Council embarks on a successful campaign of urban and streetscape renewal, including the greening of Peel Street.
  • 1999 - Tamworth Regional Entertainment Centremarker is opened
  • 2004 - A new local government area, Tamworth Regional Council, is formed from Tamworth City, Manillamarker Shire and parts of Parry, Nundlemarker and Barrabamarker Shires.
  • 2006 - In December the Tamworth Regional Council voted 6 to 3 against an offer from the Federal Government to take part in a one-year trial rural refugee resettlement program; the majority of these refugees would be Sudanesemarker escaping civil war in their homeland. Mayor of Tamworth, Cr James Treloar, argued that the refugees being resettled were tuberculous and criminal. The decision resulted in national and international media attention on the city. The public outrage unleashed by his comments and the summary decision to reject the refugees forced a reversal of the bill one month later, and Tamworth will now take part in the resettling program.
  • 2008 Australian Equine and Livestock Events Centre is opened in September.


Location of Tamworth
Chaffey Dam
Tamworth is located on the western side of the Great Dividing Rangemarker, on the banks of the Peel Rivermarker, about 420 km north of Sydneymarker on the New England Highway, and 280 km inland from Port Macquariemarker on the Oxley Highway. The town is situated at a narrow point on the Peel River floodplain, nestled at the base of the Wentworth Mounds, a spur of the Moonbi Rangemarker, where the Northwest Slopes rise to the Northern Tablelands. The elevation is around 400 m AHD. The Peel River runs southeast to northwest through Tamworth. The main town centre is on the northeast bank, between the river and the Wentworth Mounds which rise to heights of 800 m, towering over the city. The southwest bank is much flatter, and the city's suburbs sprawl to the south. Water for residents and the city's industry is supplied by Chaffey Dammarker, 44 km south east of the city.

Tamworth occupies an area of 486.5 km² as of 2003. Surrounding towns include Gunnedahmarker, Willow Tree, Urallamarker, and Nundlemarker.


The daily maximum temperature is 34°C in the summer, and the daily average summer night is 20°C, and the mean annual rainfall is 673.2 mm, the daily average winter day temperature is 18°C and the night is 3°C. The climate is generally warm to hot in summer and mild in winter. The hottest recorded temperature was 46°C and the coldest was -7°C.

Rainfall is experienced all year round, with summer storms providing occasional heavy downpours.

Tamworth's rain season, in the early months of a new year (particularly January) can result in major flooding. Snow is very rare in Tamworth but does occur in the surrounding villages such as Nundle. Frosts appear regularly.

On 28 and 29 November 2008, Tamworth received torrential rain that caused severe flooding and led to the area being declared a natural disaster area.


The estimated population of the Tamworth statistical district according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics in 2006 was 42,499 , with 33,475 people in the main urban area . The population size of the Tamworth Regional Council was 54,522 in 2005. Tamworth has a working population of approximately 18,000 in 2008.



Satellite Suburbs

Central Business District

The Tamworth Central Business District is the city centre and is located north of the Peel River. It is primarily a business area of Tamworth, with many shops, restaurants, car dealerships, as well as shopping centres and public facilities. The Tamworth Regional Council has its headquarters in Peel St at Ray Walsh House. Bicentennial Park and number one cricket oval are also located in the suburb.Image:Sleep monkey tamworth.jpg|Sleepy Monkey Tamworth RestaurantImage:TOWN CLOCK PEEL ST.jpg|Post Office Town Clock


Tamworth is primarily a service centre for the New England and North West regions, providing services to a population of some 200,00 plus people from the Tamworth region and satellite areas. The retail industry is the biggest employer followed by manufacturing and health services. The industries with the most number of businesses in order are property and business services, agriculture and construction, closely followed by finance and insurance services. With a diverse economy agriculture, education, transport and aviation are major industries.

Tamworth Airport


The latter has been a significant part of the local economy, partly due to the city's exceptionally suitable flying weather, with the former East West Airlines and Eastern Airlines having had service and maintenance bases at the Tamworth Airport. The Tamworth airport is one of the 10 busiest airports in Australia and is an important centre for flying training activities for both airline and defence force graduates. The BAE Systemsmarker Flight Training College encompasses the flight screening course for all Australian Defence Force pilot applicants, Basic Flying Training School for the Australian Defence Force and the Singapore Air Force. The Australasian Pacific Aeronautical College and New England Institute of TAFE in the city also provide aeronautical training.


