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Welcome to Tamworth Country Music and Cutting Horse Capital of Australia

Every year in January, Tamworth hosts the biggest country music festival in Australia and in June, the richest riding horse event, the annual NCHA Futurity Show and Sale. There’s always something happening horse-wise in Tamworth such as trail riding to rodeo, trotters to gallopers, harness to pony club, dressage to showjumping to tent pegging.

Although best known for the country music festival, Tamworth is also the centre of the commercial and administrative region of New England. It serves as the retail and service centre to the surrounding region whose agricultural produce includes wool, dairy products, eggs, wheat, lucerne, tobacco, honey and livestock such as cattle, horse, sheep and poultry. Tamworth boasts several agricultural schools.

View from Tamworth LookoutTamworth is located on the Peel River, 412 km north of Sydney at the intersection of the New England and Oxley Highways and has a population of about 40,000, that swells rapidly during the country music festival and the NCHA Futurity Show and Sale.

The area was originally occupied by the Kamilaroi people who knew it as ‘Calala’, which is thought to mean ‘place of battle’. It was in 1818 that John Oxley crossed the Peel River Valley, north-west of the present town site, on route to the coast, recording the river crossing in his journal, noting that

 ‘it would be impossible to find a finer or more luxuriant country than its place in this world can afford more advantages to the industrious settler than this extensive vale’.

Although squatters began to arrive in 1830, the Australian Agricultural Company (AAC) was awarded a huge land grant. The land was selected by Henry Dangar, with the first 6,000 sheep arriving in 1834. The grant was allocated in two separate parcels, of which the larger being Goonoo Goonoo, located on the southern bank of the Peel River. In 1841, this became the company headquarters. By the late 1830s a private village had developed on the western bank of the Peel River, with a some huts and stores on the eastern bank catering for teamsters who crossed the river at that point. By 1840 a lock-up was established and a postmaster employed. In 1849 a survey for a town site was carried out and Tamworth was gazetted in 1850 with a population of 254 recorded the following year when its first school was set up. Tamworth comes from the name of a town in Staffordshire, England, represented in the British parliament by Robert Peel.

Golden Guitar - Tamworth1851 proved a boon time for the town with the gold finds at Nundle. In 1859 the first newspaper was established and the following year, the first proper bridge was built over the Peel River. The 1860s saw Tamworth become a major coaching station and milling centre, with the population increasing to about 3,000 by 1876, when it was declared a municipality. The railway from Newcastle was extended to West Tamworth in In 1878.  It was in 1888 that Tamworth became the first town in the Southern Hemisphere to have a municipally-operated electric street lighting, earning itself the nickname of ‘The City of Light’.

During the 1920s, Tamworth became the centre of the New England New State Movement, which wanted to create a separate state. The movement resurfaced in the 1960s.

During World War II the showgrounds were used as an army-training camp and an RAAF flying school was set up at the aerodrome that had opened in 1932.

Declared a city in 1946, Tamworth saw significant growth through the 1960s and 1970s.

It was during the late 1960s that local radio station 2TM saw the potential scale of the country music audience when it began broadcasting its programme ‘Hoedown’. Tamworth capitalised on the success of country music by establishing the Country Music Awards in 1973. The Australasian Country Music Festival is now a major event of ten days of entertainment, which attracts people from all over the world.

In addition to our listed online travel guide information, contact the local tourism visitor centre for your destination for more attractions, tours, local maps and other information.

Information Centre Tamworth Visitor Information Centre
Cnr Peel & Murray Streets
Ph: 02 6765 5300
Web: (Tamworth City Council)

National Cutting Horse Association
Ph: 02 6765 9536
Fax: 02 6765 9722

Tamworth Distance

Distance to Tamworth
• Following are some approximate distances by road to Tamworth:
• Armidale 111
• Brisbane 574
• Gunnedah 76
• Port Macquarie 272
• Quirindi 69
• Singleton 205
• Sydney 387
• Walcha 91
Distances given are only approximation, they should be verified with the appropriate maps.
The Australian Automotive Motoring Associations also offer select access to travel trip planners.
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