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About Armidale

Our City

Armidale is situated in the New England High Country and is Australia’s highest city, sitting almost a kilometre above sea-level. The surrounding wilderness along the escarpment of the Great Dividing Range is renowned for its breathtaking natural beauty, with 20 national parks on Armidale’s doorstep, much within in the World Heritage-listed New England and Oxley Wild Rivers National Parks.

Photographers, outdoor adventurers, and those seeking an awe-inspiring view to remember are spoilt for choice – towering gorges, thundering waterfalls, monolithic outcrops, and dense, ancient Gondwana Rainforests are just waiting to be discovered.

Armidale experiences four distinct seasons - foggy, cool autumns, crisp and frosty winters (with occasional snowfalls), fresh, variable springs and warm summers with cool nights and afternoon thunderstorms.

Often referred to as the Cathedral City, Armidale is known for streets ablaze with gold and flaming red foliage in the Autumn months. The city blends impressive heritage architecture with a cosmopolitan character, a vibrant arts scene, and a culturally diverse population. It’s one of our nation's most multicultural cities, with more than 70 nationalities living together within the city limits. Since February 2018, Armidale has also welcomed approximately 600 Ezidi refugees as part of a Humanitarian Settlement Program.

We have a wide variety of dining experiences in Armidale, with fresh and delicious local fare popular with residents and travellers alike. Local mouth-watering options include Thai, Chinese, Japanese, Indian, Italian and Korean cuisine, fine dining for those special celebrations, hearty, high quality pub meals, outstanding woodfired baked goods and many chances to sample locally grown produce.

The Armidale Regional Council area is home to an estimated 29,700 residents and includes the townships and villages of Guyra, Tingha, Ben Lomond, Black Mountain, Ebor, Hillgrove, and Wollomombi. The Council boundary encompasses approximately 8,600 square kilometres and area is and is encircled by the Inverell Shire and Glen Innes Severn Council area to the north, the Clarence Valley Council, Bellingen Shire, Nambucca Shire and Kempsey Shire area to the east, Walcha Council to the south, and Uralla Shire and Gwydir Shire area to the west.

The median age of our population is 34, with 78 per cent of residents born in Australia and the majority claiming Australian, English, Irish, Scottish, or German ancestry.

Our History

The Anaiwan people are the traditional custodians of the Armidale area and for thousands of years before white settlement was a meeting place for Dhunghatti, Kamilaroi and Anaiwan people.

Explorer John Oxley recommended the area for grazing after passing through in 1817 and British pastoralists followed in the early 1830’s. Armidale was officially founded in 1939 by the Commissioner of Crown Lands, George James MacDonald and named it after his ancestral home Armadale, on the Isle of Skye in Scotland.

The township of Armidale was gazetted in the late 1840s, with gold rushes in the 1850s greatly boosting the population. The arrival of the railway line, the Cobb and Co service and mining in the area saw further growth and Armidale was proclaimed a city in 1885.

Home to the University of New England (Australia’s first university outside a capital city), Armidale has a strong focus on education and academic excellence, combined with its’ role as the administrative centre for the Northern Tablelands. The region also boasts rich and fertile agricultural land which is predominantly used for sheep and cattle grazing, wool production, cropping and fruit/vegetable growing.

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