Armidale, New South Wales


Armidale, New South Wales

Infobox Australian Place | type = city
name = Armidale
state = New South Wales



caption = Looking south across Armidale City
lga = Armidale Dumaresq Council
county = Sandon
postcode = 2350
est = 1849
pop = 24,660
area =
propval = [http://www.domain.com.au/public/suburbprofile.aspx?mode=%20$257,000&searchterm=armidale#mapanchor $253,500] (2007)
elevation= 1000
maxtemp = 19.6
mintemp = 7.3
rainfall = 816.5
stategov = Northern Tablelands
fedgov = New England
dist1 = 105
location1= Tamworth
dist2 = 485
location2= Sydney
dist3 =
location3=

Armidale (population 21,660) 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 the seat of The University of New England. It is located approximately half way between Sydney and Brisbane at the junction of the New England Highway, national route 15, and Waterfall Way. It is 1000 m AHD, with coordinates of coord|30|30|S|151|40|E|.

Geography and climate

Armidale is located on the New England Plateau in northern New South Wales about midway between Sydney and Brisbane at an altitude ranging from 970 metres at the floor of the valley to 1110 metres above sea level at the crests of the hills. It has a cool temperate climate with the majority of rain falling in the summer months.

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.

Armidale's elevation gives it a mild climate, with pleasant warm summers, extended spring and autumn seasons, and a short cold winter. Snow falls on an average of 3-6 days a year. 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.

The coastal plain can be reached directly at Coffs Harbour via Dorrigo and Bellingen on the Bellinger River, a 2-hour drive.

Armidale has a noted problem with air pollution caused by the use of solid fuel domestic wood heaters during the winter months. [ [http://www.3sc.net/airqual/index.html#News Armidale Air Quality Group] ]

easons

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 to provide relief after a hot summer's day. Unlike nearby coastal areas, Armidale does not usually experience high humidity levels making most of the summer days quite comfortable. Temperatures exceed 30 degrees on average of 13 days per year, but rarely reach higher than 35 degrees.

The autumn season is described by many as the best time of year in Armidale. 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 9am 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 and bracing. Overnight temperatures often drop below minus 5 degrees with a thick white frost on the ground, and occasionally as low as minus 10 degrees. These cold frosty mornings are usually followed by sunny days, but beware of the wind. Day temperatures may make it as high as 16 degrees, but sometimes may not climb beyond 10 degrees. These are the true 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.

Hailstorms

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. [cite web |url=http://australiasevereweather.com/storm_news/1996/docs/9609-04.htm |title=The Big Armidale Hailstorm: Sunday 29th September 1996 |accessdate=2007-06-11 |work=Storm News and Chasing ]

On 1 January 2000, many homes were damaged by extreme weather conditions which brought large hail stones, strong winds and flash flooding. [cite web |url=http://australiasevereweather.com/storm_news/2000/docs/0001-02.htm|title=Severe Hailstorm at Armidale: Saturday 1st January 2000 |accessdate=2007-06-11 |work=Storm News and Chasing ]

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. [ [http://www.abc.net.au/news/items/200612/1817256.htm?newengland "State of emergency declared in Armidale"] , ABC News, 22 December 2006.] [cite news|url=http://www.smh.com.au/news/national/walloped-by-white-christmas/2006/12/22/1166290719150.html|title=Emergency declared in wake of massive hailstorm | work=Sydney Morning Herald |date=22 December 2006]

Transport

Armidale is the terminus of the Northern Railway, with direct links to Sydney via the daily Countrylink Xplorer service.There is also a modern airport with 5 daily scheduled flights to and from Sydney with Qantaslink. Armidale Airport, at 1084 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 6 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 for some, cycling is an option to get around Armidale. A cycle way exist from the University of New England, through town, to the residential areas on the Eastern side of town. This cycle way 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 location around the city centre, including at Coles, 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 cyclist a safe option for riding on the roads in that part of town. Separate cycle ways also exist, from the Armidale Arboretum, Along Kelly's 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).

History

Before the colonial settlement of New South Wales, the Aniwan (Anaiwan) people were the traditional owners of the country 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.

