kids encyclopedia robot

Gilgandra, New South Wales facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Quick facts for kids
New South Wales
The main street of Gilgandra
Gilgandra is located in New South Wales
Location in New South Wales
Population 3,126 (2016 census)
Established 1888
Postcode(s) 2827
Elevation 282 m (925 ft)
  • 460 km (286 mi) NW of Sydney
  • 66 km (41 mi) from Dubbo
  • 85 km (53 mi) E of Warren
LGA(s) Gilgandra Shire
State electorate(s) Barwon
Federal Division(s) Parkes
Mean max temp Mean min temp Annual rainfall
24.7 °C
76 °F
9.9 °C
50 °F
557.2 mm
21.9 in

Gilgandra is a country town in the Orana region of New South Wales, Australia, and services the surrounding agricultural area where wheat is grown extensively together with other cereal crops, and sheep and beef cattle are raised. Sitting at the junction of the Newell, Oxley and Castlereagh highways, the town is located in a wide bend of the Castlereagh River downstream from its source near Coonabarabran, directly downstream from Mendooran, and upstream from Gulargambone and Coonamble. It is 432 km north-west of Sydney (about six hours' driving time), and is located approximately halfway on the inland route from Melbourne to Brisbane. The town is the administrative seat of the Gilgandra Shire. It is known as the town of windmills and the home of the 'Coo-ees', and is a gateway to the Warrumbungles National Park.


The town was proclaimed in 1888, and the first town blocks were sold in 1889. The area had been previously settled and Gilgandra’s Post Office was established in 1867 and in 1881 a local school opened, and the first court hearing in the Gilgandra court house was in 1884. The shire was constituted in 1906.

During World War I, a recruitment march to Sydney began in Gilgandra. The march was known as the Coo-ee March, after the distinct call of "cooee" they shouted at each town along their journey to attract recruits. Twenty-six men left Gilgandra on 10 October 1915. They were feted at each town on the route and recruitment meetings were held. By the time they reached Sydney just over one month later on 12 November, the numbers had swelled to 263 recruits.


Gilgandra has many churches especially for a small town. There is a Catholic, Anglican, United Churches, Lutheran, Jehovah's Witness, Church of Christ, Presbyterian, and a local Indigenous church.


In the hotter months, the swimming pool is open, and there are skateboard ramps for the youth. There is a youth club, which has squash courts, basketball courts, a gym, and an indoor area.

The tourist information centre is on the south side of town, on the Newell Highway, as entering from Dubbo, on the right hand side after the silos.

There is a Rural Museum, which has old coaches, shearing sheds and equipment, as well as some of the old rooms, decked out as to how they were in the former days. There is Cactus World, which has a large range of cacti.

Gilgandra has an observatory open from Wednesday to Sunday.

There is the community radio station WARFM, which is on 98.9FM, which has a broad range of shows. This is run by local volunteers, and if one feels like they want to present a show, an application will be taken, training given, and probably an available timeslot will be given.

There is also an aero club which serves as a flight school.

Gilgandra has a technical college. There are courses such as business administration, digital photography, and others at times.

Notable people

Civic Minded

  • Jim Curran (1927–2005), Gilgandra-born and raised, he was the local member for the Castlereagh electorate in NSW State Parliament from 1980 to 1981. Prior to that he had been very involved in the Gilgandra branch of the NSW Labor party in capacity as Secretary and then President for many years.
  • William Thomas Hitchen (1864–1916), was a Gilgandra plumber and the Captain of the Gilgandra rifle club when WW1 commenced. He proposed the concept of a recruiting march from Gilgandra to Sydney, and was instrumental in making this a reality by organising the Cooee March which commenced in October 2015 from Gilgandra. Hitchen himself enlisted for the march and was shipped with troops to England. However, he died in England in 1916, not having seen active service.
  • Ernie Knight (1943–1995), an Indigenous Australian, who worked for Gilgandra Shire Council for the thirty years of his working life, diligently and loyally maintaining the town's parks, gardens and recreational grounds. The Railway Oval was renamed in his memory in November 1995 as 'Ernie Knight Oval'.
  • Tony McGrane (1946–2004), was Mayor of Gilgandra for 16 years. He then moved 40 miles south to Dubbo and became Mayor of Dubbo for eight years from 1991 until early 1999 when he ran as an independent for the seat of Dubbo. He won the seat of Dubbo, formerly considered a safe Country Party seat, by 24 votes from the Country Party. From 27 March 1999 until 15 September 2004 McGrane was then the member for the Dubbo electorate in the NSW State Parliament. Tony McGrane died in office on 15 September 2004.


  • Arthur Clifford Howard, known as "Cliff", (1893–1971), inventor of the rotary hoe (a version of a cultivator), whose father John Howard moved in 1908 from Crookwell to a property named "Mountain View" at Biddon near Gilgandra. In 1912 when his father introduced a steam tractor engine to his farm Cliff Howard had the idea of applying the tractor's power to blades that would turn the soil instead of compacting it as a pulled plough did. In 1912 Howard created and tested the prototype of his invention on "Mountain View", leading to his patenting the rotary h oe in 1919.


