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Murwillumbah
New South Wales
Murwillumbah.jpg
Partial view of town and Tweed River, 2008
Murwillumbah is located in New South Wales
Murwillumbah
Murwillumbah
Coordinates 28°19′39″S 153°23′45″E / 28.32750°S 153.39583°E / -28.32750; 153.39583Coordinates: 28°19′39″S 153°23′45″E / 28.32750°S 153.39583°E / -28.32750; 153.39583
Population 9,245 (2016 census)
Postcode(s) 2484
Elevation 8 m (26 ft)
Location
LGA(s) Tweed Shire
County Rous
State electorate(s) Lismore
Federal Division(s) Richmond
Mean max temp Mean min temp Annual rainfall
25.8 °C
78 °F
14.4 °C
58 °F
1,570.1 mm
61.8 in
Localities around Murwillumbah:
Nobbys Creek Kynnumboon Tygalgah
North Arm Murwillumbah South Murwillumbah
Eungella Byangum
Bray Park
Dunbible

Murwillumbah ( mər-WIL-əm-bah) is a town in far north-eastern New South Wales, Australia, in the Tweed Shire, on the Tweed River. Sitting on the south eastern foothills of the McPherson Range in the Tweed Volcano valley, Murwillumbah is 848 km north-east of Sydney, 13 km south of the Queensland border and 132 km south of Brisbane.

The town's name is often abbreviated to M'bah or Murbah. At the 2016 census, Murwillumbah had a population of 9,245. Many of the buildings are Art Deco in style and there are cafes, clothes and antique shops in the town.

History

StateLibQld 1 241283 Main street of Murwillumbah, ca. 1905
Main street, ca. 1905

The first people to live in the area were Bundjalung people. The name Murwillumbah derives from an Aboriginal word meaning "camping place" – from Murrie, meaning "aboriginal people", Wolli, "a camp"; and Bab, "the place of". Nearby Mount Warning and its attendant national park are known as Wollumbin, meaning "Cloud Catcher", in the Bundjalung language.

Timber-getters were drawn to the region in the 1840s. The river port at Tumbulgum was initially the main settlement. In 1902, a local government municipality was declared with Murwillumbah as its centre.

Most of the town's business district was destroyed by fire in 1907. Murwillumbah is the location for Australia’s largest-ever bank robbery which occurred in 1978 and has not been solved.

Floods

Murwillumbah is protected by a series of levees, but they do not protect all parts of the town in major floods. The worst flood to hit the town occurred in February 1954, with another major flood in 1956. In 1974, 200 people were evacuated from the town after floodwater from Tropical Cyclone Zoe inundated the area. In January 2008, Murwillumbah and surrounding areas were hit by severe flooding. May 2009 saw more evacuations in the town and surrounds after heavy rainfall.

Transport

Murwillumbah sign
Murwillumbah sign

The town was bypassed by the Pacific Highway in August 2002. Today, main road access from both north and south is via the scenic Tweed Valley Way, which was formerly a section of the original highway.

There is an inland road that passes along the Numinbah Valley through the towns of Chillingham, Numinbah and Natural Bridge which is scenic tourist drive. Another major road west of the town heads to Kyogle via the town Uki, and also passes near the town of Nimbin.

Murwillumbah station was the terminus of the Casino–Murwillumbah branch line, and had daily train services to Sydney until the line closed in 2004. Today, coaches to and from Casino provide connections to daily Countrylink trains servicing Sydney and the N.S.W. north coast.

Murwillumbah Bus Company offers regular services to major parts of the town, as well as Condong and Uki.

Parson's Bus Service offers services to Pottsville, Cabarita Beach, and Stokers Siding.

Gosel's Bus Service offers services to Nimbin via Uki on route 630.

Singh's Bus Service offers services to Chillingham, Tyalgum and Eungella.

Surfside Bus Lines (NSW) offers hourly service to Tweed Heads via Terranora on route 605.

Taxi services are also available.

Murwillumbah's airfield, Whittle Field (ICAO code YMUR), is named after a noted local World War II Spitfire pilot, the late Bob Whittle. It has no scheduled services, but its 800-metre grass runway supports Murwillumbah Aero Club and business activities including crop-dusting, aircraft restoration, training and scenic charter flights.

Festivals

The annual Tweed Banana Festival, the second oldest festival in Australia is staged in the town. In 2005, the festival celebrated its 50th anniversary.

Since 2002 an annual historic motor racing festival has been run through the streets of Murwillimbah, featuring a parade through town, a one kilometre hillclimb course, and connected events, attracting thousands of spectators. Modeled on the Goodwood Festival of Speed, Speed on Tweed was a highlight of the local calendar attracting cars and competitors from all over Australia and from Europe and North America. In September 2009 the event was held in conjunction with Rally Australia which has scheduled one special stage in Murwillumbah.

Demographics

In the 2016 census, Murwillumbah recorded a population of 9,245 people, 52.5% female and 47.5% male. The median age of the Murwillumbah population was 45 years, 7 years above the national median of 38. 81.1% of people living in Murwillumbah were born in Australia. The other top responses for country of birth were England 3.4%, New Zealand 1.9%, India 0.8%, Scotland 0.4%, and Philippines 0.4%. 89.2% of people spoke only English at home; the next most common languages were Punjabi 1.2%, Spanish 0.3%, Italian 0.3%, Tagalog 0.2%, and German 0.2%.

Sport and recreation

Murwillumbah has numerous sports clubs including Murwillumbah Mustangs, Murwillumbah SC, The Gentleman of Murwillumbah Rugby Club, golf, rowing, cricket, lawn bowls and cycling.

Education

Primary schools

  • Hare Krishna School
  • Mt St Patrick Primary School
  • Murwillumbah East Primary School
  • Sathya Sai School
  • South Murwillumbah's Infants School
  • St Joseph's Primary School
  • Murwillumbah Primary School
  • Tweed Valley Adventist College

Secondary schools

  • Hare Krishna School
  • Mount Saint Patrick College
  • Murwillumbah High School
  • Sathya Sai School
  • Wollumbin High School
  • Tweed Valley Adventist College

Notable people

Notable people from Murwillumbah include:

  • Doug Anthony (1929-2020), Australian politician
  • Reginald Arnold (1924–2017), Australian cyclist
  • Bob Batty (1939–2004), Australian rugby league player
  • Mark Brokenshire (born 1961), Australian rugby league player
  • Max Bryant (born 1999), Brisbane Heat & Queensland Cricketer
  • Glenn Butcher (born 1961), Australian actor
  • Larry Corowa (born 1957), Australian international rugby league player
  • Bob Downe (born 1959), stage persona of the comedian Mark Trevorrow
  • Nathan Eglington (born 1980), Australian field hockey midfielder and striker
  • Stephanie Gilmore (born 1988), Australian surfer with six world titles
  • Robert Hagan (born 1947), Australian artist
  • John Hargreaves (1945–1996), Australian actor
  • Chris Higgins (1943–1990), senior Australian public servant
  • Johno Johnson (born 1930), Australian politician
  • Anthony Laffranchi (born 1980), Australian National Rugby League player
  • Jenny McAllister (born 1973), Australian politician
  • Tallulah Morton (born 1991), Australian model
  • Walter Mussing (1916–1990), Australian rugby league player
  • Barry Singh (born 1965), Australian musician
  • Ann Symonds (born 1939), Australian politician(s)
  • Alan Woods (1945 - 2008), gambler, mathematician and actuary
  • Dylan Wotherspoon (born 1993), Australian International Field Hockey player

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