Historical Towns Directory

By clicking on a state or territory on the map, you can access a regional guide to Australia's historic towns, including a wealth of information about organizations, museums and locations.

We invite organisations to submit information for inclusion on this site. Please click here to email your information to the Directory Editor, Ros Stirling.



Find Quirindi

Explorers John Oxley (1818), Allan Cunningham (1823, 1825, 1827), Henry Dangar (1824, 1825) and Surveyor-General Thomas Mitchell (1831) all travelled to the Quirindi region, which was then home to the Kamilaroi people. The land was also opened up by men seeking pasture for their stock, and many of their names will never be known. Sometimes explorers were assisted by Aboriginal guides, and sometimes they were attacked, such as Henry Dangar’s party in 1824.

The area of Quirindi derives its name from the indigenous Kamilaroi Aboriginal language. The name has been given various translations, including ‘nest in the hills’, ‘place where fish breed’, ‘place of many possums’ and ‘dead tree on mountain top’. Early spelling of the name included ‘Cuerindi’ and ‘Kuwherindi’.

Quirindi Municipal Council Chambers, built 1912 (courtesy Quirindi & District Historical Society Inc)

George Loder’s ‘Quirindi Station’ was taken up about 1830. The first squatters took up runs illegally in the area, which was then beyond the prescribed limits of settlement, until leasehold gave some title after 1836.

The first townsite developed as a camping place for bullock teams and other travellers, due to the availability of surface water at the intersection of two creeks. An inn and some huts were established for the camp during the 1840s.

In 1856 a town plan was drawn up, although the town was not gazetted until 19 February 1884.

Quirindi Railway Station, opened 13 August 1877 (courtesy Quirindi & District Historical Society Inc)

Postal services began in the small settlement in 1858.

Closer settlement of the region began in the 1860s after the 1861 Land Acts were passed, allowing ‘free selection before survey’ [Crown Lands Alienation Act and Crown Lands Occupation Act].

When the railway line opened in 1877 Quirindi developed into a service centre for the transport of local produce, such as wool, sheep, fat lambs, cattle and later, wheat, to the major markets.

School of Arts, built 1888 and destroyed by fire in 1912. A new School of Arts was built on the same site in 1914 (courtesy Quirindi & District Historical Society Inc)

The positioning of the railway station drew the town northwards from its original location, and led to the later extension of the town boundaries in that direction.

The development of Quirindi resulted in a school being established (1877), church buildings, telegraph office, police services, and public buildings such as a courthouse (1883), post office (1884) and School of Arts (1888).

Commercial development resulted in more and larger stores, hotels, banks (first bank 1876), two flour mills, sawmills, blacksmiths and coachbuilders, and a newspaper (1883). Two newspapers functioned in the town from the 1890s until 1925, when they amalgamated.

Quirindi Courthouse, built 1930, replacing an earlier weatherboard courthouse (courtesy Quirindi & District Historical Society Inc)

A Municipality was gazetted on 29 December 1890, the council meeting in rented rooms until a Council Chambers was built in 1912.

Some major fires have occurred in Quirindi, such as the School of Arts (1912; re-built 1914) and the courthouse (1929; re-built 1930).

Popular leisure activities in Quirindi included racing and horse sports, footraces and picnics, rifle shooting, cricket, football and tennis. Polo started on district properties from 1888, with matches first being played in the Quirindi township in 1893 on a private paddock which later became the Quirindi polo ground. From 1893 a polo carnival in August each year became a highlight of the town’s sporting and social calendar. A silver cup was donated in 1899, known as The Northern Champion Challenge Cup of NSW, for competition in the annual carnival.

Quirindi, 354 kilometres north of Sydney, is today the major centre of the Liverpool Plains Shire.

Quirindi & District Historical Society Inc
Information: The Society (founded 1960) aims to encourage the study of the history of Australia and of Quirindi and the surrounding area in particular; to promote the compilation of historical records of the district; to acquire and preserve written records and objects relevant to the Quirindi district.
Publications: The Society began publishing local history in 1965, with a journal ('Historical Notes'). Twelve journals were published (up to 1975) after which books on local history were published. Books include: 'Community Health Care in the Quirindi District' by E. Pengilley; 'The Upper Mooki' by H.R. Carter; 'The Quipolly Valley' by M. Scott; 'Wallabadah' by R. Croker; 'Between Creeks' by M Powell; 'Across the Plain' by M McGavin; 'Werris Creek' and 'Carrabobila' by S.H. Ware; 'Quirindi 2000' (photographic) by G. Collins; 'Old Timer's End' (poetry) by K. Preston; and 'Quirindi in the 19th Century How a Town Began', 'Quirindi 1900-1919 Confidence and Patriotism', 'Quirindi 1919-1939 Between the World Wars', 'Quirindi 1939-1950 Courage and Commitment', 'Quirindi 1950-1966 A Time of Development', 'Quirindi 1966-1990 Years of Change' all by D. Durrant.
Events: An exhibition at the Historical Cottage during History Week in September - each year a different theme.
Contact: D. Durrant (Hon. Archivist)
Phone: 02 6760 9634

PO Box 279
Quirindi NSW 2343

Historical Cottage and Museum, Quirindi
Information: The Historical Cottage was built in 1887 of locally made sandstock bricks, and features unique local displays such as the Phillips-McLennon Aboriginal Collection, Darby survey equipment, Cottage Hospital Theatre furnishings, local military memorabilia, sporting trophies, wedding and christening gowns and the Carter Radio Room. Opening hours are 10am to 4pm Fridays or by appointment.
Phone: 02 6760 9634

44 Station Street
Quirindi NSW 2343

Quirindi Visitor Information Centre
Phone: 02 6746 1096

Quirindi Arts and Craft, Railway Square

Website: http://www.visitquirindi.com.au
Quirindi Rural Heritage Village Inc.
Information: The Quirindi Heritage Village committee (founded 1996) – and the Farming Hall of Fame – showcases the development of rural Australia. Set on 13 acres of ground 3 km from Quirindi on the Gunnedah Roadthe village has been designed to collect, preserve, restore, interpret and exhibit artefacts that relate to the history, heritage and culture of the regional area.

The Federation Pavilion houses the extensive museum and coffee shop is open Friday, Saturday and Sunday 10 am – 4 pm and other times by appointment. Working bees are held on Tuesdays and the museum is also open then. Exhibits range from aboriginal heritage through to the explorers and early settlers, it demonstrates the trials and tribulations faced by the pioneers of this vast country. Take a journey in 50 year increments and see how your forebears lived in days gone by. A beautifully restored buggy, a penny farthing bicycle, a foot pedalled dentist’s drill, and solicitor’s office, beautiful antique lace and embroidery are just some of the numerous items on display.

Pavilion II is the domain of the agricultural implements. A recent donation was a 8 hp Blackstone engine (fully restored) A new machinery shed houses a 1901 Clayton and Shuttleworth threshing machine, elevator and chaff cutter, two vintage fire trucks, tractors and engines. More than 2000 heritage objects are now on site, with plenty more to come. Two steam engines are housed in the steam shed, and the well stocked blacksmith’s shop has regular classes for enthusiasts.

A 650 metre miniature railway encircles the watercourse and trains run regularly every fourth Sunday in the month.
Events: Annual rally and swap meet first full weekend in May, 2008 dates are May 3-4.
Contact: Beryl Mannion (rally secretary) on (02) 6746 1479

P.O. Box 338
Quirindi NSW 2343




Index of all
Australian Heritage articles