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History & Heritage

The Aboriginal peoples of the New England region, the Anaiwan, were not observed by Europeans until some thirty years after the establishment of the Port Jackson settlement, which we now know as Sydney.

In 1818 Surveyor General John Oxley and his party of sixteen men and eighteen horses, set out to examine the course of the Macquarie River in a six month expedition that took them via Bathurst almost to the Warrumbungle Ranges and then east to the coast at Port Macquarie. On September 7, they reached the Moonbi Range, which limits the New England Tablelands on the south-west, passing to the south of what is now the Uralla Local Government Area (LGA) and to the south of Walcha as they did so.

Oxley reported the discovery of rich pasture lands beyond the mountain barrier. The upland country was described as ‘well clothed with grass’ with ‘a great number of fallen trees’ which were accounted for by the Aboriginal people’s practice of firing trees.

Allan Cunningham, in 1827, also skirted the Uralla LGA, travelling to the west of the New England Tablelands through ‘lightly-timbered, at times very open country,’ with ‘patches of plain, drought-stricken but well grassed.’

These expeditions were the harbinger of squatters who followed with their flocks and herds, encouraged by the reports of the country and its suitability for grazing.

The early European exploration of the Uralla LGA was conducted, not by these notable official expeditions but on an ad-hoc basis as pastoralists ordered their servants and stock into the area.

The name "Uralla" was taken by European settlers from the dialect of the Anaiwan people, and means "meeting place". Appropriately named, Uralla is located 501km north of Sydney and 485km south of Brisbane at the meeting of the New England Highway and Thunderbolts Way.

The Uralla community is proud of its history and heritage and the information contained on this website is only a snippet of what can be found for those who have the time to delve into it and wish to spend more time exploring our wonderful district.