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This page is designed to provide space for people of the Community to provide local history information about their community and to provide links to relevant history sites related to this community. The management of this site realises that this list may not be complete.

History credits explorers Sir Thomas Mitchell and Allan Cunningham with the honour of opening the way to the North West plains and indeed to the area that is now known as Narrabri Shire. However, an escaped convict, the notorious George "the barber" Clarke, was the first white man to seek his fortune in this area. He painted himself black, took two aboriginal wives and wandered the plains naked with the natives, stealing cattle and, after his recapture in 1831, related wonderful tales of his travels and of a deep, wide river, the Kindur, which flowed into a vast inland sea. This prompted Sir Thomas Mitchell to press out into a virtually unknown area.

He did not find the Kindur or an inland sea but, without knowing it then, opened the way for settlement in one of the most productive parts of Australia. Wee Waa, the oldest town in the Namoi Valley, was proclaimed in 1847, followed by Narrabri and Boggabri in 1860.

The settlers ventured across the Liverpool plains to the Boggabri, Narrabri and Wee Waa districts, "niver-niver" country as it was known;

Public houses sprung up along the way. Three of the best known of these were the Rock Inn at Boggabri, a wine shop on the bank of the Namoi River at Turrawan and the Cuttabri Wine Shanty. The latter is the only one of these still operating.

The railway pushed through the Shire in the early 1880's as did schools.

Many stories of hardship and resourcefulness have evolved throughout the history of Narrabri Shire, as indeed they have all over Australia. Pioneer graves beside the Boggabri and Wee Waa roads as well as one which rouses a great deal of curiosity, nestled amongst the trees beside the Newell Highway, some twenty five km south of Narrabri bear out this fact.

This latter grave belongs to William Hames, an Aboriginal/ Chinese stockman who died on the property beside which he now lies during a flood in 1942.

In those days, the road between Coonabarabran and Narrabri was no more than a sandy track through the scrub. His body could not be carried to Narrabri for burial so special permission had to be granted by the Coroner to bury Mr Hames on public land beside the road. It is reported that the utility driven out from Narrabri to collect Mr Hames' body became bogged and could not be towed out for two weeks.

The story goes that after his death, Mr Hames' faithful horse did not stray far from the grave site.

For further reading, several history books are available at the Visitors Centre..

If you know of a local history site that services this community but is not listed here, or would like to use this site to promote your local history, please Email us (using the button at the bottom of this page) and let us know the details, including the community to which you are referring.

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