Early History

The earliest known inhabitants of the area were the Wiradjuri people, who are believed to have occupied the area for tens of thousands of years. The Wiradjuri were a nomadic people who moved between the area and other parts of the state in search of food and water.

The first European settler to the area was John Oxley, who explored the area in 1817. He named the area Coonabarabran, which is believed to be derived from the Wiradjuri term “Kunaburra-bun”, which translates to “Big Waterhole”.

The town of Coonabarabran was officially established in 1839, when William Chalker was granted a land grant of 10,000 acres. He built a homestead which still stands today, and which is now open to the public as a museum.

In the mid 19th century, the area was a bustling hub of activity, with many settlers coming to the area to take advantage of the fertile soil and plenty of water. The town grew as a centre of trade and industry, with many businesses setting up shop in the town.

In the early 20th century, the town was still a thriving community, with a population of over 1000 people. The town became known as the “Granite City” due to its abundance of granite used in the construction of many buildings.

Coonabarabran has a rich and vibrant history, which has shaped the town into what it is today. It is a great place to visit and explore, and to learn more about the history of this special part of Australia.


The town was originally founded in 1876 by William G. Coon and his wife, Mary, who were among the first settlers in the area. The name Coonabarabran is derived from an Aboriginal word meaning “sandy ridge”.

Coonabarabran has a long and rich history of settlement. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, the area saw a boom in its population due to the influx of settlers looking to make a new life in the area. The settlers brought with them farming and ranching skills, which helped to establish the town as a thriving agricultural center.

Today, Coonabarabran is still home to many descendants of the original settlers. The town has a museum dedicated to its history and a heritage center that houses artifacts and documents related to its past. In addition, the town is home to many buildings that were built by settlers, including the Coonabarabran Presbyterian Church and the Coonabarabran Post Office.

The town of Coonabarabran is a testament to the hard work and dedication of the settlers who came to the area to make a new life for themselves. Their efforts helped to create a thriving town that still holds much of its original charm. Whether you’re looking for a quiet place to relax or a bustling town filled with history, Coonabarabran is a great destination for those looking to explore Australia’s settlement history.

20th Century

The 20th century saw Coonabarabran come into its own as a rural center, with the development of a number of industries and the growth of the town. In the early years of the 20th century, the mining and timber industries were the major employers, with the latter providing much-needed employment for many of the town’s residents. The population grew steadily in the first half of the century, as more and more people moved to the area to work in these industries.

The second half of the 20th century saw the emergence of tourism as a major economic driver for the town. With its stunning natural beauty, Coonabarabran is a popular destination for visitors from all over the world. The town’s close proximity to some of the state’s most notable sites, such as the Warrumbungle National Park and the Siding Spring Observatory, has made it an attractive destination for visitors.

In the late 20th century, Coonabarabran also began to be recognized as a center of culture and learning. The town is home to several educational institutions, including Coonabarabran High School, Coonabarabran TAFE, and the Coonabarabran Institute of Technology. The Coonabarabran Library also serves as a valuable resource for local students and residents.

The town’s strong sense of community was also evident in the late 20th century, as many local initiatives were undertaken to improve the quality of life in Coonabarabran. One such example was the establishment of the Coonabarabran Community Arts Centre, which provided a platform for local artists to showcase their work.

As we look to the future, Coonabarabran stands ready to continue to evolve and grow. With its unique blend of rural and urban life


One of the key attractions in Coonabarabran is the Warrumbungle National Park. The park is home to a variety of wildlife, including wallabies, echidnas, kookaburras, and many species of birds. You can also explore a variety of walking trails and experience the breathtaking views of the Warrumbungle Range.

Another popular attraction in Coonabarabran is the Siding Spring Observatory. The observatory is home to a range of telescopes and research facilities, which make it a great place to learn about the stars, galaxies, and our universe. There are also nightly stargazing tours, which give you the chance to witness the night sky in all its glory.

If you’re looking for some fun activities, there are plenty of options in Coonabarabran. For the adrenaline junkies, there’s skydiving, while the more laid-back can go horse riding, mountain biking, or take a scenic drive through the countryside. You can also experience the town’s vibrant nightlife, which features a variety of bars and pubs.

Coonabarabran is also home to some great shopping, with a range of local boutiques and specialty stores. You can find everything from souvenirs to designer labels, making it the perfect place for a spot of retail therapy.

Overall, Coonabarabran is a great destination for those looking to experience a unique and exciting holiday. With a range of attractions and activities, there is something for everyone. So, whether you’re looking for a wildlife adventure, a night of stargazing, or some good old-fashioned retail therapy, Coonabarabran is sure to have something to suit your needs.