Orchard outside Tamworth during Winter
King George Avenue near the Peel River where many farms are located

Agriculture is an important industry in the Tamworth economy. An estimated 307,000 hectares of land is used for the agricultural industry, with an economic gross value of $75 million contributing to the Tamworth economy.Important agricultural activities include beef, sheep, grain, dairy, poultry and lucerne Other agricultural areas include alpaca, buffalo, berry, fish, goat, hydroponic, nut, olive, specialised game fowl farming as well wineries. Offices for the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Natural Resources are located in Tamworth.
Australian National Equine Livestock Events Centre (AELEC), New England Highway, Tamworth, NSW

Equine and Sporting Horse Events

Horses in Tamworth

Tamworth is recognized nationally as the sporting horse capital of Australia and is the headquarters for three major equine associations: CHA, ABCRA and AQHA. Many of the Australia's most important equine events take place in Tamworth. Various international, national and state championships are regularly held in the Tamworth district as well as Australia's richest sporting horse event; the NCHA Futurity. Additionally the ABCRA National Finals Rodeo occurs during the Tamworth Country Music Festival. Equine sports and their participation is very high in the Tamworth region amongst residents. The strength of the Equine and sporting horse industry in Tamworth has resulted in hundreds of businesses and horse studs being located in the city's region.

Titles held in the city include: ABCRA National Finals and Junior National Finals, Australian Quarter Horse National Championships & Barrel Race Super Challenge, National Cutting Horse Association Futurity among many other events. These events were hosted at the Tamworth Showgrounds in the suburb of Tamindamarker however they are now hosted at the new Australian Equine and Livestock Events Centre in 2008. The Australian Equine and Livestock Events Centre has been built by the Tamworth Regional Councilmarker at a cost of $30 million. Construction of stage I began in June 2007 and was completed in October 2008. The centre has an indoor arena seating 3,360 people, stables for over 478 horses, a covered stud livestock selling area with seating for 660 people and truck and camping facilities for 195 vehicles. Associations for Appaloosas horses, all breeds, Western Performance, Australian Stock Horses, Pony Clubs and cutting horses all use the centre.


Post Office Clock
Tamworth is the largest and main retail centre for the New England and North West Slopes regions of New South Walesmarker. Retail accounts for 22.5% of the working population and is the largest employer in the city.

Peel St is the major retail and shopping area of Tamworth and is located in the Tamworth Central Business Districtmarker. Three blocks of Peel St were refurbished over different stages during the 1990s. There are approximately a few hundred shops in the main street, as well as restaurants, street cafés and banks. These include a large Target (formally Grace Bros.).

Shopping Centres: There are many shopping centres located in Tamworth, with the majority being located in the Tamworth Central Business Districtmarker however many are also located in various neighborhoods. Shopping Centres include:

Tamworth Regional Council Building in Peel st

  • Tamworth Shopping World - Located in West Tamworthmarker along Bridge st, Tamworth Shopping World with over 50 specialty shops, including a food court and anchored by Woolworths and Big W.

  • Centrepoint Shopping Centre - A $35 million shopping centre began construction in early 2007 and completed Christmas 2008 behind the Tamworth Town Hall, in the Tamworth Central Business Districtmarker between the old city library and behind the specialty shops in the main street Peel st. The shopping centre links up with the current small Centrepoint Arcade through which access to Peel St is and the entire centre is known as Centrepoint Shopping Centre. The Centre contains a Franklins supermarket as well as 5 cinemas and a performing arts centre/theatre that also doubles as a cinema, 6 restaurants, food court and 40 specialty shops.

  • Northgate Shopping Centre - Situated in North Tamworth Bi-Lo is located inside the centre as well as 18 specialty shops. The centre is now under redevlopment with the supermarket being enlarged, which will change operation from Bi-Lo to Coles, and the inclusion of more specialty shops in the centre.

  • Southgate Shopping Centre - Situated in South Tamworthmarker Bi-Lo is located inside the centre as well as other speciality shops. The centre was the first mall to be built in Tamworth. The centre is also expected an upgrade in late 2008.

  • The Atrium - Formerly known as the Tamworth Arcade, and is located in the Tamworth Central Business Districtmarker with entrances from Peel St, and Kable Avenue. The centre is scheduled for an upgrade in early 2008.

  • Tamworth Homespace - Is located out at the Longyard. It is a bulk goods complex. It also contains two large gyms (Beach House Fitness & Inspirations) and also Outback Jacks Bar & Grill, a family restaurant.

  • Calala Court shopping complex - Is located in Calalamarker and was opened in 2007. It has 10 specialty shops and an IGA supermarket.

Other shopping complexes in Tamworth include Robert St Shopping Centre, and the Longyard Homemakers centre.


John Butler busking in Peel St during 2007 festival
Tourism is an important industry, worth over A$110 m, annually with by far the most significant draw being the annual Tamworth Country Music Festivalmarker, the biggest event of its type in Australia and the southern hemisphere.

