Armidale Things to Do

  • St. Mary's & St. Joseph's Cathedral
    St. Mary's & St. Joseph's Cathedral
    by balhannah
  • St. Mary's & St. Joseph's Cathedral
    St. Mary's & St. Joseph's Cathedral
    by balhannah
  • Stop on the free tour
    Stop on the free tour
    by balhannah

Most Recent Things to Do in Armidale

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    SCENIC DRIVE 19

    by balhannah Updated May 24, 2015

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    SCENIC DRIVE 19 -This scenic drive was recommended to us by the info centre. It was a drive which had many interesting stops.

    Sights to see on the drive:

    Dangarsleigh War Memorial, an unusual war memorial, worth a stop and a read.

    Dangars Gorge & Falls - These were dry when we were there, but have seen photos of them with lots of water going over and they look magnificent.
    You can camp or stay at ‘Dangar Falls Lodge’. Caravans, campervans and tents are all welcome.
    Contact the owners for availability and camping costs on (02) 6657 2131.
    Owners will come and collect camping fees.
    Facilities include : Picnic tables, Fireplaces, Toilets, Hot showers, Water, Power – this is limited and you need to have your own electrical lead, Dogs are OK – conditions apply.
    Suitable for small to medium caravans only.

    Deeargee Woolshed - Built in 1869, its an unusual design as it has a terraced roofline and an octagonal shearing stand. The Woolshed is heritage listed and fully operational for shearing, sorting, pressing, baling and all other operations.

    Gostwyck Chapel - Is a small Chapel constructed from bricks made at Gostwyck Station. It was built in 1921 in memory of Major Clive Dangar who lost his life in WWI. The Chapel's official name is "All Saints Anglican Church." I hope you can come here in Autumn as we did as it is spectacular!

    Two hundred Elm Trees line the road to Gostwyck Station.

    If you have the time, do this round trip where you get to see historical sites as well as nice scenery, and hopefully water going over the falls!

    It is well worth doing!

    Gotswyck Chapel Gotswyck Chapel Deeargee Woolshed Dangersleigh War Memorial Map of tourist drives in area
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    NEW ENGLAND REGIONAL ART MUSEUM

    by balhannah Written May 23, 2015

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    This Museum is also known as NERAM, A LIVING MUSEUM.
    The Museum has 6 galleries, one which has a permanent exhibition and the others are changing exhibitions, either works from its own collections or from travelling exhibitions.

    During my visit, most of the work was modern art and not my taste at all. Of course, at another time it could be completely different!

    Entry and exit is through the Gift shop.

    ADMISSION IS FREE ALTHOUGH THEY ASK FOR A DONATION

    NO PHOTO'S ALLOWED. They did allow me to take some in the gift shop to put with this review.

    OPEN - Tuesday - Sunday 10am - 4pm

    NERAM Gift shop NERAM Gift shop
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    THE MUSEUM OF ANTIQUITIES

    by balhannah Updated May 23, 2015

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    The Museum of Antiquities is at the New England University, close to Booloominbah House.

    This Museum is the only regional ancient history and archaeology museum in Australia. it was signposted, so I just followed the signs and found the museum, was a bit worried that nobody was at the Museum if you wanted to questions. It just didn't feel right entering a Museum with so many valuables and having nobody there to watch you!

    I have been to quite a few of these types of Museums and after visiting this one, I thought it hard to beat!

    The artefacts date from 100,000 BC to the 20th century.
    It was set out well and has an excellent selection of antiquities from the ancient Mediterranean and the Near East, ethnographic material from Australia, South East Asia, New Guinea, the Pacific region, Mesoamerica and Africa. The collections are large and take a while to look at. I was surprised at the quality and quantity of items dating B.C. and thoroughly enjoyed the ethnographic displays. Pots, pans, ceramics, statues, weapons, implements, glassware, fabrics, coins, skulls, ancient cities made to scale and much more!

