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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

New South Wales
Armidale overview.jpg
Looking south across Armidale City
Armidale is located in New South Wales
Population: 19,485 [1]
Established: 1849
Postcode: 2350
Coordinates: 30°30′54″S 151°39′54″E / 30.515°S 151.665°E / -30.515; 151.665[2]Coordinates: 30°30′54″S 151°39′54″E / 30.515°S 151.665°E / -30.515; 151.665[2]
Elevation: 980 m (3,215 ft)
Property Value: AUD $253,500 (2007)
LGA: Armidale Dumaresq Council
County: Sandon
State District: Northern Tablelands
Federal Division: New England
Mean Max Temp Mean Min Temp Annual Rainfall
19.6 °C
67 °F
7.3 °C
45 °F
816.5 mm
32.1 in

Armidale (population 19,485[1]) is a university and cathedral city in northern New South Wales, Australia, in Armidale Dumaresq Council. It is the administrative centre for the Northern Tablelands region. It is located approximately half way between Sydney and Brisbane at the junction of the New England Highway, national route 15, and Waterfall Way.


Geography and climate

Armidale is located on the New England Tablelands in northern New South Wales about midway between Sydney and Brisbane at an altitude (980 m AHD)[3] ranging from 970 metres at the floor of the valley to 1,110 metres above sea level at the crests of the hills. To the east are heavily forested steep basalt gorges dropping down to the eastern coastal plain. Some parts of the highlands are composed of granite and decomposed granite soil, which is slightly deficient in nutrients. There are also basalt intrusions which are more fertile than the granite country. 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.

The coastal plain can be reached directly at Coffs Harbour via Waterfall Way to Dorrigo and Bellingen on the Bellinger River, a two hour drive.

It has a cool temperate climate with the majority of rain falling in the summer months. Armidale's elevation gives it a mild climate, with pleasant warm summers, extended spring and autumn seasons, and a short cold winter with some frosty nights. Snow falls on an average of three to four days a year.

Armidale has a noted problem with air pollution caused by the use of solid fuel domestic wood heaters during the winter months.[4]


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. Summers are characterised by warm to very warm days followed almost always by cool, sometimes cold, nights. Thunderstorms often produce heavy falls of rain and occasionally hail in the afternoons and early evenings, also bringing a sudden drop in temperature. Unlike nearby coastal areas, Armidale does not usually experience high humidity levels making most of the summer days quite comfortable. Temperatures exceed 30 °C on average of 13 days per year, but rarely reach higher than 35 °C.

As the leaves turn yellow and fall, day temperatures are mostly still warm, particularly in March and April. Days are sunny, the thunderstorm season is over, and rain becomes more sporadic. Nights become colder, and residents often awake to a thick fog blanketing the Armidale valley, but by 9 am the fog has cleared to be followed by a bright sunny day. The first frosts of the year usually occur in April, but are not particularly severe.

Winters are cold; overnight temperatures often drop below −5 °C with a thick white frost on the ground, and occasionally as low as −10 °C. These cold frosty mornings are usually followed by sunny days. Day temperatures may make it as high as 16 °C, but sometimes may not climb beyond 10 °C. These are typical New England winter days with biting westerly winds, bleak grey clouds, and showers of rain and occasionally snow. Rainfalls during the winter months are usually light.

In spring temperatures are milder, although early morning frosts still continue well into October. September is usually a cool windy month, and by late October the thunderstorm season is starting with increasing rainfalls. The spring months produce the most variable weather of the year. A week of warm sunny weather can be followed by several cold days with temperatures right back at winter levels before gradually warming up again. This cycle often repeats itself many times right through until the start of summer.


21 December 2006 hailstorm.

Armidale has been prone to severe hailstorms and has experienced three such storms over a period of 10 years.

