Historical Towns Directory

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Find Narrabri

The Namoi River runs through the centre of the town of Narrabri, which is located 529 kilometres north-west of Sydney by road. It has an approximate population of 7436 residents.

Prior to white settlement the area was inhabited by the Kamilaroi peoples. The name 'Narrabri' is derived from an Aboriginal word meaning 'forked waters', 'forked stick' or 'meeting of the waters'.

European explorers were in the district as early as 1818 but it is likely that Thomas Mitchell was the first to reach the current townsite in 1832. Squatters arrived soon after with the 'Nurrabry' run being taken up somewhere between 1832 and 1834.

In 1848 it was proposed that a townsite be set aside at a road junction. The town was proclaimed in 1860, though the first hotel at the site had been licensed two years earlier.

The town's first post office was established in 1861 and a hospital opened in 1864. A coach service commenced in 1865.

During 1864-65 a brick courthouse was constructed to a design by architect James Barnet and court services were relocated from Wee Waa to Narrabri. A new courthouse was built from 1886 to 1888, also to a design by Barnet, as were the police residence (1878-79) and post office (1879 and later extended).

A public school was established in 1868 and a newspaper in 1873.

Closer settlement began after the passage of 1861 Robertson Land Act and wheat farming commenced in 1873.

Another of Barnet's designs was the gaol which opened at Narrabri in 1882 and closed as a penitentiary 100 years later.

Railway reached Narrabri West in 1882 and the settlement began to move in that direction. However when the rail line arrived in Narrabri itself in 1897, the Narrabri West settlement declined.

The 1897 railway station is still standing. Two historic churches from the 1890s also remain: St Cyprian's Anglican Church was built in 1895 and St Stephen's Presbyterian Church established the next year.

Post Office, Narrabri (courtesy Narrabri Shire Tourist Information Centre)

Today Narrabri is the administrative centre of the Narrabri Shire and is also at the heart of Australia's major cotton producing region.

Narrabri & District Historical Society Inc
Information: The Society (founded November 1964) aims to collect, restore and research local history and run the 'Old Gaol Museum'.
Publications: 'Inmate' edited by Cath Davis
President Phone: 02 6793 2190
Contact: Max Pringle (President)

PO Box 55
Narrabri NSW 2390

Narrabri Old Gaol Museum
Information: The Narrabri & District Historical Society's Museum contains old gaol cells, early tools, medical equipment, clothing and household items. Opening hours are 9am to 4pm Saturdays or on request if a volunteer is available.
President Phone: 02 6793 2190

Barwan Street
Narrabri NSW 2390

Narrabri Shire Visitors Centre
Phone: 1800 659 931

Newell Highway
Narrabri NSW 2390

Email: tourism@narrabri.nsw.gov.au
Website: http://www.narrabri.nsw.gov.au/



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