top of page
Community Arts Centre Hallway



The 2020 Cultural Plan will ensure that DRC can commit to policy-making based on a solid foundation; developed with, and responding to community and stakeholder feedback, with transparent processes for reporting, monitoring, and review.

Historical Timeline


The Wiradjuri People are the people of the three rivers, the Wambool (Macquarie River) the Calare (Lachlan River) and the Murrumbidgee. Long before Europeans settled in the region, the Wiradjuri people had lived on these lands for more than 40,000 years.

Discovery, Civic & Law

Culture & Recognition of People & Place

Growth & Education



John Oxley, explorer and Surveyor-General for NSW, leads the first expedition down the Macquarie River.


Robert Venour Dulhunty is granted a license for Dubbo Station, a property located 5km from the current City of Dubbo. Dulhunty had begun running cattle in the Dubbo area sometime between 1829 and 1833.

Old Dubbo House

Image Credit: Photographer Unknown, Old Dubbo House, c.1880, Local Studies Collection, Dubbo Regional Council,  D000083.


John Maughan acquires the license for Dundullimal Station from Charles and Dalmahoy Campbell. Between 1843-1852 Maughan extends and improves the original slab hut, creating a large homestead. It remains the oldest known squatters homestead in New South Wales.


Dubbo is proclaimed a place to hold a Court of Petty Sessions. The first serving magistrates are Robert Dulhunty, Edwin B Cornish and John Maughan.


Jean Emile Serisier establishes a general store at what is now the southern end of Macquarie Street. He would go on to become a prominent local businessman with one of the largest stores in the region. 


January. A post office is established in Dubbo and a regular mail service from Wellington to Dubbo commences.


2 February. Nicholas Hyeronimus gains a license to serve alcohol at Dubbo's first hotel, the Macquarie Inn.  


23 November. A notice formally proclaiming the Village of Dubbo is published in the New South Wales Government Gazette.



The first school in Dubbo is established. It is believed to have been located on the corner of Macquarie and Wingewarra streets.


13 February. A branch of the Commercial Bank opens in Dubbo. The bank later purchases a site at 193 Macquarie Street, where a new two storey sandstone branch is erected. The building remains today.

Commercial Bank

Image Credit: Merlin Beaufoy, Commercial Bank, Macquarie Street, Dubbo, c.1873, Local Studies Collection, Dubbo Regional Council, D0000311.


January. Dubbo’s first newspaper, the ‘Dubbo Dispatch and Wellington Independent’ is established. Owned by Thomas and Martin Manning, the first editor was William England Morgan.


A temporary public common is dedicated at the junction of Cobra and Darling streets. This land would later become Victoria Park.


14 January. Bushranger John Dunn escapes from the Dubbo police barracks. He is recaptured one day later less than two miles from Dubbo. John Dunn was executed at Darlinghurst Gaol on 19 March 1866.


24 May. A new bridge spanning the Macquarie River in Dubbo is officially named. With some dispute over the naming of the bridge, (it was christened both the ‘Oxley’ and the ‘Albert’ in the space of an hour) , the official name would remain the ‘Oxley’. Locally, it would be referred to as the ‘White Bridge’.


Western NSW experiences a disastrous flood. Low lying areas of Dubbo, Wellington, Narromine and Montefiores are flooded. Thousands of stock are lost and many are forced to evacuate their homes.


The Dubbo Hospital is officially opened. Dr Tibbits is appointed the first medical officer, while Mr and Mrs McDonald are selected as the first Overseer and Matron.


19 February. Dubbo is gazetted as a Municipal Council. The first council election is held on 17 April, with Mr James Samuels elected as Dubbo's first Mayor.


28 April. At 4am a disastrous fire breaks out behind shops on the eastern side of Macquarie Street. A number of shops are damaged or destroyed, including the second story of Serisier & Co. It was the biggest fire Dubbo had ever experienced.


2 February. The railway line between Dubbo and Wellington is officially opened with the arrival of the first train in Dubbo.


Designed by James Barnett, Dubbo's new Post and Telegraph Office, located on Macquarie Street is officially opened.


