Crisscrossed by the Newell, Oxley, Castlereagh and Golden highways, Warrumbungle Shire spans an area of 12,380 square kilometres. The Shire has a total population of 9380 and this encompasses the townships of Coonabarabran, Baradine, Binnaway, Mendooran, Coolah and Dunedoo.
Agriculture is the primary industry in the Warrumbungle area and it has a rural-based economy. It is both the traditional land of the Gamilaroi people and the Wiradjuri nation.
Featuring the three National Parks areas of Warrumbungle, Pilliga and Coolah Tops, the area is a unique and scenic destination for visitors to the region.
As the administrative centre of the Shire, Coonabarabran has a population of 2537. It is the astronomy capital of Australia and home to Siding Springs, Australia’s largest optical telescope research facility. Nearby Baradine is located on the edge of the Pilliga Forest and is home to 760 people. It is a small rural community which was built on the thriving forestry industry of the 1930s. The streetscape and architecture of the area reflects an era of relative prosperity, with colonial and Art Deco buildings.
Binnaway, on the Castlereagh River, was built in the 1860s as a service centre for the surrounding farmland. In the 1920s, it became a thriving railway centre and a vital transport link. Well-known people from the village of 425 include former State Premier Jack Renshaw and Frank Rose and his White Rose Orchestra. It is also featured in the classic Australian film, The Shiralee.
Along the Golden Highway is Dunedoo, which means ‘swan’ in the native Wiradjuri language. The town has a population of 747 and is home to the annual Dunedoo Bush Poetry Festival and the Art Unlimited Exhibition. In the modern era, Winx jockey Hugh Bowman has become the town’s most famous son.
Coolah, in the ‘valley of the winds’, is the gateway to the nearby Coolah Tops and home to the Black Stump of Australian folklore. It has a population of 1290.
Mendooran, with a population of 559, is known as the town of murals and maintains an old world charm, with its quaint country pub and welcoming streetscape.
The Warrumbungle Shire is accessible from Sydney via the Great Western Highway or the Hunter Valley. The Newell and Oxley highways cross the north of the Shire while the Golden and Castlereagh highways are in the south.
There is a coach from Coonabarabran to Lithgow which connects with the Explorer train to Sydney and there is a bus service to Newcastle which departs from Dunedoo.
A community bus service operated by Warrumbungle Shire also connects passengers with Dubbo, Gunnedah and Tamworth each week.
There are commercial flight opportunities to the capital cities from Mudgee, Dubbo and Tamworth.
Warrumbungle Community Care also has community transport available.
Climate Winter 0-17 degrees
Summer 12-38 degrees
Warrumbungle Shire is well located as a place to live and work, with employment opportunities and close proximity to regional centres.
Facilities across the shire are family-focused and include sporting, service organisations and educational opportunities.
There is also affordable housing and an inclusive and relaxing lifestyle. With less than two hours’ road travel to the regional centres of Tamworth, Dubbo and Mudgee, Warrumbungle Shire is the perfect base for family, business and social interests.
There are golf courses in all of the towns and courses are operated by community groups who maintain picturesque courses complete with resident kangaroos.
Equestrian activities are also very popular in the area with pony clubs in most towns. Coonabarabran also has a horse and rider club, eventing, campdrafting and hosts the North West Schools Equestrian Expo which attracts more than 700 competitors over a five day period. Tennis courts, netball courts and sporting ovals also allow for a range of sports and each town has its own swimming pool.
There’s also bowls, footy, music, soccer, guides, motocross and the gym.
Live the Australian dream in the Warrumbungle region with affordable property and rental markets. The average weekly rental price is approximately $260 per week and the average house price is $275,000.
Land is also available for residential, commercial or industrial developments.
The Warrumbungle Shire was built on agricultural pursuits, with the main industries of wool growing, beef cattle production and cereal cropping. These make a valuable contribution to the local economy, with good climate, rainfall, productive soils and access to markets. Good transport links and an abundance of natural resources also provides the LGA with opportunities for economic growth.
The tourism industry is based on local attractions such as the three national parks, the Siding Springs Observatory and private enterprise.
There is a diverse range of employment and business opportunities and access to trades, services and businesses.
Healthcare and social assistance is a major sector, due in part to the ageing population of the area.
There are a number of active progress groups representing the business communities across the Warrumbungle Shire.
These include the Coonabarabran and District Chamber of Commerce, 2357 Partnerships Incorporated, Creatives Collective, Baradine Progress Association and the Coolah District Development Group.
There are educational facilities across the Shire, ranging from early childhood through to Year 12, along with further and technical education providers addressing workforce and skills shortage.
In the public education sector, there are central, primary and secondary schools; with Catholic primary schools in Baradine, Coonabarabran, Dunedoo and Coolah.
There are pharmacies, community health services and medical practices across the Shire along with outreach services and visiting specialists.
There are also two dental practices in Coonabarabran which serve the region.
Legal offices and financial institutions operate in Coonabarabran, Coolah and Dunedoo and veterinary clinics are based in Coolah and Coonabarabran.
Each community has a supermarket along with other retail outlets.
The Warrumbungle Shire has a range of events throughout the year for both locals and tourists. These include observatory tours, art exhibitions, author talks, youth and seniors week and sporting tournaments. Most of the towns in the Shire also hold an agricultural show each year.
Annual events include: Dunedoo Bush Poetry Festival in February, Dark Sky Week in April and Art Unlimited in May.
The Warrumbungle Region is a diverse area offering beautiful scenery and accessible destinations. There are three national park areas at Pilliga, Warrumbungles and Coolah Tops which are all very different, making these an obvious drawcard for visitors. The Coonabarabran area is also recognised as Australia’s astronomy capital.
There are also museums, street murals, antique and book shops to browse and Art Deco architecture, along with the Black Gate Distillery near Mendooran, Coolah’s famous Black Stump, Coonabarabran’s stunning Crystal Kingdom, the Siding Springs Observatory, Pilliga Forest Discovery Centre, Baradine Land Council and Keeping Place and the Sculptures in the Scrub which pay homage to the area’s natural history.