Country Music Festival

Tamworth is best known for hosting the Country Music Festivalmarker. The Festival is held over a period of 10 days during January, and is the second biggest country music festival in the world. The festival has many times been counted among the world's top ten music festivals. In 2007 Forbes rated it as number 8 of the World’s Coolest Music Festivals. The festival features thousands of Australian and international country music artists performing live shows 24 hours a day. Each year an estimated 100,000 people pass through the Tamworth for the festival with around 70,000 staying for a substantial duration of the festival, with camping along the banks of the Peel River.

The 10 day festival culminates in the Golden Guitar Awards - the most prestigious award that an Australian Country Music artist can win for their music. In honor of its country music Tamworth is home to the 'Big Golden Guitar'marker, the wax museum and the hands of fame park of successful country music artists. Homegrown country music stars include Felicity Urquhart and up and coming promising talent Chasing Bailey whose music style is a mixture of country, rock and other genres.


Tamworth Capitol Theatre

The Tamworth Capitol Theatre is fitted with a 405-seat auditorium with two levels of tiered seating and includes professional theatre lighting, full sound system, dressing rooms, orchestra pit, fly tower and is fully air conditioned. It is a multi-function space for live theatre and cinema productions. It has significant added to the existing cultural facilities in the region and provides a forum for live theatre including dance, drama, music, educational activities, conferences and community events.

Tamworth Town Hall

The Tamworth Town Hall is located in the Tamworth Central Business District is a historical building that is used for events, conferences and concerts. Additionally it is commonly used for career expos, antique shows, meetings and conventions. Is has a proscenium stage, a gallery and has a seating capacity of 1000 people.

Tamworth Regional Entertainment Centre

Tamworth Regional Entertainment Centre is located in the suburb of Hillvue. It is a multipurpose centre with a seating capacity of 5,100 and is the biggest of its kind outside the New South Wales and south-east Queensland metropolitan areas.


The New England Institute of TAFE's biggest campus, the Tamworth TAFE Campus is located in the city; as well as an access centre for the University of New England. There are additionally many public and non-governmental schools in Tamworth and as well as an adult education centre.

Culture and Recreation


Rodeo sports
Sport is a very important part of Tamworth culture and over 50 different sports and recreational pursuits are participated in by the community. Many major annual and one off sporting events are held in the city because of the wide range of facilities and venues available. There are over 180 sporting clubs in the Tamworth region and the region has several strong competitions, including basketball, cricket, football , hockey, netball, rugby league, rugby union and Aussie rules football. As a result the city has produced many sportspeople including test cricketers, olympic shooters and hockey players; and many rugby league players playing in the National Rugby League. The Northern Inland Academy of Sport is one important institution in the city that has helped talented sportspeople to establish themselves "on and off the field." It was established in 1992 and has a wide range of community support.


Water based hockey fields
Located within the city are an athletic track, Australian football grounds, badminton courts, baseball pitches, indoor basketball courts, indoor and outdoor cricket pitches, croquet turf, cycling: velodrome and bmx track, two 18-hole golf courses, a gymnastic centre, water bases hockey fields, the Australian Equine and Livestock Events Centremarker used for equine sports, eleven bowling turfs, Kart racing track, a speedway track and a motocross track, netball courts: twelve asphalt courts, 30 grass courts and an indoor synthetic court. An inline hockey court, rugby league and union fields: nine senior fields and seven junior fields. Shooting sports 3 x 25 m standard pistol ranges, 1 x 10m air pistol range, 1 x 100m free & action pistol range; 1 x 50m service pistol range and 1 x 100m rifle range. Soccer fields with six senior fields, 8 junior fields and an indoor standard court. Two international standard softball diamonds and ten competition standard diamonds. Squash courts, two olympic swimming pools and one indoor pool. Tennis courts include 2 hardcourts, 17 synthetic courts, 8 clay courts and one indoor synthetic court. There are also two tenpin bowling centres, 16 touch football/Oztag fields, two indoor volleyball courts and three beach courts, as well as 2 water polo competition level pools.

Sports Teams In Tamworth

Team name Sport Competition Years
Tamworth Rugby Club Rugby Union Central North 1954
Pirates Rugby Club Rugby Union Central North 1962
North Tamworth Bears Rugby League Group 4 1911
West Tamworth Lions Rugby League Group 4
Hillvue Rovers Football
North Companions Football Northern Inland Premier League
Oxley Vale Attunga Football Northern Inland Premier League
Tamworth Kangaroos Australian Rules Tamworth Football League
Tamworth Swans Australian Rules Tamworth Football League

Performing Arts

  • The Tamworth Eisteddfod is held annually in May and June, with Speech and Drama, Debating, Music and Dance sections. The five main dance schools in tamworth En Evant, The Owl and the Pussycat, Kaluder and Ecnad all compete in the Eisteddfod.

  • The Northwest Dance Festival has been held various times in Tamworth, being held in the Tamworth Regional Entertainment Centremarker in 2006. This includes a wide variety of dances from all the Public schools in the region.

