A Short History

A Brief Warialda History

The Weraerai people were the first known inhabitants of the land in the Warialda area.  The first official notations for the area by a European were made in 1827 when explorer and botanist, Allan Cunningham, passed through on his overland trek from the Hunter Valley in NSW to the Darling Downs in QLD.  Many land features that he recorded can still be recognised today.  Cunningham reported the existence of a hut in the Warialda area which is believed to have been constructed by an escaped convict, indicating an earlier European existence.

Warialda was one of the earliest towns settled west of the Great Dividing Range with the official European settlement occurring around 1837; however there is sufficient evidence including that of Allan Cunningham, suggesting runaway convicts lived in the area well before 1837.

Warialda was the first town gazetted in the northwest slopes region of NSW and was the original administrative centre for the northwest in the days of early European settlement.  The first Police outpost was established in Warialda in 1840 and a Court of Petty Sessions followed in 1846 and a Post Office in 1848.

In 1882 the Australian Handbook described Warialda in the following way: A township, savings bank, money order office and telegraph station on Reedy Creek, 380 miles north of Sydney in the County of Burnett, elector of Gwydir and police district of Warialda – coach to Tamworth railway station is the means of travelling to Sydney – coach fare 60/-.  The hotels are the ‘Royal’, the ‘Gwydir Arms’ and the ‘Royal Oak’ and there are three large stores. Bank – NSW Bank; Churches – Episcopal and R.C.; Public Buildings – Court House, Police Barracks, Lock-up, Public School with 45 scholars, Hospital.

More information regarding the History of Warialda can be found at the Visitors Information Centre where a museum of local history is housed.


Joshua John Rose, first child of the first free settlers to arrive in the colony.

Joshua John Rose was born in 1826, he was the son of John and Mary Rose. John was the first child born to the first family of free settlers to arrive in the colony. John’s parents Thomas and Jane Rose arrived as free settlers on the ‘Bellona” in 1793 and finally settled in Wilberforce where Thomas built a cottage in the early 1800’s which still stands today and is known as “Rose Cottage”. This cottage is owned and maintained by the Rose Family Society.

Joshua grew up in the Hawkesbury area. He was married to Elizabeth Winton in 1847 and had 12 children 9 daughters and 3 sons. Joshua and Elizabeth moved to Warialda area in the late 1840’s to be with Joshua’s Uncle Henry. Henry Rose had a depasture licence for Gunnee Station. Henry died Christmas Eve 1849 having a stock count of 200 horses and 2,000 cattle. Henry being a bachelor with no children he favored his nephew Joshua, Joshua’s siblings and Joshua’s mother Mary in his will. Joshua received the bulk of the will.

Joshua lived a colourful life on one of his droving trips between Gunnee Station and Maitland. Joshua decided to call in on his sister Eleanor and brother-in-law George Hammond where George managed a farm near Bingara. Joshua and George came apond a man by the name of Mr Ward. Ward was boosting about his gold discovery but would not let on where the find was. Joshua wasn’t happy with that so he decided it was time for a few drinks, by the end of the night Ward was very drunk and the location of the gold find was known and a syndicate was formed which involved Ward, Joshua, George and 2 other men.

Then Joshua built a public house and butcher shop at the goldfields at the present day Upper Bingara. Joshua then moved his family to Maitland where they went into the hotel business. Around this time Joshua bought a horse named Lauristina that was quite successful. In the 1860’s Joshua and his family returned north to Pallal at Bingara.

In September 1874 Joshua was granted a licence for the Horton Inn at Eulowrie near Bingara. In 1881 Elizabeth died and was buried near the Inn where her headstone still stand’s today. Joshua spent his final years at Gournama Station, which is north of Warialda with his son Ernest. Joshua died in 1896 and was buried here in the Warialda Pioneer Cemetery. Many of Joshua descendants still live in Warialda area today along with Joshua’s younger brother George White Rose descendants.

Written by Laureen Hall Sources: The Rose Family of the Bellona Bingara Federation Families


Warialda born Mabel Lee translation of Gao Xingjian’s novel Soul Mountain played a significant role in the author winning the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2000. Click here to download an article about Mabel Lee