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Information about the work of  Orange City Council, located in the Central West of NSW

A Brief History of Orange

Situated on Blackman's Swamp Creek, Orange was proclaimed a village in 1846.  The area had previously been known as Blackman's Swamp Creek. Major Thomas Mitchell named the village in honour of Prince William of Orange whom he met during the Napoleonic Wars (Prince William later became the King of Holland).

View of Summer Street, c1901

The city has grown from its rich mining past when in 1851 William Tom and John Lister found the first payable gold in Australia at Ophir. In the same year gold was found at Lucknow and these rich mines were worked for many years afterwards, which brought great wealth to the area. The economic influence of the gold rush attracted a wide range of people and business to the district. One such business was the legendary coaching firm of Cobb & Co which operated gold escorts and Royal Mail Services across the region. www.cobbandco.net.au for more information on Cobb & Co.

Despite the impact gold had on the colony, it was the fertile land in the area that led Orange to further develop. Early farmers found that wheat and barley grew well with a reliable rainfall. By the 1860s the Orange area was well known as the granary of the west with several flour mills established.

Orange is also well know as the birthplace of Australia's famous poet Banjo Paterson who was born in John Templer's home on 17 February 1864. A monument and statue are located at the site of his birthplace, Banjo Paterson Park, on the Ophir Road.

John Peisley, 1st Chairman
of Orange Council, 1860

Orange was proclaimed a Municipality on January 9 1860, and the first meeting of the Council was held at the Court House, with John Peisley officiating as Chairman ( to a view a list of Mayors of Orange (19.0KB)) Orange began to develop as an important regional centre.

Bearing towards the 20th Century the town saw building activity increase to cater for the ever-expanding population of Orange.  New housing continued to be built, subdivisions established and motorcars become an everyday appearance in Orange.

The Orange City Library's Local Studies Collection holds a mass of historic books on the History of Orange and the region for either personal or educational use. Contact the Library on 6393 8132 for more information.

A recent initiative of Orange City Council's Heritage Advisory Committee has been the developed a series of heritage walks for the City and the Orange General Cemetery. Collect your trail brochures from the Orange Visitor Information Centre in Byng Street to better view Orange's distinctive built environment and its colourful social history.

Visit Orange Regional Museum website

There are more details in A Brief History of Orange (40 KB).  

The Survey of Significant Landscape features is a detailed investigation of over 2000 places, objects, elements, trees, views and vistas. In addition the project details the evolution of the landscape in a series of maps dating from European settlement to current day in 30 year increments. To view go to www.orangesignificantscapes.com.au.

Gnoo Blas Race Circuit brochure (PDF 900KB)