The 1891 census records the official population of the Dubbo municipality as 3,563. With the inclusion of West Dubbo and Newtown, the population is 4,584.


8 April. The new Dubbo Courthouse on Brisbane Street is officially opened by Sir Frederick Daley, Chief Justice of New South Wales.


26 April. Dubbo’s new waterworks are officially opened by Sir George Gibbs. A 60ft infiltration well pumped into a newly built reservoir is able to supply the town with 360,000 gallons of water.


5 June. A volunteer Fire Brigade is established in Dubbo, with William Stewart selected as the first captain. At the time of its establishment the Fire Brigade has no equipment.

First Dubbo Volunteer Fire Bridge

Image Credit: Photographer Unknown, First Dubbo Volunteer Fire Bridge, c.1900, Local Studies Collection, Dubbo Regional Council, D0001535


25 September. Dubbo experiences a severe flood, with waters rising to an estimated 14 metres, flooding many buildings in Macquarie Street.


The winter of 1895 sees the start of serious drought across the western plains. Harsh, dry conditions persist until 1903. The period is considered one of the worst drought’s experienced.


22 June. A procession through town celebrates the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria. The procession ends with the unveiling of a new fountain in the enlarged pond at the centre of ‘Queens Park’. The pond was officially dedicated as ‘Victoria Lakes’.


16 November. The Dubbo Telephone Exchange is officially opened by Mayoress, Mary Ryan.  There were 26 subscribers to the Exchange.


5 November. An Aboriginal Reserve in the District of Dubbo is gazetted. The site at the junction of the Macquarie and Talbragar rivers covers an area of 18 acres. It would become known as the Talbragar Reserve.



17 May. The Dubbo Co-operative Milling Company Ltd opens its new flour mill. The mill is still in operation, run by Ben Furney Flour Mills.


17 December. Eleven major fires occur on this day in and around Dubbo, destroying a number of buildings, including the Occidental Hotel on the corner of Talbragar and Darling streets.


13 February. A new bridge across the Macquarie River opens. Replacing the old bridge built in 1866, it would also be known as the ‘White Bridge’.


26 September. The Dubbo Town Band is officially formed. The band supplied music at civic and community events in Dubbo for many years. Also known as the Dubbo District Band, it was officially renamed the Dubbo Citizen Band in September 1911.


17 March. The increasing population of the region sees the creation of the Talbragar Shire Council, proclaimed under the Local Government Shires Act, 1905. On 24 November, Isaac Roberts is elected as the first President of Talbragar Shire Council.


Alexander Riley joins the NSW Police Force as an Aboriginal Tracker.


November. Tripp and Henderson’s drapery and clothing store opens on Talbragar Street. This store still operates today as Henderson’s Menswear.


7 March. Dubbo's first bowling green, located in Victoria Park, is officially opened.

Dubbo City Bowling Club

Image Credit: Photographer Unknown, Dubbo City Bowling Club, Wingewarra Street, Dubbo, 1921, Local Studies Collection, Dubbo Regional Council, D0000899


August. An Australian Infantry Force (AIF) military training camp is established at the Dubbo showgrounds. The camp was closed in November 1916. 


4 July. Dubbo High School is officially opened. It is now the site of the Western Plains Cultural Centre.


3 April. The national census records the population of Dubbo as 5,093.


12 May. A new fire station located on the corner of Wingewarra and Darlings streets is officially opened.


April-August. An emergency hospital is established at the Dubbo showgrounds to assist during the outbreak of Spanish Influenza in the region.


25 April. Electricity is officially switched on during a ceremony at the Dubbo Town Hall.


13 May. North Dubbo Primary School is officially opened.


25 February. Dubbo’s first radio broadcast takes places as part of a fundraising appeal for Dubbo Hospital. Lasting one hour, it was directed by Mr Douglas Holmes at the Tamworth Street Radio station, VK2MX.


30 April. Western Air Services begins the first commercial passenger air service between Dubbo and Sydney.


2 December. The Dubbo Olympic Swimming Pool is officially opened by Minister for Works, Mr Spooner. The pool had opened to the public on 30 November.


December. A school is established for the community at the Talbragar Reserve.


