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Coonabarabran
New South Wales
CountryTown0002.jpg
Town centre/ Imperial Hotel
Population: 2609
Postcode: 2357
Elevation: 505 m (1,657 ft)
Location:
LGA: Warrumbungle Shire
State District: Barwon
Federal Division: Parkes
Mean Max Temp Mean Min Temp Annual Rainfall
23.7 °C
75 °F
7.4 °C
45 °F
748.4 mm
29.5 in

Coonabarabran /knəˈbærəbrən/ is a town in Warrumbungle Shire that sits on the divide between the Central West and North West Slopes regions of New South Wales, Australia. At the 2011 census, the town had a population of 3,175. The town's nickname is "Coona".

History and Description

In 1817 the area was opened up by a Government-sponsored expedition. In 1818 John Oxley found Aboriginal people living here — later identified as the western language reach of the Kamilaroi clans (Gamilaraay is the spelling used by linguists). Kamilaroi people are still well represented in the region, having occupied Coonabarabran for approximately 7,500 years.

In 1859 Lewis Gordon first proposed a town plan survey for Coonabarabran.

Nobody really seems to know the source and meaning of the word Coonabarabran. It may derive from a person's name or from the Kamilaroi language word 'gunbaraaybaa' meaning 'excrement', translated earlier as meaning, 'peculiar odour', this possibly is a bowdlerisation. Another meaning is derived from an Aboriginal word for 'inquisitive person'. 'Coolabarabran' was the name of a station owned by James Weston in 1848.

Coonabarabran Post Office opened on 1 January 1850.

Coonabarabran Memorial Clock Tower is a central feature of the town, in the intersection of John Street and Dalgarno Street. It was built from local sandstone and dedicated in 1928.

Coonabarabran is the gateway to the Warrumbungle National Park and the Pilliga Forest.

Astronomy

Coonabarabran is the closest town to the Siding Spring Observatory, which is home to the 3.9-metre Anglo-Australian Telescope, the largest optical telescope in Australia. It is operated by the Australian Astronomical Observatory (formerly the Anglo-Australian Observatory). A dozen other telescopes are on Siding Spring Mountain, a number of which are operated by the Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics of the Australian National University. Siding Spring is also home to the Uppsala Telescope where Robert H. McNaught discovered his now famous daylight comet C/2006 P1 in August 2006. The Mopra Observatory, which is home to a 22-metre radio telescope owned and operated by the CSIRO is also near the Siding Spring Observatory, but is operated remotely from Narrabri. A recent addition to the town was the construction of the world's largest virtual solar system drive on the roads leading to the observatory. Coonabarabran markets itself as the "astronomy capital of Australia", many of the businesses and government buildings in the town feature astronomically themed information plaques.

Climate

Coonabarabran has a warm subtropical climate, with hot summers and cool winters. Temperature extremes have historically ranged from 42.6 C° (108.7 F°) to –9.0 C° (15.8 °F).

Climate data for Coonabarabran
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 42.6
(108.7)
41.3
(106.3)
37.5
(99.5)
35.0
(95)
28.2
(82.8)
24.6
(76.3)
23.7
(74.7)
29.0
(84.2)
33.6
(92.5)
38.8
(101.8)
41.1
(106)
40.5
(104.9)
42.6
(108.7)
Average high °C (°F) 31.7
(89.1)
30.7
(87.3)
28.2
(82.8)
23.9
(75)
19.3
(66.7)
15.6
(60.1)
14.8
(58.6)
16.8
(62.2)
20.4
(68.7)
24.2
(75.6)
27.8
(82)
30.5
(86.9)
23.7
(74.7)
Average low °C (°F) 15.0
(59)
14.6
(58.3)
11.8
(53.2)
7.1
(44.8)
3.3
(37.9)
1.3
(34.3)
0.1
(32.2)
0.9
(33.6)
3.5
(38.3)
7.2
(45)
10.6
(51.1)
13.2
(55.8)
7.4
(45.3)
Record low °C (°F) 3.6
(38.5)
3.6
(38.5)
0.6
(33.1)
-3.6
(25.5)
-6.1
(21)
-7.2
(19)
-9.0
(15.8)
-7.6
(18.3)
-5.0
(23)
-2.2
(28)
-0.8
(30.6)
2.7
(36.9)
-9.0
(15.8)
Rainfall mm (inches) 90.9
(3.579)
81.8
(3.22)
62.7
(2.469)
52.2
(2.055)
54.0
(2.126)
57.0
(2.244)
55.5
(2.185)
52.8
(2.079)
49.9
(1.965)
59.4
(2.339)
65.6
(2.583)
71.3
(2.807)
753.1
(29.65)
Avg. rainy days (≥ 0.2mm) 7.2 6.3 5.7 5.1 6.1 7.7 7.6 7.1 6.7 7.1 7.2 7.3 81.1
Source: Bureau of Meteorology

Transport

The township is on the Newell Highway and the Oxley Highway, approximately halfway between Melbourne and Brisbane and can be reached in about six hours by car from Sydney. It is on the main inland truck route between Queensland and Victoria.

The Gwabegar railway line passes through the town. Passenger rail services were replaced by coaches in the 1970s. The section of the Gwabegar line between Binnaway and Gwabegar is booked out of use, from 28 October 2005 for safety reasons.

Coonabarabran Airport is 12 km south of the town.

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