    If you like this type of Museum, then it's A MUST SEE!
    Be prepared to take quite a while reading and viewing the displays

    THE MUSEUM IS FREE ENTRY WITH DONATIONS GRATEFULLY ACCEPTED.
    I was very happy to give a donation as this Museum anywhere else would have high entry fee.

    Since being there, I have read guides to the displays are available for $1.
    Unfortunately I never found them!

    Opening times
    Monday–Friday: 9.30 am–4.30 pm.
    The Museum is closed on weekends, public holidays and from 24 December–1 January (inclusive)

    The Museum is located on the ground floor of the Arts Building.

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    ARMIDALE RAILWAY STATION

    by balhannah Updated May 23, 2015

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    What a grand Victorian building is the Armidale Railway station.

    I never expected to see such a beautiful building as this! Armidale railway station was being restored as there was scaffolding covering a small area while the rest of the building looked to be perfect!

    This stylish building has decorative verandahs with cast iron columns and filigree detailing. When I walked inside, I stepped back in time. Behind glass surrounded by a dark polished wood like oak, was the Clerk, but where were the paying customers? Must have been a quiet time of the day.
    The Platform had style too! Arches surrounded every door, a huge clock was against the wall and the verandah was decorative like the front one.

    After seeing the extravagance, I can understand how the poor man who won the building contract in 1882, under estimated the cost to build this grand old Station and lost money! The first train arrived in 1883 before the building was complete.

    Located in one of the Station's rooms is a Toy library and childrens centre.

    Adjacent to the Armidale Railway Station, is the Armidale Railway Museum. I wasn't interested in this, but thought I would mention it for those who are "train" buffs.
    Open 11.00-11:30 am Monday-Friday.
    Admission - FREE

    Armidale Railway station Armidale Railway Station The platform
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    HERITAGE WALK - EAST MALL

    by balhannah Updated May 23, 2015

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    East Mall I didn't like as much as "the Mall," even so I found some great heritage listed buildings.

    On the corner of East Mall and Faulkner streets are the Imperial Hotel and the Westpac Bank.

    The Imperial Hotel I loved! This two-storey brick and stucco Hotel was built in 1890 and features beautifully decorated cast-iron railing on the verandahs, and parapets decorated with Grecian urns and pediments on arches. When it first opened, the Publican was keen to get business so he provided horse drawn-coaches for those arriving by train. I saw the old pole with a horses head and ring for the horses to be tied to. I didn't go inside to see the Victorian styled interior.

    Across the road and on the corner is a Georgian revival styled building that was the Bank of N.S.W., now is the Westpac Bank. Even though it has the date 1817 above the door, that is the date of the foundation of the Bank of N.S.W. the building itself wasn't constructed until 1938.

    A few steps away is another Georgian Revival building belonging to the AMP society. I found this one more elegant than the Westpac Bank as it had a lovely sandstone entrance, sculptured figurines and arched windows with shutters.

    Hanna's Arcade is on East Mall. The Arcade is named after Hanna's who were one of the longest running family businesses in Armidale. Look for the large stained glass window depicting rural industry, education and the cathedrals of Armidale.

    Imperial Hotel Imperial Hotel Westpac Bank AMP Society Horse tie
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    THE ARMIDALE SCHOOL (TAS)

    by balhannah Written May 21, 2015

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    We are still on the Heritage drive when we come across number 22, a massive building that looks like a Manor house in the English countryside.

    For me, this was one of the finest heritage listed buildings in Armidale!

    Well, it turns out investors wanted to build an English style school, so in 1893 construction began and by 1894, this impressive building was a School ready to take in its first students. It was a boys only Anglican boarding school.
    Not only is the architecture impressive, but so are the grounds it's located in. Beside the entrance gate I found the chapel built in 1902.
    There is NO ENTRY so I just had to look through the railings.

    The Armidale School Armidale school entrance The Chapel
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    COTTAGES IN ARMIDALE

    by balhannah Updated May 21, 2015

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    On the heritage drive and also on the heritage walk, quite a few cottages built in different styles of architecture are listed. It's great they are on the heritage list and saved for future generations to see
    All of these cottages I saw on the heritage drive.