On 29 September 1996, hail of up to 80 mm in diameter and southerly winds of up to 150 km/h were reported at the airport weather station. The area was declared a disaster zone and State Emergency Service crews were brought in from across the state. Damage was estimated to be in excess of AU$200 million.[5]

On 1 January 2000, many homes were damaged by extreme weather conditions which brought large hail stones, strong winds and flash flooding.[6]

On 21 December 2006, hail stones, high winds and flash flooding damaged more than 1,000 homes and destroyed the Armidale Livestock Exhibition Centre which collapsed entirely under the weight of accumulated hail. The town was declared a state of emergency by New South Wales Premier Morris Iemma the following day.[7][8]


Climate data for Armidale Airport
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 26.0
Average low °C (°F) 13.0
Source: Bureau of Meteorology[9]


Armidale railway station is located on the Main North railway line and is served by daily passenger trains to and from Sydney. Armidale consists of its own modern airport with five daily scheduled flights to and from Sydney with Qantaslink. Armidale Airport, at 1,084 metres (3,556 ft), is the highest licensed airport in New South Wales. The city is linked further north by daily coach to Tenterfield provided by Countrylink. Other bus companies such as Greyhound also provide the city with numerous daily services.Local town services are provided on six different routes by Edwards Coaches and Armidale is serviced by 16 taxis.[citation needed]

Although the hills to the north and the south can be a challenge for some, cycling is an option to get around Armidale. A cycleway exists from the University of New England, through town, to the residential areas on the eastern side of town. This cycleway snakes back towards Ben Venue School. The passage through town provides easy access for cyclists to the shopping centres. Bicycle racks can be found in strategic locations around the city centre, including at Coles supermarket, The Armidale Plaza, and Centro Armidale. Places are also provided outside the Armidale Dumeresq War Memorial Library, and at either end of the Mall. A maze of marked cycleways on the shoulder of the roads in the southern residential areas of the town give cyclists a safe option for riding on the roads in that part of town. Separate cycleways also exist from the Armidale Arboretum along Kellys Plains Road to the south and from the north of the city along Rockvale Road to the Armidale State forest (known as the Pine Forest by locals).


The Catholic Cathedral of St Mary and St Joseph, Armidale

Before the British colonial settlement of New South Wales, the Aniwan (Anaiwan) people occupied the area that encompasses current day Armidale.

Armidale was first settled in the early 1830s, 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 in the late 1830s. (This is not to be confused with Armadale, West Lothian, near Edinburgh.)

Oxley recommended the region for grazing, and soon early pioneers set up small farms in the locality. The town, which was surveyed in 1848 and gazetted in 1849, 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 40 km east 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 famous Captain 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.

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh visited Armidale in 1970.

City of Armidale

St Peter's Cathedral, Armidale
The Armidale Courthouse

Armidale was proclaimed a city in 1885. It is a cathedral city being the seat of the Anglican and Roman Catholic bishops of Armidale. St Peter's Anglican Cathedral, which replaced the original St Peter's Church, was designed by the Canadian architect, John Horbury Hunt who also designed Booloominbah at the University of New England. St Peter's Cathedral opened for worship in 1875 and the tower was added in 1938. The Catholic Cathedral of St Mary and St Joseph was consecrated in 1912.

The city centre is laid out in a grid of streets. The main street is called Beardy Street, named for two of the founding settlers who had beards.[10] The court house was built in the 1850s and is still a prominent feature of the central district. Much of the rest of the city is residential.

The Australian Wool Fashion Awards, which showcases the use of Merino wool by fashion designers, are hosted by Armidale in March each year. The Autumn Festival is a popular annual event of April in Armidale. The festival features a street parade, stalls and celebrations throughout the township. It is a regular part of the city's attractions, often promoting Armidale's diverse culture (for instance, posters set up by council attempt to attract tourists with the motto "Foodies Thrive In Armidale") and autumn colours. During May the annual New England Wool Expo is staged to display wool fashions, handicrafts, demonstrations, shearing competitions, yard dog trials and demonstrations, a wool bale rolling competition and other activities.


