|Population 42,255 (2015) (32nd)|
Elevation 404 m (1,325 ft)
|Established 1818 (explored)
Location 420 km (261 mi) from Sydney 280 km (174 mi) from Port Macquarie 105 km (65 mi) from Armidale 574 km (357 mi) from Brisbane
LGA(s) Tamworth Regional Council
Tamworth is a city in the New England region of New South Wales, Australia. Straddling the Peel River, Tamworth is the major regional centre for the New England region and is in the local government area of Tamworth Regional Council. Approximately 318 km (198 mi) from the Queensland border, the city is located almost midway between Brisbane and Sydney, the two largest cities on the Australian east coast. The city had an estimated population of 42,255 people at 30 June 2015 .
- Map of Tamworth NSW 2340 Australia
- Central business district
- Equine and sporting horse events
- Country Music Festival
- Vehicle manufacturing
- Tamworth Capitol Theatre
- Tamworth Town Hall
- Tamworth Regional Entertainment Centre
- Performing arts
- Tamworth Power Station Museum
- Powerhouse Motorcycle Museum
- Sister cities
- Military History
- Noteworthy people
Map of Tamworth NSW 2340, Australia
The city is known as the "First City of Lights", being the first place in Australia to use electric street lights in 1888. Tamworth is also famous as the "Country Music Capital of Australia", annually hosting the Tamworth Country Music Festival 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 number of equine events held in the city and the construction of the world class Australian Equine and Livestock Events Centre, the biggest of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere.
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 (310,000 acres) 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 Tamworth. 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 "Tamworth" after Tamworth, Staffordshire, represented at the time in parliament by Robert Peel. The town prospered, and was reached by the railway in 1878.
On 9 November 1888, Tamworth became the first location in Australia to have electric street lighting powered by a municipally owned power station, giving the city the title of "First City of Light". The first streetlights used in Australia were commercially owned in Waratah Tasmania in 1886.
Tamworth is located on the western side of the Great Dividing Range, on the banks of the Peel River, about 420 km (260 mi) north of Sydney on the New England Highway, and 280 km (170 mi) inland from Port Macquarie 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 Range, where the Northwest Slopes rise to the Northern Tablelands. The elevation is around 400 m (1,300 ft) 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 (2,600 ft), 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 Dam, 44 km (27 mi) south east of the city.
Tamworth occupies an area of 486.5 km² 486.5 km2 (187.8 sq mi) as of 2003. Surrounding towns include Gunnedah, Willow Tree, Uralla, and Nundle.
Tamworth has a warm climate with hot summers and mild winters. It is included in the rainfall records and weather forecast region of the North West Slopes or the North West Slopes and Plains division of the Bureau of Meteorology forecasts. Under the Koppen climate classification scheme, Tamworth has a humid subtropical climate (Cfa).
Temperatures exceed 35 °C (95 °F) on around 20–25 days a year but over the last few years have exceeded this number substantially, the average maximum temperature is 33 °C (91 °F) in the summer, and overnight is around 18 °C (64 °F), the mean annual rainfall is 673.2 mm (26.50 in). Winters are mild or sometimes even warm by day, and cool to cold by night. Daytime temperatures hover around 16–17 °C (61–63 °F) and occasionally make it to 20, and overnight around 3 °C (37 °F). The lowest recorded temperature at Tamworth Airport was −6.6 °C (20.1 °F). On 12 January 2013, Tamworth recorded a new record high of 42.5 °C (108.5 °F), eclipsing the previous record by 0.5 of a degree, however one year later on 3 January 2014 Tamworth broke this record yet again by almost 3 degrees, recording 45.1 °C (113.2 °F). It has since broken this record again, recording 45.9 °C (114.6 °F) on 12 February 2017.
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 practically non-existent in Tamworth itself, but does rarely occur in the surrounding villages such as Nundle. Frosts are not seldom. On 28 and 29 November 2008, Tamworth, Gunnedah and the surrounding area received torrential rain that caused severe flooding and led to the area being declared a natural disaster area.
