Tenterfield, New South Wales

Tenterfield, New South Wales

Infobox Australian Place | type = town
name = Tenterfield
state = nsw

caption = Location of Tenterfield in New South Wales (red)
lga = Tenterfield Shire Council
postcode = 2372
est = 1851
pop = 3,172
elevation= 850
maxtemp = 21.4
mintemp = 8.1
rainfall = 849.3
stategov = Lismore
fedgov = New England
county = Clive
dist1 = 699
dir1 = N
location1= Sydney
dist2 = 275
dir2 = SW
location2= Brisbane
dist3 = 128
dir3 = W
location3= Casino
dist4 = 117
dir4 = S
location4= Warwick (Qld)
dist5 = 56
dir5 = S
location5= Stanthorpe (Qld)

Tenterfield, is a town, parish and Local Government Area (see Tenterfield Shire Council), in New South Wales, Australia. It is located in the New England region of northern New South Wales, at the intersection of the The New England and Bruxner Highways. Tenterfield is a 3 hour drive from Brisbane, 2.5 hours from Byron Bay, 2 hours from Armidale and 10 hours from Sydney. The town sits in a valley astride the Great Dividing Range. At the 2006 census, Tenterfield had a population of 3,172.Census 2006 AUS|id=UCL173400|name=Tenterfield (Urban Centre/Locality)|accessdate=2008-07-11|quick=on]

Tenterfield's proximity to many regional centres and its position on the route between Sydney and Brisbane led to it being a centre for the promotion of Federation of the Australian states.

Local geography

The local geography is dominated by prominent granite inselbergs and mountains, the most famous being that of Bald Rock, which sits within the Bald Rock National Park.


Tenterfield’s first inhabitants were the Jukembal people who travelled the area from near Glen Innes to Stanthorpe, Queensland.

In 1841 Sir Stuart Donaldson was running 18,000 sheep on a property that he named Tenterfield Station, after a family home in Scotland. Donaldson was the first premier of NSW and made biannual trips to Tenterfield to inspect his holdings there, which covered convert|100000|acre|km2 of unfenced land. The township was gazetted in 1851 with allotments being sold in 1854. In 1858 gold was discovered at Drake (Fairfield) and shortly afterwards at Timbarra and Boonoo Boonoo. [Halliday, Ken, Call of the Highlands, Southern Cross Printery, Toowoomba, 1988] During 1859 an AJS Bank opened and an Anglican Church was built the following year. In the 1860s The Tenterfield Chronicle was published, the district court was established; the building of a hospital commenced and a public school was opened. In 1870 the population was less than 900, but the town had five hotels, a school of arts and three churches. The existing Tenterfield Post Office was constructed in 1881.

The railway opened to Tenterfield on 28 October 1884 [New England Regional Tourist Zone Association, New England Holiday, Express Print Armidale] and in 1886 to nearby Wallangarra on the Queensland border, connecting Sydney and Brisbane, with a break-of-gauge at Wallangarra. When the rail link to the Queensland border was completed, Sydney and Brisbane were linked by rail for the first time. The railway was subsequently bypassed by the fully standard gauge North Coast line between Sydney and Brisbane, completed in 1932. The Main North line is now closed north of Armidale and the Tenterfield railway station is now a museum.

Sir Henry Parkes delivered his Federation Speech here in the Tenterfield School of Arts on 24 October 1889. [New England Regional Tourist Zone Association, New England Holiday, Express Print Armidale] He was travelling from Brisbane to Sydney, via the new Main North railway. The speech is credited with re-igniting the debate that ultimately leading to Federation on 1 January 1901.

During World War II Tenterfield was earmarked as a key battleground if the Japanese should invade Australia. During 1942 thousands of soldiers were set up in emergency camps, unbeknown to the locals, to cope with such an event. Overgrown tanks traps and gun emplacements can still be seen on the Travelling Stock Route near the New England Highway. [Readers Digest Guide to Australian Places, Readers Digest, Sydney] The highway was until the early 1950s the only all-weather road from Sydney to Brisbane.


The main industries in the Tenterfield district are beef cattle breeding and superfine wool production through the breeding of Merino sheep. There are ten State Forests in the Tenterfield district covering 7540ha. [Tenterfield & District, Tenterfield & District Visitors Assoc., n.d.]


The Tenterfield area is served by a community radio station 2TEN FM. The station has a local focus, derived in part from the stringent rules controlling community radio stations. The station uses Maximation software for studio automation, and runs a strict controlled format.

Tenterfield's local newspaper is the Tenterfield Star.

Notable residents

* Henry George Chauvel. Sir Harry (born at nearby Tabulum) was the first Australian to command a miliatary Corps. [Tenterfield & District, Tenterfield & District Visitors Assoc., n.d.]
* Major J.F. Thomas, a solicitor known for his vigorous defense of Harry "Breaker" Morant once owned and operated the “Tenterfield Star” newspaper. [Tenterfield & District, Tenterfield & District Visitors Assoc., n.d.] Jack Thompson portrayed Major Thomas in the 1980 film "Breaker Morant".
* A.B. "Banjo" Patterson.
* The entertainer Peter Allen, who was born in and spent much of his childhood in Tenterfield, where he lived with his grandfather George Woolnough (see below).
* George Woolnough, Allen's grandfather, a saddler, the third person to own the saddlery and the subject of Allen's song "Tenterfield Saddler".


* The first campdraft ever held (to rules) was held in Tenterfield in c.1885. [Tenterfield & District, Tenterfield & District Visitors Assoc., n.d.]
* The Australian showjumping record was broken at Tenterfield in 1926 Mrs AA Laidlaw’s “Lookout”, ridden by A McPhee jumped 7’10¼”. [Halliday, Ken, Call of the Highlands, Southern Cross Printery, Toowoomba, 1988]
* The world showjumping record was broken at Tenterfield in 1936 by CH Perry’s “Lookout”, ridden by W Marton when he jumped 8’3½”. [Halliday, Ken, Call of the Highlands, Southern Cross Printery, Toowoomba, 1988]



Donald, J.Kay, Exploring the North Coast and New England, Kangaroo Press, Kenthurst, 1987.

External links

* [http://www.tenterfield.nsw.gov.au Local government site]
* [http://www.tenterfield.com/ Tenterfield visitors' centre]

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