The Newcomers Guide to Tenterfield

Tenterfield is one of the most iconic towns in New South Wales and is situated in the region of New England near the intersection of Bruxner Highway & New England Highway. The town is easily reached by road transport from Brisbane, which is a three-hour drive away, Armidale, a two-hour drive away, and Sydney, which takes eight hours. Tucked away in a valley, Tenterfield is located to the north-west of the Northern Tableland Plateau underneath Mount MacKenzie and next to the Great Driving Range. The population of Tenterfield shire was 6,986 at the time of the 2015 census.

Because of where it lies on the major route between Brisbane and Sydney and its proximity to an abundance of regional centres, Tenterfield is a hub for promoting the federation of various Australian colonies.

The History of Tenterfield, NSW

Tenterfield became a township back in 1851, though it’s original settlers, the Jukembal people, made homes there thousands of years before western arrival. Before being declared a town, one of the first premiers of NSW, Sir Stuart Donaldson, raised 18,000 sheep on land that he called Tenterfield station. His holdings, which were unfenced at the time, covered over 100,000 acres, and the settlement soon started attracting new settlers, with the first Post Office opening in 1849.

WW2 fears prompted the Australian government to earmark Tenterfield as a battleground in the event of a Japanese invasion, which is why, in 1942, thousands of Australian soldiers were stationed there. Nowadays, the population is nearly 7,000, and the area remains a popular tourist attraction thanks to its historical significance to NSW and the nation.

Tenterfield Railway

Tenterfield’s first railway station opened in 1884, connecting the cities of Sydney and Brisbane. In 1932, the North Coast Line bypassed the original route, leading to the closure of the station. Now, the building that the station occupied is a museum that’s open to the public.

The Iconic Federation Speech

Many people accredit the eventual formation of the federation in 1901 to a speech made in Tenterfield by Sir Henry Parkes in 1889 when he was on his way to Sydney from Brisbane.

The Main Industries in Tenterfield

Most of Tenterfield’s economy revolves around the breeding of beef cattle and production of superfine wool from the Merino sheep. The district boasts an impressive ten State forests that cover a vast area of 7540ha. There is also an active tourism industry and plenty of wineries in the town and the surrounding regions.

Tenterfield Media

The Breeze and Rebel FM are the town’s only commercial radio stations, both owned by Rebel Media and broadcasted from Queensland using FM transmitters. Ten FM provides local news and information for the town’s residents and can be heard in Stanthorpe as well as Tenterfield. There are also two news stations operated by ABC Radio National and ABC New England North West.

Many residents get their news from The Tenterfield Star, the town’s local newspaper, which publishes a weekly paper every Wednesday. The Tenterfield Star is impressively over 170 years old.

Local Geography

Granite mountains and inselbergs dominate the town’s local geography, with Bald rock being the most famous. Bald Rock covers an area of 88.83 km2 and is the largest of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere. You can climb Bald Rock by visiting the Bald Rock National Park, which is just a 12-minute drive away from the centre of Tenterfield.

The Climate in Tenterfield

Thanks to having a subtropical highland climate, Tenterfield experiences cold winters, with temperatures regularly dropping below freezing from May to September, and hot, wet summers, with January temperatures reaching upwards of 27 degrees Celsius. Snow-chasers throng to Tenterfield every couple of years, although snowfall only occurs in significant quantity every 20 to 30 years during severe winter conditions. Weather-wise, the best time to visit Tenterfield is from October to March.

Learn More about the Historic Town of Tenterfield

At The Commercial Boutique Hotel, part of our duty is informing our guests of all the sights, activities and tours that Tenterfield has to offer, so if there’s anything else you want to know, don’t hesitate to give us a call. If you’re looking for one of the best places to stay in Tenterfield, feel free to take a look at our accommodation options and contact us with any queries.