The estimated urban population of Tamworth at 30 June 2015 was 42,255, having grown, on average, 1.3 percent year-on-year over the preceding five years. Tamworth had a working population of approximately 18,000 in 2008. At the 2011 census the industry sector in Tamworth with the most employees was School Education with almost 6 percent of the workforce.
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 Street at Ray Walsh House. Bicentennial Park and number one cricket oval are also located in the suburb.
Tamworth is primarily a service centre for the New England and North West regions, providing services to a population of some 200,000 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.
Aviation 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 an important centre for flying training activities defence force graduates, but training of civil aviation students has declined dramatically in recent years. The BAE Systems 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 Republic of Singapore Air Force. The Australasian Pacific Aeronautical College and New England Institute of TAFE in the city also provide aeronautical training.
Agriculture is an important industry in the Tamworth economy. An estimated 307,000 hectares (760,000 acres) of land are 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, and specialised game fowl farming, as well as wineries. Offices for the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Natural Resources are located in Tamworth.
Equine and sporting horse events
Tamworth is recognised 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 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 and Barrel Race Super Challenge, and the National Cutting Horse Association Futurity among many other events. These events were hosted at the Tamworth Showgrounds in the suburb of Taminda; however, they are now hosted at the new Australian Equine and Livestock Events Centre as of 2008. The Australian Equine and Livestock Events Centre has been built by the Tamworth Regional Council 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.
Tamworth is the largest and main retail centre for the New England and North West Slopes regions of New South Wales. Retail accounts for 22.5% of the working population and is the largest employer in the city.
Peel Street is the major retail and shopping area of Tamworth and is located in the Tamworth Central Business District. Three blocks of Peel St were refurbished over different stages during the 1990s. There are a few hundred shops in the main street, as well as restaurants, street cafés and banks. These include a large Target (formally Grace Bros.).
There are many shopping centres located in Tamworth, with the majority being located in the Tamworth Central Business District (CBD), but many are also located in various neighbourhood suburbs. Shopping centres include:
Other shopping complexes in Tamworth include Robert St Shopping Centre and the Longyard Homemakers Centre.
Tourism is a significant industry in the Tamworth area, worth over A$110 m annually, with by far the most significant draw being the annual Tamworth Country Music Festival, the biggest event of its type in Australia and the Southern Hemisphere. Other attractions include Tamworth's museums and galleries. Nearby destinations include several country towns, including Barraba, popular for birdwatching, Nundle, and Quirindi.
Country Music Festival
Tamworth is best known for hosting the Country Music Festival. 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. It 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 Tamworth for the festival, with around 70,000 staying for a substantial duration of the festival, with some camping along the banks of the Peel River.
The 10-day festival culminates in the Golden Guitar Awards – the most prestigious award Australian country music artists can win for their music. In honour of its country music, Tamworth is home to the 'Big Golden Guitar', 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 talent Chasing Bailey, whose music style is a mixture of country, rock and other genres.
In the 1990s, Ansair established a bus bodying factory in Tamworth to body Scania and Volvo buses for Brisbane Transport and the State Transit Authority. Jakab Industries also bodied buses as well as ambulances and postal vans between 1973 and 2002.
Tamworth Capitol Theatre
The Tamworth Capitol Theatre is fitted with a 405-seat auditorium with two levels of tiered seating, professional theatre lighting, a full sound system, dressing rooms, an orchestra pit, and fly tower, and is fully air conditioned. It is a multifunctional space for live theatre and cinema productions. It has significantly 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. During the Country Music Festival The Capitol Theatre is host to three independent shows per day.
Tamworth Town Hall
The Tamworth Town Hall, located in the Tamworth Central Business District, is a historical building used for events, conferences and concerts. Additionally, it is commonly used for career expos, antique shows, meetings and conventions. It was built in 1934, has a proscenium stage, a gallery and a seating capacity of 1074 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.
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 (soccer), 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 players 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.
During the Queen's Birthday long weekend in June, Tamworth hosts a Baseball tournament with teams competing from all over NSW and QLD.