  • Ben Venue
  • Duval
  • North Hill
  • Commissioners Waters
  • West Armidale
  • Madgwick
  • East Armidale
  • Newling
  • Acacia Park
  • South Hill
  • Soudan Heights
  • Bona Vista
  • St. Patrick's
  • Dumaresq

Sister cities


P.L.C Armidale, 1947

The city is home to a large number of education facilities, including the Armidale Waldorf School (1985),[11] New England Girls' School (1895), The Armidale School (1894), and the Presbyterian Ladies' College, Armidale (PLC Armidale) (1887), schools of the Australian independent education sector. O'Connor Catholic High School (1974) and St Mary's Primary School are systemic Catholic schools. Duval High School (1972) and Armidale High School (1911) are government-funded secondary schools. Almost 30% of Armidale's total population is in the 10-24 year age group, compared with an equivalent NSW figure of only 19.4% (2001 Census).

University of New England

Main article: University of New England

Booloominbah Southern Elevation.jpg UNE Graduate Walk.jpg UNE Arcade Area.jpg UNE Dixson Library.jpg
Booloominbah Central Courtyard Top Courtyard Dixson Library

The university was founded in 1938, at first as a college of the University of Sydney, but then in its own right in 1954. The UNE contributes to Armidale's position as a city of culture and diversity, with a much larger artistic and cultural element than might be expected for a country region. The university has strong links to the rural community, and undertakes a lot of agricultural research. There is also a high-technology presence, as well as notable humanities teaching. UNE hosts a wide range of courses, and introduced a number of new courses in 2008, including a Bachelor of Medicine as part of a joint medical program with the University of Newcastle.[12] The university is built around the old mansion of Booloominbah, which is now used for administration and houses a restaurant. UNE is one of the city's main employers.


Centro shopping complex, Armidale.

Armidale is a major regional retail centre, housing three shopping malls:

  • Centro Armidale, a AU$49 million development[13][14] anchored by a Woolworths, Big W and 32 speciality stores[15][16]. Centro began trading in late November 2007.
  • Armidale Plaza, a AU$70 million venture[13], officially opened an extension, refurbishment and rebranding (formerly Kmart Plaza) in August 2007. Armidale Plaza is anchored by Bi-Lo, Kmart, Target Country and 50 specialty stores.
  • The East Mall was constructed in 2002 and houses Coles Supermarket and 15 speciality stores.

The Mall

The Armidale Mall

Armidale has a pedestrian mall, similar to that of Brisbane's Queen Street Mall or Sydney's Pitt Street Mall, which stretches over three blocks of Beardy Street in the centre of town. It features many shops and cafés with outdoor eating areas along with some notable architecture, including Tattersalls Hotel, built in the Art Deco style during the 1930s; Armidale Courthouse; the city's main Post Office; the former Commonwealth Bank and the New England Hotel. The mall was opened in 1973 and was the first of its kind in regional Australia[17].

Armidale Dumaresq Council has been undertaking major upgrades to the mall since 2003 as part of the Armidale CBD Streetscape Design Project which aims at easing traffic in the town centre by creating an emphasis on the "ring road" around the CBD with the assistance of signage, elevation of roads using paving and the creation of one-way streets.


The city is serviced by three local newspapers, many radio stations including four local outlets, and all major television stations.[18]

Local press

  • Armidale Express
  • Armidale Express Extra
  • Armidale Independent

Local radio

  • TUNE! FM, one of Australia's oldest community radio stations aimed at a youth audience.
  • 2AD/100.3 FM, a commercial broadcaster owned by the SuperNetwork.
  • 2ARM, a community radio station which is operating on a Temporary Community Broadcasting Licence.
  • 88.0 is a narrowcast tourist radio station.
  • 87.6 - RAW FM, a dance music narrowcaster aimed at a youth audience.