    Number 2 at 160 Kirkwood street, was an old Cottage that was built in 1873 as a Farm-house. Most of the original architecture is still in place, only it's a modern family living in this old cottage today!

    Number 3 at 18 Millie street, is a family home built in 1880 for Lord Beaconsfield. The House was named "Beaconsfield" after him, but was changed later to "Kiola" by Archbishop White. The home is not how it originally was, as early last century it was re-modelled in Federation style.

    Number 4 at 307 Beardy street is a fine example of a timber house built at the turn of the century. It has been restored and painted in heritage colours, winning a heritage award in 1991.

    Number 9 at 247 Brown street which is opposite Armidale Railway station is a Georgian cottage which used to be the Police lock-up! This building dates to around 1885.

    Number 13 at 164 Mann street is named "Esrom" the owners name spelt backwards ( Mr. Morse.) This house is built in the Armidale blue bricks in the 1890s. These bricks were local and very popular at the time..

    Number 16 at 208 Markham street was built in 1882, making it one of the earliest cottages built in the district. It is a brick cottage with distinctive features.

    Number 20 on Uralla road is known as old "Bishopscourt." This used to the home of the Anglican Bishop, then it became a Restaurant and now is a private home. NO ENTRY is the case and trees block the views from the road.

    There are many more wonderful old homes and cottages scattered around Armidale, so take a drive or a walk if you like seeing this part of Armidale history.

    Farmhouse Timber cottage Former Police Lock--up Timber cottage
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    STAINED GLASS WINDOWS OF BOOLOOMINBAH

    by balhannah Updated May 21, 2015

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    The stained glass windows is what everybody comes to see!

    I wasn't sure where they were as there wasn't any information on where to enter the building. I happened to see a Uni Teacher who was kind enough to take me in through the main entrance and to a room on the right where they were located. The rest of the house is out of bounds.

    Entry is into the hall where a fireplace with tall oak mantelpiece of 'Gothic' design first grabs your attention! Before going any further, look up above the main staircase as this is where the unique Gordon Window is. The staircase is roped off so you can't get close to it, still you can see it quite clearly.

    The window is divided into 7 sections, each representing a scene from General C.G. Gordon's (known as 'Gordon of Khartoum') life, each with a given year and date.

    1 - Is in the bottom RH corner of the window showing a 15 year old Gordon entering the Royal Military Academy in 1848.
    2 - 1855 - showing Gordon at the siege of Sebastopol during the Crimean War.
    3 - 1863 - Gordon is in China where he commanded the "Victorious Army of Mercenaries."
    4 - 1867 - He is a Victorian hero! When based at Gravesend, he spent much of his time, money and energy trying to help the poor children in the area. He described this time as " the happiest of his life."
    5 - 1877 -Gordon is made Governor General of the region south of Egypt including Sudan.
    6 - 1879 - he is seen negotiating with the King of Abyssinia.
    7 - 1885 - This scene is in Khartoum minutes before he is beheaded by the forces of Muhammad Ahmad.

    Other stained glass windows in Booloominbah that can be seen by the public were of Australian fauna and flora. The twelve panels surrounding the door to the verandah are of native birds and flowers.

    These are stunning and a must see!

    Gordon window Gordon window Booloominbah Booloominbah Booloominbah
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    BOOLOOMINBAH

    by balhannah Updated May 19, 2015

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    Booloominbah is number 32 on the Heritage Drive.

    I had seen this house before, only this time I knew I would be able to view a limited part of the interior and see some beautiful stained glass windows.

    This house is situated in the grounds of the University of New England, situated off Queen Elizabeth Drive. We drove into the University and found Booloominbah was signposted all the way, quite easy to find, not so the parking! Parking is limited and is paid parking.

