Armidale is a city in the Northern Tablelands, New South Wales, Australia. Armidale had a population of 24,504 as at June 2017. It is the administrative centre for the Northern Tablelands region. It is approximately halfway between Sydney and Brisbane at the junction of the New England Highway and Waterfall Way. Armidale traditional owners are Anaiwan people. Many Gumbaynggirr people have settled in Armidale since colonisation.
New South Wales
Looking across Armidale city, December 2013
|Elevation||980 m (3,215 ft)|
|LGA(s)||Armidale Regional Council|
|State electorate(s)||Northern Tablelands|
|Federal Division(s)||New England|
Armidale is on the banks of Dumaresq Creek, in the Northern Tablelands in the New England region about midway between Sydney and Brisbane at an altitude (980 m AHD) ranging from 970 metres at the valley's floor to 1,110 metres above sea level at the crests of the hills. A short distance to the east of Armidale are heavily forested steep gorges dropping down to the eastern coastal plain. Large parts of the highlands are covered by Palaeozoic aged metamorphosed sedimentary rocks. Intruding into these meta-sediments are granite plutons which decompose to form sandy soil, slightly deficient in nutrients. There are also basalt flows which are more fertile for the soil substrates. Those areas away from the deep gorge country tend to display gently undulating terrain mainly used for pastures and where granites occur the areas are usually covered in bushland.
The area contains a number of places of outstanding natural beauty and scientific interest as well as several World Heritage national parks including the New England National Park and the Oxley Wild Rivers National Park. To the west is Mount Yarrowyck Nature Reserve.
Armidale has a noted problem with air pollution caused by the use of solid fuel domestic wood heaters during the winter months. A peer-reviewed study carried out by the University of New England found winter woodsmoke causes 8.8 additional visits per day to GPs in Armidale for respiratory complaints, i.e., about 750 additional visits per year. Another peer-reviewed study estimated the use of wood heaters in Armidale was responsible for about 11.5 premature deaths per year with estimated annual health cost of $14.95 million – about $4720 per year for every woodheater in the city. A local retired doctor (now Associate Professor at the UNE Medical school) said he is so concerned by the wood smoke situation, he urges people with respiratory problems to leave town.
Armidale has a subtropical highland climate (Köppen climate classification: Cfb) influence. Armidale's elevation gives it a milder climate, but the summers are still very warm. Winters are long and cool, with many frosty nights. Snowfall is rare, on average only one day in every three years.
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. The highest temperature recorded at Armidale Airport was 37.1 °C, recorded in February 2017.
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 fogs have cleared to be followed by a bright sunny day. The year's first frosts usually occur in April, but they are not severe.
Winters are cold; overnight temperatures drop below −5 °C with frost on the ground. 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 Northern Tablelands winter days with westerly winds, bleak grey clouds, and showers of rain and very occasionally snow. Rainfall during the winter months not infrequent but is usually light.
In spring temperatures are warmer, although occasional morning frosts still can continue well into October. September is usually a pleasantly mild but windy month, and by late October with increasing heat and humidity the thunderstorm season is starting with increasing rainfalls. The spring months produce the most variable weather of the year. A week of very warm sunny weather can be followed by several milder days with temperatures right back at winter levels before gradually warming up again. This cycle often repeats itself many times until the start of summer.
Armidale has been prone to severe hailstorms and experienced three such storms over the ten-year period from 1996 to 2006.
On 29 September 1996, hail of up to 80 millimetres (3.1 in) in diameter and southerly winds of up to 150 kilometres per hour (93 mph) 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 A$200 million.
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 city was declared a state of emergency by New South Wales Premier Morris Iemma the following day.
The Armidale railway station is on the Main North railway line and is served by daily passenger trains to and from Sydney. Armidale's airport has five daily scheduled flights to and from Sydney with Qantaslink. Regional airline Fly Corporate operates a scheduled air service with flights to and from Brisbane. 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 NSW TrainLink. Other bus companies such as Greyhound also provide numerous daily services. Local city services are provided on six different routes by Edwards Coaches and Armidale is serviced by 16 taxis.
