Uralla Railway Station, NSW (circa 1882)

Odille Esmonde-Morgan

GLENORCHY, Australia

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Taken during my trip to the area in March 2010. I couldn’t decide whether to do the stationside or drive up views so I put them together!

There is a tiny bit of digital mischief, I removed the ‘toilets’ sign from the platform view image. It stood out like the proverbial sore thumb and looked just horrible.

1DsMkII & 24-105 lens

Featured in Australian Railways – Past & Present on 17 April 2011

Uralla is a typical rural service town of some 2300 persons situated in hilly country 1005 metres above sea-level on the Northern Tablelands of New England region of New South Wales. It is 23 km south-west of Armidale. The district is renowned for superfine wool and cattle and characterised by extensive protrusions of granite.

Uralla calls itself ‘Thunderbolt Country’ and the town’s chief claims to fame are the grave of notorious bushranger Thunderbolt (Fred Ward) and Thunderbolt Rock outside the town, a large granite outcrop which has unfortunately been covered by graffiti in recent times.

The Anaiwan Aborigines occupied the area prior to the arrival of Europeans and it is from their language that the town’s name derives. It is said to refer to a ceremonial meeting place and lookout, situated on the top of a hill – possibly a reference to the two hills at the town’s north-western boundary.

The first white settler in the district was Edward Gostwyck Cory . He sold his property in 1834 to William Dangar who passed it on to his brother Henry who surveyed much of the Hunter Valley and the Liverpool Plains in the 1820s and 1830s, acquiring vast amounts of land in the process.

In the 1840s a tiny settlement sprang from what began as a shepherd’s out-station on the banks of Rocky Creek. A townsite was reserved in 1849 where a branch track departed from the Great North Road heading north-west along the Bundarra River. At this intersection Samuel McCrossin established an inn, where the town’s bowling greens are now located.

However, the town really began with the discovery of gold at Rocky River in 1851. A goldrush began the following year. The village was gazetted in 1855. The area also prospered from pastoral and agricultural pursuits. Wheat was a major focus and McCrossin established a large mill at Uralla in 1870. Still standing it now houses a museum.

The town was declared a municipality in 1882 when the railway arrived. After the First World War land was resumed at Kentucky, south of Uralla, for soldier settlement and orcharding began.

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