    'Booloominbah' is what I call a Mansion, although it is quoted as "a fashionable English style Gentleman's residence."
    The house was designed by J. Horbury Hunt for Frederick White. Building began in 1883 and wasn't completed until 1888. No wonder, as this house has 45 rooms and is built in a mix of English and American styles to suit Australia. The English architecture is a mix of Gothic from the 1850's and Queen Anne from the 1870's. Decorative brickwork, many large chimneys, a terracotta shingle tiled roof, gargoyles, a verandah for the Australian weather and a Tower which was added around 1900 make this an impressive house! The north side was purposely left without a verandah so the winter sun could penetrate the house and warm it. On this side is a step for the lady riders to mount their horse.

    Mr. White died in 1903 and his wife stayed on in the house until her death in 1933. In 1938 her son-in-law donated it to the New England University who now use it as their administrative centre.

    The interior design is a standard English Gentleman's House. The public rooms are spacious, the family rooms were on the second level and clearly divided from the servant's quarters and living areas. Mottos are over the archways and above the fireplace in the family bedrooms - this you can only read about, not see.
    I did see the terracotta relief which was done in 1899, a memorial in memory of the owner's daughter who at 22 years of age, drowned while trying to help her sister.

    The front of the house is impressive! There is a large lawned area where people can sit or picnic, and there is a café at the end of the house.

    I picked up a FREE BOOKLET on Booloominbah at the visitor information centre.

    Entry is free to a small part of the house, the rest of the house is being used by the University of New England.

    A 8-ha deer park where fallow deer roam, originally imported from Indonesia by Frederick White in the 1890s . We saw many wallabies and kangaroos.

    Booloominbah is on the National Trust heritage list.
    The house was so big, I didn't have enough room to fit all of it in a photo!

    I think it is well worth coming to see as Australia doesn't have many houses like this, and the stained glass windows are special!

    See next review Stained glass windows Booloominbah

    Front of Booloominbah Booloominbah side & rear Part of the back of Booloominbah Terracotta relief - 1899
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    APEX AND DRUMMOND LOOK-OUT

    by balhannah Written May 19, 2015

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    The Apex Look-out is where you go for a view over Armidale. We drove through the large entrance pillars and into the huge free car-park. There was only one other person here! There wasn't any seating, so we sat on the low wall to pick out landmarks of Armidale. We found the Cathedral spires easily and some other buildings, plus lots of trees in autumn colours.
    It's a good look-out for a city view!

    The "Drummond" part of the look-out, is a white Memorial column located at the back of the car-park. This was built in honour of David Drummond who was a State & Federal Politician.

    On it is this verse...
    "Dreamer of Dreams! Take the taunt with gladness knowing that God beyond the world we see has woven that which counts with men as madness into the fabric of the years to be!"

    View of Armidale Drummond Memorial
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    "COTSWOLD GARDENS" & "EYNSFORD"

    by balhannah Written May 19, 2015

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    These are numbers 29 & 30 on the Heritage drive.

    Located quite close to each other, we came across Cotswold gardens first. This was built at the turn of the century by the founder of the Armidale Drapery. The building has double gables, shingles, leadlight windows and a decorative form of render, and now is a Best Western Motel.
    Located in Marsh Street, Armidale

    From Marsh street, we turn into Jeffrey street to see a double storey Tudor Revival home. Unfortunately for us doing the heritage drive, this house is behind a high fence and has 2 guard dogs who let you know they are there! A little piece of England in Armidale, it too has leadlight windows. I couldn't see much of the building, but I could see the garden through the gates. Quite a few years back this garden was the winner of garden competitions. With the sun in the wrong direction, it was a no win situation for me!

    We still follow Jeffrey street to our next stop, Apex and Drummond Look-out.

    Eynsford
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    RACECOURSE / SPORTSGROUND / SHOWGROUNDS

    by balhannah Updated May 18, 2015

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    Some places on the heritage drive I didn't take photos of as there wasn't much to see.