Although the hills to the north and the south can be a challenge, cycling is an option to get around Armidale. A cycleway exists from the University of New England through the city to the residential areas on the eastern side of city. This cycleway snakes back towards Ben Venue School. The passage through the city provides easy access for cyclists to the shopping centres. Bicycle racks are in strategic locations around the city centre, including at The Armidale Food Emporium, 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 city's southern residential areas allows cyclists to safely ride on the roads. There are also separate cycleways 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).
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 by George James MacDonald. MacDonald was the Commissioner of Crown Lands and head of the local Border Police detachment in the New England district from 1839 to 1848.
Oxley recommended the region for grazing, and soon early pioneers set up small farms in the locality. The James Barnet-designed heritage-listed Armidale Post Office opened on 1 April 1843. 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 supplied by electricity from Australia's first hydro-electric scheme, the Gara River Hydro-Electric Scheme, remains of which are still visible on the Gara River below the Blue Hole at Castle Doyle. The nearby town of Uralla holds the grave of 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.
Armidale has a number of heritage-listed sites, including:
According to the 2016 census, there were 26,552 people in the Armidale significant urban area.
Armidale 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 dedicated on 12 December 1919.
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. 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 city. 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.
The city is home to a large number of education facilities, including the Armidale Waldorf School (1985), 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 College (1975) and St Mary's Primary School are systemic Catholic schools. Duval High School (1972) and Armidale High School (1911) are government-funded secondary schools. Approximately 27% of Armidale's total population is in the 10–24 year age group, compared with an equivalent NSW figure of 18%.
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 vibrant artistic and cultural element. 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 five-year Bachelor of Medical Science and Doctor of Medicine program as part of a joint medical program with the University of Newcastle. The university is built around the historic mansion Booloominbah, which is now used for administration and houses a restaurant. UNE is one of the city's main employers.
Armidale is a major regional retail centre, housing three shopping malls:
Armidale has a pedestrian mall which stretches over three blocks of Beardy Street in the centre of city. 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.
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 city 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 one local newspaper, many radio stations including four local outlets, and all major television stations.
The following notable people were either born in, currently live in or previously resided in Armidale
The Anglican Diocese of Armidale is a diocese of the Anglican Church of Australia located in the state of New South Wales. The diocese was created in 1914 as a result of a division of the previous Diocese of Grafton and Armidale which was created by letters patent in 1863.
Once relatively Anglo-Catholic in its liturgical and theological leanings, since the mid-20th century the diocese has leant more towards the Diocese of Sydney and its particular form of Evangelical teaching and liturgy. The diocese is theologically conservative and holds to the traditional Anglican beliefs on human sexuality, disapproving same-sex unions.The diocese includes the regional cities of Tamworth and Armidale and the towns of Glen Innes, Tenterfield, Inverell, Moree, Gunnedah and Narrabri.
Rick Lewers has been the Bishop of Armidale since May 2012.Armidale Airport
Armidale Airport (IATA: ARM, ICAO: YARM) is an airport serving Armidale, a city in the Australian state of New South Wales. It is located 2 nautical miles (3.7 km; 2.3 mi) southwest of the town centre, on the New England Highway. The airport is operated by Armidale Regional Council.Armidale High School
Armidale High School was a government-funded co-educaitonal comprehensive secondary day school, located in Armidale, a university city in the New England region of northern New South Wales, Australia. Established in 1920, the school merged with Duval High School in December 2018 to allow for the newly-established Armidale Secondary College.
The school had a non-selective enrolment policy and at the time of closure catered to approximately 715 students from Year 7 to Year 12. The school was operated by the New South Wales Department of Education, and prepared students for the Record of School Achievement (Year 10), and the NSW Higher School Certificate (Year 12).Bishop of Grafton and Armidale
The former Diocese of Grafton and Armidale was an Anglican diocese in Australia, created out of the Diocese of Newcastle by Letters Patent in 1863. In all it had four bishops before being split into the Anglican Diocese of Grafton and the Anglican Diocese of Armidale in 1914.David Drummond (politician)
David Henry Drummond (11 February 1890–13 June 1965) was an Australian politician and farmer.