National radio


Notable people from Armidale


  1. ^ a b Australian Bureau of Statistics (25 October 2007). "Armidale (Urban Centre/Locality)". 2006 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 2008-11-06. 
  2. ^ "Armidale". Gazetteer of Australia online. Geoscience Australia, Australian Government.  Retrieved 21 December 2009.
  3. ^ SMH Armidale - Fast Facts Retrieved on 11-2-2009
  4. ^ Armidale Air Quality Group
  5. ^ "The Big Armidale Hailstorm: Sunday 29th September 1996". Storm News and Chasing. Retrieved 2007-06-11. 
  6. ^ "Severe Hailstorm at Armidale: Saturday 1st January 2000". Storm News and Chasing. Retrieved 2007-06-11. 
  7. ^ "State of emergency declared in Armidale", ABC News, 22 December 2006.
  8. ^ "Emergency declared in wake of massive hailstorm". Sydney Morning Herald. 22 December 2006. 
  9. ^ "Climate statistics for Australian locations". Bureau of Meteorology. Retrieved 22 November 2009. 
  10. ^ Sydney Morning Herald online travel section
  11. ^ Waldorf School
  12. ^ University of New England
  13. ^ a b "Shopping centres on track for 2007 opening". The Armidale Express. 19 July 2006. 
  14. ^ "Development Overview - Centro Properties Group". 31 December 2007. 
  15. ^ "Centro Armidale nears construction phase". The Armidale Express. 10 May 2006. 
  16. ^ "Read all about your new Centro shopping centre in My Life magazine". Retrieved 2008-07-14. 
  17. ^ "Armidale CBD Master Plan Report" (PDF). 
  18. ^ Tamworth TV Guide
  19. ^
  20. ^ Peter Allen's Armidale Australian Broadcasting Corporation

External links

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Wollomombi Falls and Chandler Falls
Wollomombi Falls and Chandler Falls

Armidale is a small city (population 21,300) in the New England region of the Australian state of New South Wales. The picturesque city is noted for its colonial-era architecture, centres of education and culture and the nearby wilderness and gorge country.


Armidale is a place of four seasons. The winters are very cold, with snow sometimes falling in the winter months and extremely low overnight temperatures. The old English-style gardens in the area blossom in Spring, as the firs, willows and oaks in town and in the University of New England [1] grounds sprout new leaves. In Autumn, the town celebrates the changing colours of the trees with an Autumn Festival, which includes a street parade down the main boulevards. But it is summer that is arguably the best time to visit Armidale. Due to its altitude, the town is rarely humid, and even days where the temperature reaches 35°C are tolerable.

  • Armidale Visitor Information Centre, 82 Marsh Street Armidale (next to Hungry Jacks Restaurant), 1800 627 736 (02 6772 4655) (, fax: 02 6771 4486). 7 days from 9-00AM to 5-00PM.  edit

Get in

By car

Armidale is one of the main centres located on the New England Highway, an inland route that links the Hunter Valley and Sydney to Brisbane.

Driving distances/times
Destination Distance (km) Time (h:m)
Tamworth 109 1:15
Newcastle 396 5:30
Sydney 530 7:15
Brisbane 465 6:00

Armidale is 485 km from Sydney via the scenic Thunderbolts Way through Gloucester and Walcha.

Armidale is also located at the start of the Waterfall Way to Raleigh, near Coffs Harbour on the coast. This scenic route passes through the gorge country as the tablelands drop to the coastal region. Located along the way are three national parks, which are listed as World Heritage Areas by UNESCO and form part of the Central Eastern Rainforest Reserves (CERRA). Dorrigo National Park encompasses the waterfalls that give the route its name. Driving time to the coast is 2½ hours.

By plane

Armidale has regular scheduled air services to Sydney Qantaslink [2] 1 hour, from $100.

By train

Daily Countrylink Xplorer [3] services connect Armidale with Tamworth, the Hunter Valley and Sydney (9 hours, $85).

There are discounts when tickets are booked early. When booked 14 days before departure almost 50% discount can be obtained. ISIC card holders are given 50% discount on all Countrylink trains.

Get around

The historic centre of Armidale is small enough to be easily covered on foot. However, some attractions (the University and the New England Regional Art Museum) are on the outskirts of town, making access difficult for the less-mobile traveller.

A bus service (Edwards) does run frequently between the town centre and the University, but the best way to explore the town and surrounding countryside is by car. Car hire is available on arrival at the airport. Taxi services are also widely available.