5 September. The first soldiers arrive at the newly built Dubbo Army Camp. The camp was designed to house and train up to 3,000 men serving in the Second World War.

Group of WW11 Soldiers seated in a hall

Image Credit: Group of WWII Soldiers seated in a hall, c.1940, Local Studies Collection, Dubbo Regional Council, D0000418


27 June. The Aborigines Progressive Association is formed in Dubbo. Local Aboriginal activists Bill Ferguson and Pearl Gibbs are founding members.


December. The RAAF Stores Depot No.6 is officially relocated inland to Dubbo. The new depot was constructed by local building firm, Wallace and McGee Pty Ltd.


5 July. Dubbo District Hospital is gazetted as a base hospital.



31 March – 5 April. Dubbo experiences heavy flooding along the Macquarie River. 1950 will be documented as the wettest year on record.


4 July. Following his final election speech as an independent candidate for the federal election, Aboriginal activist William Ferguson collapses at his home. He later dies at Dubbo Hospital of hypertensive heart disease.


17 September. The Dubbo Municipal Abattoir and Country Killing Works is officially opened. The abattoir would later become part of Fletcher International Exports.


25 February. The worst flood in Dubbo's history occurs, when the Macquarie River floods large areas of the town, including most of the central business district.

Man on a canoe in Brisbane Street

Image Credit: Photographer unknown, Man on a Canoe in Brisbane Street in the 1955 Flood, 1955, Local Studies Collection, Dubbo Regional Council, D0000554


13 February. University of Sydney students undertaking a bus tour of regional NSW to highlight the living conditions of Aboriginal people arrive in Dubbo. The tour was instrumental in highlighting the discrimination faced by Aboriginal people in regional NSW. Today it is known as the Freedom Ride.


Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip the Duke of Edinburgh visit Dubbo for the day. During their time they visit Victoria Park and the Dubbo Show.


Aboriginal activist Pearl Gibbs, is the only women to be elected to the Aborigines Welfare Board. Finding it difficult to implement the decision and change that would benefit the community, Gibbs resigns in 1957.


5 July. The first Westhaven school is opened, the Westhaven School provides education and care services for disabled children.


17 February. Dubbo receives the ‘test pattern’ telecast from CBN Channel 8, based at Orange. The first television programme is broadcast on 17 March 1962.


31 August. The Dubbo Gaol is officially closed.


30 August. The air terminal at the Dubbo aerodrome is officially opened. The Dubbo City Council had taken ownership and management of the airport in September 1969.


26 September. The L H Ford Bridge, spanning the Macquarie River, is officially opened, replacing the old White Bridge. The bridge was named in commemoration of Mayor and State Member, Leslie Hunter Ford.

Vehicles and pedestrians on newly opened L.H Ford Bridge, Dubbo

Image Credit: Photographer Unknown, Vehicles and pedestrians on newly opened L.H Ford Bridge, Dubbo, 1969, Local Studies Collection, Dubbo Regional Council, D0000346


18 August. Burrendong Dam is officially opened by Premier, Sir Robert Askin.

erial view of intake tower and wall during the construction of Burrendong Dam

Image Credit: Image Credit Photograph Unknown, Aerial view of intake tower and wall during the construction of Burrendong Dam, c.1967, Local Studies Collection, Dubbo Regional Council, D0001802


10 August. Dubbo local, Katrina Gibbs, a member of the Dubbo Amateur Athletics Club, wins gold for high jump at the 1978 Commonwealth Games.


15 May. Dubbo’s first radio station, 2DU opens a new ultra-modern studio in Carrington Avenue. The station is still in operation today.


17 July – 1 August. Dubbo locals, Peter Coughlan (swimming) and Brian Tink (boxing) compete at the 1976 Montreal Olympics.


7 September. Dubbo Square, the first fully-enclosed, air conditioned shopping centre in the region, opens to the public. The centre includes a Coles supermarket and 30 speciality stores.


12 June. Orana Mall Shopping Centre officially opens for its first day of trading. The $11M shopping complex includes 160,000 sq. ft. of shopping space, incorporating a Woolworths Supermarket, Big W store and 30 speciality stores.

bottom of page