Barraba is a small service town encounted when traveling the Tamworth to Warialda Rd; a commonly used back route to Qld. Barraba is a nice, friendly and colourful town. Heritage factors are clearly important, with preservation and promotion of the ‘old’ buildings being active. Barraba has had ebb and flow mining industry.
Barraba station was taken up in 1838. Its name derives from an Aboriginal term, said to mean 'camp by the riverbank'. In the mid-1840s Scotsman John McKid opened the first store on the future town site which was surveyed in 1852.
Later in the decade gold was discovered in the area at Woods reef, Ironbark Creek and Crow Mountain. Woods reef became a vital village at this time but virtually disappeared when the gold was exhausted in the late 1860s.
Asbestos was first mined at Woods reef from 1919-1923. However, it was not until 1972 that a large open-cut asbestos mine was opened there, furnishing much local employment, although it closed down in the 1980s. Diatomite mining began north of Barraba in 1982. The area is also rich in chromite, fireclays, gold, limestone, magnesite, copper, chalk and quartz.
There is a case to stay awhile when visiting Barraba. This is a very friendly place.