  • Hannah Morris (1829–1911), pioneer of Gilgandra, resided in the area from 1852, innkeeper and landowner, and driving figure in establishing Gilgandra township.


  • Bob Foran (1938–2018), Gilgandra-born and raised horse trainer, owner and race caller. Bob's father, Vic Foran, was a well known Gilgandra horse trainer as was, in turn, Vic's own father – Jim Foran. Bob himself was widely known across the western NSW racing region, and in January 2015 reached the incredible milestone of calling his 60th Gilgandra Cup.
  • John Farragher, OAM, (b.1957), Gilgandra-born and raised rugby league player who attended Gilgandra High School and played rugby league for Gilgandra. He was selected for the Western Districts rugby league team in 1977. In 1978 he commenced playing First Grade rugby league with Penrith Panthers, aged 21. In May the same year, John was playing in prop position in only his seventh game with the Penrith club, when the scrum collapsed and John, underneath the collapse, became quadriplegic. Following his extensive rehabilitation efforts, Penrith Panthers employed John in a public relations capacity and he has been a familiar face at the door greeting and assisting visitors to the club for many years since. John was awarded an OAM in 2016 for services to rugby league and to the Penrith community.
  • Johnny King (b.1942), rugby league winger from 1960 for twelve years with St George's First Grade side in the NSW Rugby League competition, whose first seven years with the club were on the winning grand final side, and who represented Australia fifteen times. Johnny King was born and raised in Gilgandra, the son of Cec King, a local mechanic, and was a Gilgandra jeweller's apprentice when he left for Sydney at the age of 16.
  • Don O'Connor (b.1958), Gilgandra-born and raised cricketer played for Tasmania and for South Australia in the interstate Sheffield Shield competition 1981–1990.

War heroes WWI

  • Herbert Foran (1893–1973), born in the Gilgandra area to grazier Thomas Foran and his wife Sarah (Green), he was raised by his parents on "New Berida" with nine siblings, and was farming there when he enlisted early in WW1. Herb Foran was awarded the French Medaille Militare in 1918.
  • Leslie Greenleaf (1899–1980) was a recent British immigrant who was working on 'Dick's Camp' Collie when he enlisted in October 1915 for WW1, aged only 17, as one of the original Coo-ee marchers setting out from Gilgandra. He was awarded the Military Medal for action in March–April 1918 at Villiers-Bretonneux, France. Leslie Greenleaf was the last survivor of the original 35 men who commenced the Coo-ee march at Gilgandra.
  • Thomas Henry Turvey (1893–1965) was born at Gulgong where his grandfather Frederick Turvey had settled after being transported on the "Charles Kerr" arriving NSW in 1837. Thomas Turvey was raised at Gilgandra when his parents, Thomas Isaac Turvey (1867–1950) and wife Mary, bought "Cedar Side" at Gilgandra. He was working at Gilgandra when he joined the Coo-ee March in October 1915 as one of the original 35 men commencing the march. His WWI military record shows that he signed up along the way on 4 November, aged 22, and was enlisted at Lawson in the Blue Mountains on 7 November. Tom Turvey was awarded the Military Medal for action in February 1917 at Guedecourt, France. This was "for bravery in the field". Turvey returned to Gilgandra during the 1940s and later moved to Sydney.

War heroes WWII

  • Malcolm Foran DFC (1922–1979), son of Herbert Foran (See 'War Heroes WW1) and Grace, née Deans, Malcolm was Gilgandra-born and raised, and was a bomber pilot in the Royal Australian Air Force serving in England in WWII. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross in 1944.
  • Allan Donald McKellar (1917–1975), Gilgandra-born, son of Gerald Murdoch McKellar (d. March 1949) and Margaret, née Travis. Alan McKellar was a bomber pilot in the Royal Australian Air Force who served in England in WWII, and in mid 1944 received the King's Commendation for Valuable Service in the Air. Allan's father had purchased Gilgandra's "Eringanerin" property in 1907. Allan was farming on "Eringanerin" when he married Miss Lorraine Lucas of Gilgandra in 1940, and when he enlisted later the same year. He took over the running of the property on his return.
  • Rawdon Middleton VC (1916–1942), was known as Ron Middleton and was the elder son of Frank Middleton and his wife Faith, née Miller. He was raised at Gilgandra as a teenager, became a bomber pilot in the Royal Australian Air Force in 1942, serving in WWII, and was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross.
  • Frank Morris VCF, raised at Balladoran near Gilgandra, bomber pilot in the Royal Australian Air Force serving in England during WWII, awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross in 1944. Frank Morris was the son of Welsh immigrants, Robert and Mary Morris, who settled first at Curban by 1911 and then at Balladoran on a property they named "Garthowen". Frank's mother died in 1938, before he enlisted, leaving him with three surviving brothers and three surviving sisters in addition to his father.
kids search engine
Gilgandra, New South Wales Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.