Dungog is a town that will not be encounted by traveling a major route. In fact Dungog is pretty much an ‘end of the road’. Dungog is a destination town, and given the distances are not so great from Newcastle, the destination status is deserved. Dungog is heritage nirvana and making the effort to visit is easily paid off.
Popular Dungog events are the Dungog Film Festival hosted at the James Theatre, the Dungog Agricultural Show, Pedalfest, the Dungog Rodeo, and the Thunderbolt Rally. Each of these events showcases local produce and talent and brings tourists to the region.
The reason for the name Dungog is not known.
Dungog is the home of the famous James Theatre, the oldest purpose-built cinema still operating in Australia, located at 6 Brown Street. It receives new movie releases soon after cinemas in more populated areas. The theatre was first opened on land of James Stuart in December 1912.
It retains the simplicity of a Picture Theatre built in a small country town during the Depression the building is architecturally significant as one of only four Picture Theatres in the New South Wales with Spanish Mission Style facades. The James Theatre Dungog Community Centre has been owned by the Dungog Shire Council since 1979.
The Dungog Film Festival, inaugurated on 31 May 2007, is a festival which serves the dual purposes of encouraging the local tourism industry and showcasing OZ cinema. It takes place over four days and some of the proceeds go towards preserving the James Theatre. It is held annually in May and is open to Australian filmmakers only.
Founded in 1963, Dungog Historical Society is located in the former School of Arts building which also houses the Dungog Museum. The wide collection showcases Dungog's history and heritage, including information and material about local aboriginals and family history.