  • The Tamworth Musical Society is an important part of the Tamworth culture, and has performed musicals such as Grease, Westside Story, and Les Misérables in October-November 2007.

  • The Tamworth Regional Conservatorium of Music is another important part of the performing arts scene in Tamworth. Catering for over 1000 students of a wide range learning many instruments from experienced and qualified teachers. It is the largest regional conservatorium in the state behind Wollongong, with students ranging in age from four years to 75 years old, learning over 21 different instruments.

  • CAPERS is a show hosted at Tamworth Regional Entertainment Centre every 2 years. It is to showcase the talent of students from all over the North-West region. Both primary and high schools.


Bicentennial Park
There are many important parks in the city of Tamworth. Notable parks in Tamworth include Anzac park, Bicentennial Park and The Tamworth Regional Botanic Gardens. The Botanical gardens were established in 1995 and are run by the Tamworth Regional Councilmarker. The gardens cover an area of 28ha, 5ha of which has been developed. The gardens conserve the flora of the region, as well as include flora and plant displays from various parts of Australia and the world.


The following buildings are listed on the Register of the National Estate.
  • Hospital Main Block, built 1883
  • Post Office, Victorian Classical style, designed by Colonial Architect James Barnet, circa 1886
  • Lands Office, Fitzroy Street, built 1889
  • Public School, Upper Street, built 1885


Tamworth Power Station Museum

Tamworth was the first town in the southern hemisphere to light its streets by electricity in 1888. A larger Power Station was established due to the high demand of electricity. The Tamworth Power Station Museum purpose is to tell the story of the city's role in the development of electric street lighting, from the early days of oil lamps in 1876 and gas lamps in 1882, through to the installation of the first electric lights in November, 1888. The museum has one Australia's largest collections of early 20th century electrical appliances.

Powerhouse Motorcycle Museum

The Powerhouse Motorcycle Museum holds more than 50 motorcycles spanning from the 1950s to the 1980s. The museum specializes in Ducati, Triumph, Honda, Velocette and Lavender. The museum holds the limited edition F4 MV Augusta Serie.D.Oro.


Cross of Light at Tamworth Lookout

Since 2000 the Combined Churches of Tamworth have run a free to the public festival called "Lifefest" in Bicentennial Park. The event is run on a Saturday in July in conjunction with Fusion Tamworth and with the support of Tamworth Regional Councilmarker.The family day celebrates National Thanksgiving Day and involves various stalls with free food, drinks, games, and showbags, as well as drama presentation, music performances, and displays from police, fire brigade and ambulance. 2007 attracted a crowd of a couple thousand to the festival in the park.


Tamworth serves as the regional centre for media in the New England District.



NBN Television and Prime Television have studios in Tamworth that produce local news bulletins.


Several radio stations are based in the city, including 2TM,general community station 2YOU FM 88.9 FM,Christian community radio station Radio Rhema 89.7 FM,hit music station - FM 92.9 andthe local ABC Local Radio station, ABC New England North West.

The community radio stations both broadcast from Bald Hill.Both FM 92.9 and 2TM are owned by the Caralis SuperNetwork.


Tamworth is situated on the Main North railway line. Trains no longer continue all the way to the Queenslandmarker border, but the town is still served by the Countrylink Xplorer service between Sydneymarker and Armidalemarker. Until November 2009 Pacific National operated a regular fuel service from Sydney, carrying 30 million litres of fuel a year to Tamworth and Dubbo. It was the last freight service to serve the city, in the 1980s up to six trains a day ran.

The Tamworth Airportmarker has flights from Tamworth to Sydneymarker with QantasLink daily.

Sister cities

Tamworth has the following sister cities:

Country City (and Province or State)
New Zealand Goremarker
Japan Sannohe, Aomorimarker
England Tamworthmarker
China Chaoyang District, Beijingmarker
United States DeKalb, Illinoismarker


  • Golden Guitarmarker
  • PowerStation Museum
  • Calala Cottage
  • Tamworth Regional Gallery
  • Tamworth Regional Botanic Gardens

Noteworthy Identities



Entertainment, media and the arts

Medicine and science

Politics, public service and the law


See also


  1. Australian Traveller Retrieved on 31 March 2009
  2. Explore Australia 2002, 20th edition, Viking
  3. [1]
  4. You're not welcome, town tells refugees Sydney Morning Herald
  5. Tamworth rethinks refugee settlement scheme, ABC News Online
  6. Walcha News, "Flood clean up", 11 December 2008
  7. APAC Retrieved on 31 March 2009
  8. Welcome to AELEC, Tamworth Regional Council, September 2008
  9. [2]
  10. [3]
  11. [4]
  12. The Heritage of Australia, Macmillan Company, 1981, p.2/246

External links

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