Before the coming of Europeans, Gomeroi aboriginal trails would have proliferated around today's Tamworth, linking the rivers and creeks, ceremonial sites, campsites, stone quarries, grinding sites, etc.
These would have included the significant Daruka - Moore Creek area where there was much remaining evidence of aboriginal activity.
Many of our current streets have indigenous names, including Morilla (rocky ridge), Yarral (rocks / gravel), Bandalong (junction), Byamee (creator), Edgeroy (creek), Minnamurra (plenty fish) and Goonoo Goonoo (plenty good water) to name a few.
Prior to Thomas Mitchell's 1849 Town Plan, which set out our first streets east of the river, those travelling further north from the Hunter Valley would mostly have come through Currabubula Gap, following the laneway between Goonoo Goonoo and Bubbogullion (Bective) Stations, which was virtually the highway of the time.
The track would have passed through today's Coledale area to the main river-crossing which varied over the years from around today's Jewry Street to Darling Street.
The latter eventually became the main crossing place before we had any permanent horse and bullock traffic bridges.
As mentioned in a previous article ( please don't tell me you missed it !), today's Peel Street then became a natural thoroughfare upon crossing the river to travel further north through Nemingha, etc.
Today the closer Tamworth District has almost 600 streets, but come 1849 we had a mere 19 named streets in the Government Town east of the river, with the western side being controlled by the Australian Agricultural Company property (Goonoo Goonoo) since 1834.
The NSW Surveyor General Thomas Mitchell had passed through the Peel Valley in 1831, 13 years after his predecessor John Oxley. Still in his same government role in 1849, Mitchell employed Assistant-Surveyor John Gorman to do the groundwork for our first Town Plan.
Mitchell then set about naming the 19 original streets, bounded by Upper Street, Lower Street (Kable Avenue), East Street and North Street. Gorman Street was originally where the Police Paddock was later located (now Jack Woolaston Oval), so the present Gorman Street had been relocated.
- Stepping back in times: Early Tamworth elections
- Stepping back in Times: Tamworth's early newspapers
- Not so likely now, but Tamworth has had its fair share of big floods
- Tamworth's early, mainly wooden, buildings were prone to going up in smoke
- Take a trip down memory lane - Our beloved peel Street
- Stepping back in Times: When posties were on bikes of the pedal-power kind
Mitchell's son Roderick was then Commissioner for Crown Lands in Tamworth, hence Roderick Street. Mitchell's 1831 deputy George Boyle White got a mention with White Street and Mitchell's English benefactor George Murray, who assisted him in getting the job in NSW, was also recognised with Murray Street.
Parallel streets running north-east from Peel Street were named after previous NSW Governors - (William) Bligh, (Maurice) O'Connell, (Lachlan) Macquarie, (Ralph) Darling, (Richard) Bourke, (Thomas) Brisbane and (Charles) Fitzroy.
Mitchell's interest in military history was reflected through (Roman General) Marius and (Roman adversary) Carthage.
He had planned Marius and Darling Streets to be the main roadways, both with double-width, so the centre of his CBD would have been the roundabout where these two streets intersect, near Radio Station 88.9 FM.
By 1851 the AA Company had finally been granted its Land Title Deeds, enabling it to sell off land in West Tamworth, beginning with the area between today's Ebsworth, Gipps, Church and Bridge Streets. Hotels, stores and a small brewery soon sprang up along Ebsworth Street, named after the AA Company's long-serving book-keeper.
The track from the first AA Co. HQ at Killala, through to eventually Ebsworth Street, would have been the main roadway in West Tamworth, along which many of their original 200 convict workforce would have been housed.
Eventually, with the rationalising of the West and East Town divide, in 1938 Council thought it necessary to change the names of 3 streets in West Tamworth that were duplications of those existing east of the river.
Peel Street became Bridge , Fitzroy Street became Crown and Hill Street became Mathews. Later, in 1957 in East Tamworth, Lower Street was renamed Kable Avenue to honour the long-serving Town Clerk Vincent Guy Kable.
Perhaps, if we wait long enough, Upper Street might be renamed Barnaby Boulevard (???).
Many streets in the Hillvue/South Tamworth area are named after family members of the original landholders - Hymans (e.g. Robert, Diane, Jean, etc) and Missens (e.g. Kathleen, Margaret, Vera, etc).
In what was originally the Tamworth Aerodrome in the Taminda area, appropriately we have street names such as Avro, Wirraway, Anson, etc.
The Powers That Be (who are they ?) didn't always get it right, with some mis-spellings - e.g. Degance (William Dignance - blacksmith), Dowell (William Dowel - builder) and Phillip (Philip Gidley King - Mayor).
As new subdivisions open up, public consultation should take place on new street names - like perhaps Cashman Cutting or Mike's Meander. Couldn't be any worse than Drop Bear Lane !
Tune in next week for 'Bridges across the Peel'.