Tamworth is turning 200 and we're all invited to the year-long celebrations

Looking back looking forward: As the city prepares to celebrate its bicentenary, the community is being asked for ideas.
Looking back looking forward: As the city prepares to celebrate its bicentenary, the community is being asked for ideas.

Tamworth’s 200th birthday draws ever closer with the Bicentenary scheduled for 2018, 200 years since the first European, Government Surveyor John Oxley, camped on and named Peel’s River, which became the first name for Tamworth until the name changed soon after to what we know it as today.

Being a major shareholder in the Australian Agricultural Company, Oxley sang the praises of Goulburn Vale (Peel Valley) which soon led to the first European settlement with AA Company headquarters at Killala (Calala).

The indigenous Gomeroi people had populated the area for thousands of years and after camping on the Peel on September 2, 1818, Oxley was led to the very significant aboriginal stone quarry site on Mt Daruka before making his way eastward. Consequently the towns of Walcha, Wauchope and Port Macquarie also celebrate a Bicentenary next year.

An earlier 1817 Oxley inland expedition has also led to an impressive Bicentenary celebration in Wellington three months ago, widely embraced by their community. This follows a huge 2015 Bicentenary bonanza in Bathurst, the first inland town established in Australia.

A local committee has been working for the last few months to make this a fitting celebration for all Tamworth residents and organisations who contribute to an also enjoy the many benefits the city has to offer. They hope everyone will embrace the concept and become a participant in some shape or form.

Still very a work in progress, some elements already planned include a Tamworth Bicentenary calendar, an Oxley re-enactment walk, a Tamworth theme school poetry competition, a “Tamworth 200 years +” historical display and a major celebration day at Bicentennial Park on September 2, 2018.

The calendar is well advanced in its preparation to be printed by the end of this year. The closing date for the completely free entries is November 19. Any organisation that has not yet has an activity included should submit their event/s and date/s by that time to co-ordinator Mike Cashman (02 67 658610 – 0481 944420 – spartan1s@optusnet.com.au). Inclusions do not have to be anything special, just regular annual events.

To gather ideas and widen participation in the Bicentenary, a public meeting has been called for Tuesday, November 21, at the Tamworth Community Centre in Darling Street, with a 7pm start.

Tamworth is a very diverse community bit we all share pone thing in common, living in the wonderful city of Tamworth. We all love a birthday, even if it’s not our own, so it’s hoped that we can join together and make 2018 a special year.