New England Showgrounds

The first European to explore the New England area was English explorer John Oxley, who crossed the southern part of the New England Range near the Apsley Falls before he discovered and named Port Macquarie in 1818. In 1827 Allan Cunningham travelled north along the western edge of the Range until he reached the Darling Downs in Queensland.
In 1851 Gold was discovered at Rocky River, just two kilometres west of Uralla and started a rush to the area. Today this is a public overnight rest area and popular with nomad fossickers. Gold was found at Hanging Rock and nearby Swamp Creek in 1852.

Sapphire fossicking has become an important tourist attraction in the area, bringing keen fossickers from NSW and interstate. Several caravan parks and campgrounds in the New England area cater specifically for sapphire fossickers.

The region has long been associated with fine wool production. The rich green hills providing good quality feed and the cool climate contributing to a vigorous growth of wool. Unlike the outback regions where dust collects in the fleece, New England wool is relatively clean and fetches a good price.

Common animals that may be encountered across the New England region include: kangaroos, echidnas, wallabies, possums and wombats. Common birds are: cockatoos, currawongs, magpies, crows, wild ducks, galahs, parrots, kookaburras, ravens, rosellas and emus (on the western slopes).

The high altitude of this region ensures crisp morning frosts in winter and good rainfall in summer. Glenn Innes has long been known as Celtic Country, with its old world charm, the Australian Celtic Festival and the Land of the Beardies Festival.

Armidale is renowned for its excellent University of New England, while Tamworth is the Country Music Capital of Australia.