Kurri Kurri is nearly a joined town with Cessnock and Maitland. I.e. there is no 100 kph stretch between the two towns, but other small hamlets between. The last three decades have hastened the connections. That said Kurri Kurri has its own individual character.
Kurri Kurri's name comes from the local Awabakal language where it has a meaning similar to "the beginning" or "the first".
The town's economy today is based on its aluminium smelter and the surrounding wineries.
Kurri Kurri was founded in 1902 to service the local Stanford Merthyr and Pelaw Main collieries and mining communities. The town was named by District Surveyor T. Smith who chose the name because he believed it meant 'hurry along' in a local dialect. The town and suburban land of Kurri was proclaimed on 25 October 1902. By 1911 Kurri Kurri had a population of 5,885 residents.
The Kurri Kurri Hotel (1904) is one of several built during the era of mining prosperity in the early 20th century. It is an impressive three storey building featuring prominent verandahs with cast iron lacework. The Empire Tavern was also built during this period. Kurri Kurri has numerous small miners' cottages from the same period.