Drummond was born in Lewisham, Sydney and was educated at public schools and at The Scots College, but was forced by financial problems to seek work. In 1902, he became a ward of the state. He moved to Armidale in 1907 as a farm-hand and in 1913 he married Pearl Hilda Victoria Goode, daughter of a grazier in Uralla.Davis Hughes
Sir William Davis Hughes (24 November 1910 – 16 March 2003) was an Australian politician and bureaucrat.Duval High School
Duval High School is a government-funded co-educaitonal bi-modal partially academically selective and comprehensive secondary day school, located in Armidale, New South Wales, Australia. Founded in 1974, the school caters to approximately 683 students from Year 7 to Year 12. The school's motto is Learning to Live.
In 2018 it was announced that Duval High would merge with Armidale High School to form the newly-established Armidale Secondary College that will cater for approximately 1,500 students from Year 7 to Year 12. The installation of a temporary additional school at Duval High School started, in readiness for students during the transition period from January 2019. Construction of Armidale Secondary College commenced in 2019 and continue in 2020. It is expected that Armidale Secondary College will commence in Term 1, 2021.Electoral district of Armidale
Armidale was an electoral district of the Legislative Assembly in the Australian state of New South Wales, originally created in 1894, partly replacing New England, and named after and including Armidale. In 1920, with the introduction of proportional representation, it was absorbed into Northern Tablelands, along with Gough and Tenterfield. It was recreated in 1927 and abolished in 1981 and partly replaced by the recreated Northern Tablelands.Frank Roberts (boxer)
Francis Roy "Frank" Roberts (5 March 1945 – 7 February 2011) was an Indigenous Australian boxer who competed at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics in the welterweight division. 'Honest Frank', as he was known, was the first Indigenous Australian Olympian, and was also the youngest boxer on the Australian boxing team. He resided in Armidale, New South Wales, and gave boxing lessons to local youths, until his death from a heart attack in February 2011.Georgina Morgan
Georgina Morgan (born 15 May 1993) is an Australian field hockey player.She represented her country at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.Joe Roff
Joe Roff (born 20 September 1975) is a retired Australian rugby union footballer and a product of the Tuggeranong Vikings Rugby Union Club in Canberra, who played on the wing or at fullback for ACT Brumbies and Australia and played 5 tests as a centre in the early part of his Test career. He also had a spell at the French club Biarritz and in 2005-6 at Kubota Spears in Japan's Top League Of his 86 caps, 62 were won in consecutive games from 1996 to 2001. His final game saw him captain Oxford against Cambridge in the 2007 Varsity Match.Judith Wright
Judith Arundell Wright (31 May 1915 – 25 June 2000) was an Australian poet, environmentalist and campaigner for Aboriginal land rights. She was a recipient of the Christopher Brennan Award.Kate Bell (Australian actress)
Kate Bell (born 12 November 1983) is an Australian actress.Margaret Vyner
Margaret Leila Vyner (3 December 1914 in Armidale, New South Wales – 30 October 1993 in Reading, England) was an Australian-born model and actress who appeared in British films. She collaborated with husband Hugh Williams on a number of successful theatre projects in the 1950s and 60s.O'Connor Catholic College
O'Connor Catholic College (formerly O'Connor Catholic High School) is an independent Roman Catholic co-educational secondary day school, located in Armidale, New South Wales, Australia.
O’Connor Catholic College is a systemic secondary school in the Diocese of Armidale. It began in 1975 with the amalgamation of two of Armidale’s longest established schools - St Ursula’s College (est. 1882) and De La Salle College (est. 1906). The school occupies the site of the former De La Salle College.
The College takes its name from Bishop O’Connor, Bishop of Armidale from 1904 - 1930 who contributed greatly to Catholic education in the Diocese during that time.
