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Armidale, Australia

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Armidale is a university city in northwestern New South Wales, Australia, and is the administrative centre for the New England[?] region. It is located approximately half way between Sydney and Brisbane on the New England Highway, national route 15.

30° 30′ S, 151° 40′ E
Elevation: 1000m AMSL
Pop: 24,000

Table of contents
1 Attractions
2 External Links

Geography & Climate

Armidale is situated on the Northern Tablelands, a plateau atop the Great Dividing Range. To the east are heavily forested steep sandstone gorges[?] dropping down to the eastern coastal plain. To the west are gently undulating pastures and bushland. The area contains a number of areas of outstanding natural beauty and scientific interest, and there are several World Heritage national parks in the area including the New England National Park and the Oxley Wild Rivers National Park. To the west is Mount Yarrowyck[?] Nature Reserve. Armidale's elevation gives it a mild climate, with pleasant warm summers, extended spring and autumn seasons, and a short cold winter. The presence of four distinct seasons, unlike most of the rest of Australia is the reason for the 'New England' moniker, and the autumn colours are a notable feature of the city. The coastal plain can be reached directly at Coffs Harbour via Dorrigo[?] and Bellingen[?] on the Bellinger River[?], a 2 hour drive. Armidale is also the terminus of the Northern Railway, with direct links to Sydney. There is also a modern airport with connections to Sydney and Brisbane, as well as local and regional connections.


Armidale was first settled in 1839, following the earlier exploration of the area by John Oxley[?]. It was named after Armadale on the Isle of Skye in Scotland, but seemingly the city fathers were not good spellers. The Scottish Armadale was the ancestral home of George James McDonald who was the Commissioner for Crown Lands at the time. Oxley recommended the region for grazing, and soon early pioneers set up small farms in the locality. The town itself was established to provide a market and administration for the farms, but soon after gold was discovered at nearby Rocky River and Gara Gorges, and a gold rush ensued, enlarging the town rapidly in the 1850s. The gold mining settlement of Hillgrove, about 10km west of Armidale was the site of Australia's first hydro-electric[?] scheme, remains of which are still visible. The nearby town of Uralla was home to the infamous Thunderbolt - outlaw Fred Ward - who caused trouble in the area in the 1860s. As with Ned Kelly, the locals have adopted him as a larrikin[?] hero and make the most of him as a tourist attraction.

University of New England

The university was founded in 1954, at first as an outpost of Sydney university, but then in its own right. The UNE changed Armidale from a rural market town into a city of great culture and diversity, with a much greater artistic and cultural element than might be expected for a country region. The university has strong links to the rural community, with a lot of agricultural research and learning. However there is also a high-technology presence as well as notable humanities teaching. The university is built around the old country house of Booloominbah, which is now one of the university's restaurants. UNE is one of the city's main employers.

The City

The city is laid out in a grid around the centre. The main street is called Beardy Street, named for two of the founding settlers who wore beards. The court house was built in the 1850s and is still a prominent feature of the central district. Beardy Street is pedestrianised in the centre to form a pleasant outdoor mall with many shops and cafes and leafy outdoor eating and sitting areas. It also features some notable architecture, including the Tattersalls Hotel, built in the Art Deco Moderne style in the 1930s. Much of the rest of the city is residential, with numerous attractive parks. The city is a regional centre for bushwalking, with easy access by road to the various World Heritage National Parks, and there are several outdoor and camping shops in the city. Armidale also hosts a number of very respectable public and private schools, including New England Girls School, The Armidale School and the Presbyterian Ladies College. These attract scholars from all over Australia and internationally.


External Links

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