Armidale is primarily known for its cooler climate and the fact that the town has a first rate University, and the by-product of that the population looks younger. Armidale is also an old town where heritage is now clearly important. Whereas Tamworth is ‘country’ Armidale is by contrast is a ‘worldly’ city. Armidale is a nice city with plenty to look at and do. Allow a few days to enjoy.
Before the British colonial settlement of New South Wales, the Indigenous Aniwar (Anaiwan) people occupied the area 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. (This is not to be confused with Armadale, West Lothian, near Edinburgh.)
Oxley recommended the region for grazing, and soon early pioneers set up small farms in the locality. Armidale Post Office opened on 1 April 1843. 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. 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.
Because of the young student population a number of pubs continue to exist. The Tattersals in the mall has still the art deco features both inside and out. The St Kilda has just celebrated 150 years. The others are all old.
The Churches in Armidale are all quite magnificent. All different though. The Anglican has much history to relate and be sure to spend plenty of time in the church. The Catholic a large cathedral structured building. Presbyterian, United and Baptist are all over 100 years old.