Located within the city are an athletic track, Australian football grounds, badminton courts, baseball diamonds, 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 Centre used for equine sports, eleven bowling turfs, a 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 have a 3 x 25 m standard pistol range, 1 x 10m air pistol range, 1 x 100m free and action pistol range; 1 x 50m service pistol range and 1 x 100m rifle range. Soccer fields include six senior fields, 8 junior fields and an indoor standard court. Two international standard softball diamonds and ten competition standard diamonds are available. Squash courts, two olympic swimming pools and one indoor pool, tennis courts (two hardcourts, 17 synthetic courts, 8 clay courts and one indoor synthetic court), 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 are located there.
Many different categories in the Speech and Drama section, such as mimes, poetry,story telling and prose reading are held each year for students of all ages to compete.
The many important parks in the city of 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 Council. Bicentennial Park is characterisd by its stagnant waters and high population of wild ducks. The gardens cover an area of 28 ha (69 acres), 5 ha (12 acres) 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 in Tamworth are listed on the Register of the National Estate:
Tamworth Power Station Museum
Tamworth was the first town in Australia to light its streets by municipally generated electricity in 1888. A larger power station was established in 1923 at a site in Marius Street, East Tamworth due to the high demand of electricity and the main building was demolished in 1982. The Tamworth Power Station Museum's 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 of 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 specialises in Ducati, Triumph, Honda, Velocette and Laverda. The museum holds an example of the limited edition MV Agusta F4 Serie Oro.
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 Council. The family day celebrates National Thanksgiving Day and involves various stalls with free food, drinks, games, and showbags, as well as a drama presentation, music performances, and displays from police, fire brigade and ambulance personnel; 2007 attracted a crowd of a few thousand to the festival in the park.
Tamworth serves as the regional centre for media in the New England District.
Much of the region's history is stored in its original form at the Tamworth Regional Film and Sound Archive – a volunteer organisation hosted by the Tamworth Regional Council. Their database is online.
Tamworth is served by three commercial and two public television services, each having their respective primary and multichannel services across the North West region:
Regional news coverage of the Tamworth area is provided on all three main commercial networks. Canberra-based Prime7 produces and airs a 30-minute local news program for the Tamworth area at 6:00 pm. Newcastle-based NBN Television airs news, sport and weather opt-outs for the area within its hour-long 6:00 pm bulletin, while Southern Cross Ten airs short local news updates throughout the day.
Subscription television services are provided by Austar.
The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) operate and broadcast five radio stations:
Several other radio stations are based in the city, including 2TM, general community station 88.9 FM, Christian community radio station Radio Rhema 89.7 FM, and hit music station FM 92.9.
The community radio stations both broadcast from Bald Hill. FM 92.9 and 2TM are owned by the Broadcast Operations Group, branded as the "Super Radio Network".
The Tamworth Airport has daily flights to Sydney Airport with QantasLink and Virgin Australia and has daily flights to Brisbane Airport. Regional airline Fly Corporate began a regular service between Brisbane and Tamworth on 31 October 2016.
Tamworth station is situated on the Main North railway line. Trains no longer continue all the way to the Queensland border, but the town is still served by the NSW TrainLink Xplorer service between Sydney and Armidale. Until November 2009, Pacific National operated a regular fuel service from Sydney, carrying 30 million litres (6,600,000 imp gal; 7,900,000 US gal) 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.
Tamworth is served by a daily Greyhound Australia service from Brisbane to Sydney.
Local services are provided by Tamworth Buslines., who also provides interurban services to nearby Quirindi (Rt 428), Manila (Rt 443) and Bendemeer (Rt 444)
Tamworth has the following sister cities:
During World War 2, Tamworth was the location of RAAF No.20 Inland Aircraft Fuel Depot (IAFD), completed in 1942 and closed on 14 June 1944. Usually consisting of 4 tanks, 31 fuel depots were built across Australia for the storage and supply of aircraft fuel for the RAAF and the US Army Air Forces at a total cost of £900,000 ($1,800,000).