O’Connor has as its motto the quote from St Paul’s Letter to the Galatians, The Fruit of the Spirit is Love.Presbyterian Ladies' College, Armidale
The Presbyterian Ladies' College, Armidale (PLC Armidale) is an independent, Presbyterian, day and boarding school for girls. The school is located in Armidale, a large rural town with a population of 28,000 in the New England region of New South Wales, Australia.
PLC Armidale currently caters for approximately 400 students from Kindergarten to Year 12, including 80 boarders in Years 5 to 12. Enrolment at PLC Armidale is non-selective, and students from all races and religious affiliations are welcome. The college is affiliated with the Association of independent schools of New South Wales (AIS NSW), the Junior School Heads Association of Australia (JSHAA) the Association of Heads of independent schools of Australia (AHISA), the Australian Boarding Schools' Association (ABSA), and is an affiliate member of the Association of Heads of Independent Girls' Schools (AHIGS).In 2006, PLC was named the top performing Higher School Certificate school in the New England region of New South Wales. Overall PLC Armidale ranked 114th in the State.Selby Munsie
Selby Walter Munsie (23 September 1870 – 12 March 1938) was an Australian politician who was a Labor Party member of the Legislative Assembly of Western Australia from 1911 until his death, representing the seat of Hannans. He served as a minister in the governments of Philip Collier and John Willcock.
Munsie was born near Armidale, New South Wales, to Anna Maria (née Richardson) and Alexander Welch Munsie. He was educated in Newcastle, and later worked for a period in the timber trade at nearby Wallsend. Munsie came to Western Australia in 1895 to work on the goldfields, living first at Paddington and later in Kalgoorlie. He eventually became president of the Federated Miners' Union (a forerunner of the national CFMEU). At the 1911 state election, Munsie was elected to parliament, replacing the retiring Francis Ware as the member for the seat of Hannans. After Labor's victory at the 1924 election, he was appointed a minister without portfolio in the new ministry formed by Philip Collier. He was given a substantive position after the 1927 election, replacing Frank Troy as Minister for Mines and John Drew as Minister for Health. Labor were defeated at the 1930 election, but were only out of office for a short period, returning in a landslide at the 1933 election. Munsie regained his old portfolios, and retained them when John Willcock replaced Philip Collier as premier in 1936. He died in Perth in March 1938, after an illness of about two months, and was granted a state funeral.Tom Morey (politician)
Thomas Irving "Tom" Morey (6 February 1906 – 11 December 1980) was an Australian politician, elected from 1962 to 1965 as a member of the New South Wales Legislative Assembly, for the electoral district of Bligh. He was a member of the Labor Party.University of New England (Australia)
The University of New England (UNE) is a public university in Australia with approximately 22,500 higher education students. Its original and main campus is located in the city of Armidale in northern central New South Wales. UNE was the first Australian university established outside a state capital city.Each year, the University offers students more than $5 million in scholarships, prizes, and bursaries and more than $18 million for staff and students involved in research.
|Climate data for Armidale Airport|
|Record high °C (°F)||37.0
|Average high °C (°F)||26.1
|Average low °C (°F)||13.4
|Record low °C (°F)||4.5
|Average rainfall mm (inches)||91.0
|Average rainy days (≥ 0.2mm)||11.7||12.5||11.9||11.3||11.9||15.0||12.6||9.8||10.0||10.8||12.8||13.3||143.6|
|Source: Bureau of Meteorology|
|Climate data for Armidale|
|Record high °C (°F)||37.1
|Average high °C (°F)||26.9
|Average low °C (°F)||12.8
|Record low °C (°F)||2.6
|Average rainfall mm (inches)||86.9
|Average rainy days (≥ 0.2mm)||11.0||11.3||10.3||8.5||7.6||10.9||9.3||8.1||8.0||9.8||11.9||11.6||118.3|
|Source: Bureau of Meteorology|
|Other towns and villages|
|Local government areas|
|Townships and villages|
|National parks and|
other conservation areas
|Ranges and mountains|
|Australian Capital Territory|
Canberra (national capital)
|New South Wales|