Getting between the town and the university is an easy cycle, with bicycle lanes on the roads, and quiet traffic.

  • Stroll in Armidale's many parks and gardens.
  • Visit the area's historic churches.
  • Visit the New England Regional Art Museum [4], home to the Howard Hinton [5] collection.
  • Catch a movie at the Belgrave twin cinemas [6].
  • Feed the deer and kangaroos at the enclosure at the University.
  • Swim at the heated outdoor pool on Dumaresq Street from October to March.
  • Work out at the excellent sporting facilities at the University of New England [7].
  • Blow the froth off a couple of coldies at the New England Hotel


The New England Institute of TAFE [8], Beardy St., Armidale. Phone:(02) 6773 7700. A major campus specialising in agriculture, childcare, information technology and tertiary preparation for university entry. Also offers courses in music, biological science, multimedia, massage therapy, ecotourism, film industry (screen), tourism and hospitality, automotive, carpentry and joinery, and engineering.

The University of New England [9] (UNE) is Australia's oldest regional university. The university has four faculties: Arts; Economics, Business and Law; Education, Health and Professional Studies; and The Sciences. UNE is also well known for its external teaching programmes.


The Armidale Ex-Services, 137 Dumaresq Street ARMIDALE NSW 235; Phone: 02 6772 1366. [10] Trading Hours: Monday to Thursday 10.00AM - 11.00PM; Friday & Saturday 10.00AM - 12 midnight; Sunday 10.00AM - 10.00PM. This club has a reasonably-priced range of meals and drinks.

There are also many nice cafes in the Mall.


Armidale perhaps enjoys a livelier nightlife than many towns of its size, due to the university student population. It has a selection of nearly 10 pubs to choose from. Each one has a nickname with the locals and students, and knowing the name on the door of the pub won't help you in conversation. Moving between two or three pubs in a night is not uncommon, and running into the same people at another pub later on happens.

Try the New England Hotel in the centre of town, right on the main mall.


The price of accommodation in Armidale can just about double during the university graduation periods. If you are not attending a graduation, then try and avoid these periods, for availability and cost reasons.

  • Acacia Motor Inn, 192 Miller Street, [11].  edit
  • Armidale YHA Hostel, 39 Waterfall Way, Armidale, 02 6772 6470. Beds from $25.  edit
  • Free computer and internet usage is available at the Armidale Library, Faulkner St, during opening hours. phone: (02) 6770 3636.
  • There are places in the surrounding district where mobile (cell) phones (including Next G country models) will not operate.
  • Take a spectacular Fleet Helicopters [12] flight over the wild rivers of the Oxley Wild Rivers National Park and the New England National Park with their rugged surrounds.
  • Take a drive east along the top NSW tourist drive: Waterfall Way to the old gold mining towns of Hillgrove and Metz.
  • See Wollomombi Falls (the highest in NSW) in the World Heritage-listed Oxley Wild Rivers National Park and the also World Heritage-listed New England National Park, both along Waterfall Way.
  • West Kunderang Recreational Retreat, Biston Park, Jeogla, NSW, (02) 6778 1264. A private working cattle property on the banks of the Macleay River that is completely surrounded by the Oxley Wild Rivers National Park. Offers bushwalking, canoeing, fishing, horse riding and four wheel driving within the property.  edit

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

ARMIDALE, a town in Sandon county, New South Wales, Australia, 313 M. by rail N. of Sydney. Pop. (1901) 4249. It lies at an elevation of 3313 ft., in a picturesque mountainous district, for the most part pastoral and agricultural, though it contains some alluvial gold diggings. Antimony is found in large quantities near the town. Armidale is a cathedral town, being the seat of a Roman Catholic bishop and belonging to the joint Anglican diocese of Grafton; Armidale St Peter's, the Anglican cathedral, and St Mary's, the Roman Catholic, are both fine buildings. The town is the centre of great educational activity, its schools including the New England girls' school, St Patrick's college, the high school, the Ursuline convent and state schools. Armidale became a municipality in 1863.

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