Tamworth is situated in Northern NSW approx 440 kms north-west of Sydney, Australia.
Tamworth was established in the 1840's as a centre for Sheep, Cattle & Wheat, and achieved further expansion with the discovery of Gold in the Hanging Rock and Nundle areas.
Tamworth - Culture and History
Prior to white settlement the area was occupied by the Kamilaroi people who knew it as 'Calala', thought to mean 'place of battle'.
John Oxley entered the Peel River Valley a little to the north-west of the present townsite in 1818 en route to the coast. He recorded the river crossing in his journal, noting that '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'.
Squatters began to arrive in 1830. However they were removed when the Australian Agricultural Company (AAC) was awarded an enormous grant. The land was selected by Henry Dangar and the first 6000 sheep arrived in 1834. It was allocated in two separate parcels, the larger being Goonoo Goonoo, on the southern bank of the Peel River, which became the company headquarters in 1841.
Tamworth was established as a company station and camp on the Goonoo Goonoo grant. A private village began to develop on the western bank of the Peel River in the late 1830s with a few huts and stores on the eastern bank to cater for teamsters who crossed the river at that point. A lock-up was established and a postmaster employed in 1840.
A survey for a townsite was carried out in 1849 and Tamworth was gazetted in 1850 with a population of 254 recorded the following year when the first school was set up. The town name comes from a town in Staffordshire, England, represented in the British parliament by Robert Peel.
The gold finds at Nundle in 1851 proved a boom to the town. The first newspaper was established in 1859 and, the following year, the first decent bridge over the Peel River was built.
Tamworth became a major coaching station and milling centre in the 1860s. The population increased from about 650 in 1866 to about 3000 in 1876 when it was declared a municipality. In 1878 the railway from Newcastle was extended to West Tamworth.
In 1888 Tamworth became the first town in the Southern Hemisphere to have a municipally-operated electric street lighting, earning it the nickname 'The City of Light'.
In the 1920s Tamworth became the centre of the New England New State Movement which wanted to create a separate state. It 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 which had opened in 1932.
Tamworth was declared a city in 1946 and enjoyed significant growth in the 1960s and 1970s.
The association of the city with country music started in the late 1960s. Local radio station 2TM discovered the scale of the potential country music audience when it began broadcasting its programme 'Hoedown'. Tamworth capitalised on the success by establishing the Country Music Awards in 1973. Now January's Australasian Country Music Festival, which witnesses ten days of entertainment, is the major event on the calendar.