WELCOME TO THE UPPER HUNTER
Encompassing the towns of Murrurundi, Scone, Merriwa, Aberdeen and many other small villages, the
Upper Hunter covers about 8,069 square kilometers with a population of about 14,500 people.
Stretching from the rugged mountain ranges in the north to Lake Glenbawn in the east, rolling hills in the
south and golden plains in the west, the Upper Hunter Shire is a diverse, scenic and prosperous area to
visit or make your home. There is plenty to see and do with a range of activities, events and magnificent natural attractions.
The Upper Hunter boasts excellent infrastructure, leading health and community services, quality
education with a variety of sporting and cultural activities. The thriving economic base is centred on the
strong equine and agriculture industries supporting the towns’ buoyant and well serviced retail areas.
This scenic region is home to cattle and sheep grazing lands, cereal cropping country, wineries and prestigious thoroughbred horse studs.
We extend an open invitation to you to come and visit our diverse and beautiful Shire.
Scone - Horse Capital of Australia
Welcome to Scone – the world-renowned thoroughbred breeding centre of Australia.
The magnificent Gabriel Sterk “Mare and Foal” statue in Elizabeth Park adjacent to the New England Highway is testimony to the prominence this community gives to its equine friends.
The Australian Stock Horse and many other horse breeds are nurtured to maturity in the beautiful Upper Hunter, but it is the magnificent thoroughbred horse which populates the world renowned stud farms of the Upper Hunter Valley. Take the time to follow the stud trail and see some of the 100 studs located in the region.
Just 5 minutes drive from Scone centre is Scone’s latest monument to the horse, the Scone Racecourse. This modern course features a manicured turf track and several training tracks, a modern function centre and includes the Hunter Valley Equine Research Centre. All this is set in a unique natural amphitheatre overlooking Kingdon Ponds and Scone Mountain. Scone Racecourse is a must for any visitor especially during the richest country race meet held in May each year.
To the east of Scone, nestling between the foothills is Lake Glenbawn. This aquatic playground, several times the size of Sydney Harbour, is as another ‘must see’ destination for visitors. Its huge expanse of sheltered waters is host to water skiers, sailors, rowers and fisherman. Cabin accommodation, caravan park and camping sites are all available which makes it an ideal place to get away from it all. Don’t miss lunch at the kiosk overlooking the lake or watching the sun set over the water.
In May of each year, Scone and Upper Hunter Horse Festival is packed with all sorts of activities including a street parade which has grown to include up to 100 floats, yearling and brood mare sales, rodeo, 2 days of top class thoroughbred racing including the historic Scone Cup, King of the Ranges competition and many horse related sports throughout the festival.
Among the historic buildings of the town are the Old Court Theatre and Upper Hunter Historical Society located on Kingdon Street. With some fantastic exhibitions you will be able to spend hours in the Historical Society buildings. The Civic Theatre in Kelly St opened in 1938 and is the last remaining art deco theatre designed by Guy Crick and Bruce Purse.
Drop in to the Scone Visitor Information and Wine Centre to find out what is on, organise your stay, buy some of our local wines and view our Horse Interpretive Centre. Wander the main street and see how many of the horse silhouettes you can find.
Aberdeen - On the Hunter
Welcome to Aberdeen, the first town on the Hunter River as you travel south towards Newcastle. This picturesque town is the southern gateway to Lake Glenbawn and the Barrington Tops National Park.
Segenhoe Valley is a short drive to the north east from town, where you can drive past famous thoroughbred studs such as Darley and Vinery, and cross the Pages River at Allan Bridge (an example of a timber swing bridge).
Visit the famous Segenhoe Inn or Campbell’s Store on the New England Highway. Stay a night and wander through the town.
Murrurundi - Crown of the Hunter
Welcome to Murrurundi, situated at the head of the Hunter Valley, embraced by the Liverpool Range and the Pages River.
Visit the local art galleries and watch our artists in residence as they work on another masterpiece. If you have the inclination, ask about art classes and discover your hidden talents as many other locals have. Visit one of our major annual or biannual art exhibitions that may be on display in the local RSL Hall, or drop in to the many fantastic art galleries on Mayne Street.
Magnificent mountains surround the town and you will find some great walks and lookout opportunities at places like Eye of the Needle and the top of the range on the New England Highway. If golf is your game you will not get a more picturesque golf course than Royal Murrurundi Golf Course, just follow the road to Paradise Park.
The Upper Hunter is famous world over for its thoroughbred breeding industry and you can see a fine example of this at Emirates Park just south of Murrurundi on the New England Highway.
If you are travelling towards Scone, stop in at Burning Mountain near Wingen and take the fantastic signposted walk following the trail of the underground burning coal seam to the viewing platform located at the face of the seam. Stop in at the Durham Hotel in Wingen and discover the Wingen Maid formation so named by the local Aborigines.
The Murrurundi district was noted for its fine wool production. In the 1840s teamsters and stockmen frequented the Woolpack Inn and the White Hart Hotel. The railway arrived in 1872 and Murrurundi became a Municipality in 1890.
You can still walk the streets of Murrurundi and see some of the historic buildings including the police station and courthouse. Grand old hotels speak of a bygone era when the town was a shunting station for trains travelling through the tunnel at Ardglen and the population was over 3,000.
Shale oil was mined to the north of Murrurundi during WWII. A cable car system hauled the shale from over the ranges to Murrurundi for processing.
Visit the local historical society and spend some time exploring the history of this cultural rural town.
Lake Glenbawn State Park is a haven for water sport lovers, campers and fishermen alike and boasts a wide range of recreational activities throughout the year.
Situated on the foreshores of Glenbawn Dam at the foot of the spectacular Woolooma and Mount Royal Ranges the State Park provides a magnificent setting for a wide range of recreational pursuits both on land and water-based activities.
Highlights of the year include the Glenbawn Fishing classic on the October Long Weekend. The Classic is one of the largest catch and release competitions in the State offering thousands of dollars in prizes for amateur anglers of all ages. It draws over 300 entrants each year and is open to all comers.
Please note that all vehicles must be registered and road rules apply to all roads within the park. All firearms are prohibited. All dogs to be on leads and controlled at all times. No cats are permitted in the Park. Fires allowed in fireplaces provided unless otherwise notified.
Nature’s Playground in the Upper Hunter
A Brief History
Henry Dangar entered the Upper Hunter in August, 1824 to make an unofficial survey of the area, crossing the Hunter River close to present day Aberdeen.
In 1825, Peter Macintyre, on behalf of Potter Macqueen settled Segenhoe. This comprised not only the district known by that name but also the area extending from the present New England Highway as it passes through Aberdeen eastwards along the Hunter River to a little south of the Lake Glenbawn Recreation Area.
Prompted by Potter Macqueen the village of Aberdeen was gazetted in 1838. Aberdeen became a municipality in 1894 very soon after the founding of the Australian Chilling and Freezing Meat Works.
The Meat Works closed in the 1980s and this heralded the end of an era for the town with over 300 jobs leaving the region.