    Moving on from Mallam House, we passed by the Armidale racecourse. This old Racecourse ran its first race in 1842, before the Armidale Jockey club was formed in 1856.
    You can check the website for when meetings are held.
    http://www.armidalejockeyclub.com.au/

    Regular Race-day Admission charges
    Adults $7
    Ticket prices vary for feature Race Days including the Armidale Cup.

    Armidale Cup Day Admission Adults $15 Concession $12

    Adjoining the Racecourse is the Memorial Sportsground. This section originally belonged to the Racecourse.

    Our next stop was the Armidale Showgrounds. We were able to drive in through the Memorial Gates to see the old Grandstands and some interesting Pavilions. The Showgrounds has been here since 1870. Every year Agricultural shows are held here.

    If your looking for somewhere cheaper to camp than a caravan park, then this is the place for you.

    Fees $20 (powered site), $10 (unpowered site), $5 (shower - casual user), BBQs free, pets allowed.
    Phone 0400 966 665 or 0400 639 630
    Address Dumaresq Street (east)

    Armidale showgrounds Armidale showgrounds
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    O'CONNOR CATHOLIC COLLEGE

    by balhannah Written May 16, 2015

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    On the opposite side of the Showgrounds is the O'Connor Catholic College.

    In 1905, 12 De La Salle Brothers from Ireland and France arrived in Australia. They came to Armidale and opened De La Salle College, a boys only High School in 1906. The French Brothers left just three months later, luckily some more Irishmen volunteered to come to Armidale. Today the Ursuline Convent and the De La Salle College have combined to make one.

    The architecture of these buildings was grand, although I believe this is not all that was once standing!

    O'Connor college
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    SELF-GUIDED HERITAGE DRIVE

    by balhannah Updated May 16, 2015

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    Another pamphlet I picked up at the Visitor Information centre, was the "Armidale self-guided Heritage drive."
    This is set out like the walk only there are 32 places to visit. The pamphlet has information on all 32 sites. On the back is a map with all the numbers making the trail very easy to follow.

    Once again it begins at the Visitor centre. We were lucky we had our car and were able to do this drive. Some of the cottages were a bit hard to find as they were hidden behind trees and shrubs and hard to see.
    You can begin following the trail from any number. Just check the map and make sure your heading in the right direction - this is what we did!

    We began at no 24, "Mallam House" as it was nearest our accommodation. Mallam House obviously had been restored and was looking pretty good for a house dating back to 1870. The house was built by one of Armidale's pioneer chemists, not to be lived in by him but to be rented out. The first tenant was the Catholic Bishop. Hardly any alterations have been made to this house making it one of the best examples of a mid-Victorian fashionable house still standing

    Mallam house
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    HERITAGE WALK - Sherrif's cottage & Police station

    by balhannah Updated May 16, 2015

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    I love following Heritage walking trails!

    I picked up the FREE "Self-guided Heritage walk" pamphlet which is numbered from 1 to 34, each a heritage listed building or park. The pamphlet is good as it gives detailed information on the number your viewing and has a numbered map on the back.

    The trail begins on the corner of Dumaresq & Marsh streets, which is known as "McLean's Corner." This is where the Visitor centre is located.

    When I reach the corner of Faulkner & Moore streets I find the building on the corner that's of interest, for when this brick building with timber verandah was built in 1870, it was the town "lock-up." Later it became the "Magistrate's" residence and known as the " Sherrif's Cottage." It was situated behind the Armidale Court House, quite convenient for when a person was sentenced to gaol!

    Across the road is the Armidale Police Station and the site of the "new" lock-up. Although not listed on the walk, I found it worth looking at because of the interesting architecture of the building. In 1901, a Government Architect designed the building as a Lock-up and Keepers quarters. The design is "Federation Arts and Crafts." This brick building with sandstone trim and decorative chimney’s is typical of Police buildings of the time. The building has been used as a Police facility for over 100 years.

    Sherrif's Cottage Rear of Sherrif's Cottage Police Station
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