About the area
ABS ERP 2017
Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing
Gunnedah is thought to be named from the Aboriginal word ‘gunithaa’ meaning “orphan” or “place of white stone” or “poor place”.
Location and boundaries
Gunnedah Shire is located in the North West Slopes Region of north-west New South Wales, about 450 kilometres north of the Sydney CBD, and about 650 kilometres south of the Brisbane CBD. Gunnedah Shire is bounded by Narrabri Shire in the north, the Tamworth Regional Council area in the east, Liverpool Plains Shire in the south, and Warrumbungle Shire in the west.
Gunnedah Shire encompasses the localities of Blue Vale, Boggabri (part), Breeza, Caroona (part), Carroll, Curlewis (part), Emerald Hill, Ghoolendaadi, Goolhi (part), Gunnedah, Keepit, Kelvin, Marys Mount, Milroy, Mullaley, Orange Grove, Piallaway (part), Premer (part), Rangari, Spring Ridge (part), Tambar Springs (part), The Pilliga (part), Wean (part), Werris Creek (part) and Willala (part).
Gunnedah Shire is a largely rural area, with most of the population living in the township of Gunnedah and the villages of Breeza, Carroll, Curlewis, Mullaley and Tambar Springs. Rural land is used largely for agriculture, particularly wheat and crop growing, cattle and sheep grazing and pig raising, with some coal mining. Tourism is also an important industry. The Shire encompasses a total land area of about 5,000 square kilometres.
Gunnedah Shire is served by the Kamilaroi Highway, the Oxley Highway, the north western railway line and Gunnedah Airport.
European settlement dates from the 1830s, with land used mainly for grazing. Growth took place during the late 1800s, spurred by coal mining and the opening of the railway line. Significant development occurred from the post-war years, particularly during the 1950s and 1960s, in line with the wool boom. The population increased slightly from the late 1970s, rising from about 12,600 in 1976 to about 13,400 in 1986. The population then declined gradually, falling from about 13,300 in 1991 to about 11,500 in 2006, largely as a result of a decline in mining activity. In more recent years the population increased slightly, rising to nearly 12,200 in 2011.
The original inhabitants of Gunnedah Shire were the Kamilaroi Aboriginal people.