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

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. [ [http://www.smh.com.au/news/New-South-Wales/Armidale/2005/02/17/1108500192597.html "Sydney Morning Herald" online travel section] ] 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 Annual 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 Wool Expo is staged to display wool fashions, handicrafts, demonstrations, shearing competitions, yard dog trials etc.

uburbs

*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
*Newling

ister cities

*flagicon|Japan Kanuma, Tochigi
*flagicon|New Zealand Masterton, New Zealand

Education

The city is home to a large number of education facilities, including the Armidale Waldorf School (1985), [ [http://www.waldorf.nsw.edu.au/ Waldorf School] ] New England Girls' School (1895), The Armidale School (1894), and the Presbyterian Ladies' College, Armidale (P.L.C 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

The university was founded in 1938, at first as a college of the University of Sydney, but then in its own right (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 an exceptionally wide range of courses, and will offer a medical school in the near future. [ [http://www.une.edu.au/news/archives/000542.html University of New England] ] 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.

Retail

Armidale is a major regional retail centre, housing three shopping malls:
* Centro Armidale, a AU$49 million developmentcite news|url=http://armidale.yourguide.com.au/detail.asp?class=news&subclass=general&story_id=495504&category=General&m=7&y=2006|title=Shopping centres on track for 2007 opening | date=19 July 2006
work=The Armidale Express
] cite web|url=http://www.centro.com.au/Shopping+Centres/Development+Overview.htm|title=Development Overview - Centro Properties Group|date=31 December 2007] anchored by a Woolworths, Big W and 32 speciality stores [cite news|url=http://armidale.yourguide.com.au/detail.asp?class=news&subclass=general&story_id=479083&category=General&m=5&y=2006|title=Centro Armidale nears construction phase | date=10 May 2006
work=The Armidale Express
] [cite web |url=http://armidale.yourguide.com.au/articles/1085913.html | title=Read all about your new Centro shopping centre in My Life magazine | accessdate=2008-07-14] . Centro began trading in late November 2007.
* Armidale Plaza, a AU$70 million venture, 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

[cite web|url=http://www.armidale.nsw.gov.au/files/1419/File/Master_Plan_Report_1.pdf|title=Armidale CBD Master Plan Report|format=PDF] .
Armidale Dumaresq Council has been undertaking major upgrades to the mall since 2003 as part of the [http://www.armidale.nsw.gov.au/files/1419/File/Master_Plan_Report_1.pdf 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.

Media

The city is serviced by three local newspapers, many radio stations including four local outlets, and all major television stations. [ [http://www.ourguide.com.au/WebPages/NSW_Tamworth.html Tamworth TV Guide] ]

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

*Triple J.
*ABC Radio National.
*ABC Classic FM.
*2KY National Racing Service.
*ABC Local Radio.

Attractions

* Oxley Wild Rivers National Park
* Dangars Falls and Gorge
* Gara Gorge (site of early hydro-electric scheme)
* Saumarez Homestead - National Trust listed early farmstead
* [http://www.neram.com.au New England Regional Art Museum]
* Ebor Falls
* Cathedral Rock National Park
* Waterfall Way, Hillgrove and Wollomombi Falls etc.
* Mt Yarrowyck Aboriginal Rock Art site
* All Saints' Church, Gostwyck (1921) and Deeargee Woolshed (c. 1869)
* Gemstone fossicking
* [http://www.waterfalltrack.com Waterfall Track Network - Bushwalking]

Notable people from Armidale

* Gayla Reid, writer
* Joe Roff, Australian rugby union player
* David G. Williams, comics artist
* Dean Widders, rugby league player
* Cadel Evans, professional cyclistFact|date=September 2008
* Judith Wright, poet
* Hugh Gordon, veterinary parasitologist
* Peter Allen (Woolnough), popular singer and stage performer Fact|date=September 2008
* Alex Buzo, playwright
* Penny Marsh, actress/comedian
* Don Walker, keyboardist for the Australian pub rock band Cold Chisel
* Jack Bedson, children's author and poet, resides in the city

References

See also

External links

* [http://nla.gov.au/nla.pic-an11553697 Photographs of Armidale in 1994, National Library of Australia]
* [http://www.armidaleregion.com/ Thrive in Armidale - Information Portal]
* [http://www.armidale.nsw.gov.au/ Armidale Dumaresq Council]
* [http://www.une.edu.au/campus/une/armidale/armidale.html University of New England]
* [http://www.as.edu.au/ The Armidale School]
* [http://www.negs.nsw.edu.au/ New England Girls' School]
* [http://www.walkabout.com.au/locations/NSWArmidale.shtml Tourism Info]
* [http://www.plcarmidale.nsw.edu.au/ Presbyterian Ladies College]
* [http://www.duval.nsw.edu.au/ Duval High School]
* [http://www.armidale-h.schools.nsw.edu.au/ Armidale High School]
* [http://www.armidale.info/ Armidale.info]


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