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Dubbo Historical Timeline


Uncover the origins of this flourishing regional city.

Located in the heart of NSW, Dubbo is a thriving regional city with cosmopolitan influences and a long history. The Tubbagah People of the Wiradjuri Nation are the traditional owners of the land, and evidence Aboriginal culture in the region dates back almost 40,000 years. Passion, ambition and spirit were the driving forces that saw a village become a town, and a vibrant town become a thriving regional city. People of today’s Dubbo treasure their roots, live in the present and are excited about the future. 


Explorer John Oxley passes through the district that became Dubbo.


GJ Palmer and John Wylde receive land permits to occupy land two geographical miles in every direction adjacent to the Macquarie River. By 1828, Palmer had 13,000 acres, 1847 head of cattle and 6133 sheep.


Robert Venour Dulhunty takes out a licence legalising his occupancy at ‘Dubbo’, the Aboriginal word meaning ‘red earth’. At this time, ‘Dubbo’ was four miles south of the present city.


The Dundullimal run is established in the late 1830's by brothers Charles Campbell and Dalmahoy Campbell. Built around 1840 as the head station of a 6500 hectare squatting run, Dundullimal Homestead is believed to be the oldest surviving slab hut house in Australia and is Dubbo's oldest building open to the public.


Jean de Bouillon Emile Serisier opens a store on the southeast corner of Macquarie and Cobra streets, thus becoming the first settler of the town.


On 22 December, Dubbo is proclaimed a place for holding a Court of Petty Sessions, and a Court House is built.


Dubbo is gazetted a village on 23 November. The first recorded murder in Dubbo occurs on 12 December, when Martin Shannon/Shanahan is stabbed to death by William Murray, who receives 18 months imprisonment.


Census reveals a population of 28 males and 19 females.


Robert Venour Dulhunty dies and is buried in the Pioneer Cemetery.


The first Methodist Church Service is held by Rev. John Pemell in the first Court House.


The Samuels family arrives in Dubbo.


The first Catholic Church is built.


The first Church of England is built. There are now four hotels operating in Dubbo: Dulhunty’s Macquarie Inn, Hyeronimus’s Carriers Arms, Royal, and Commercial. The first public school opens at 232 Macquarie Street.


The Post Office and money order system are established. The Police Act is extended to Dubbo.


The first bridge across the Macquarie River is opened on 24 May by the Governor and Sir Samuel Saul. A ball is held on the bridge, with Miss Campbell of Bunglegumbie playing the piano. The ‘Dubbo Dispatch’ newspaper is established, and the population noted as 500.


Dubbo experiences a major flood.


Jean Emile Serisier secures 4000 acres on Old Dubbo Road. Construction of the Dubbo Hospital begins, and is officially opened on 1 July 1870.


The first Pastoral and Agricultural Show takes place on 23 March at the present racecourse.


The ‘Dubbo Advertiser’ commences, and the Daily Liberal commences print as ‘The Advertiser’.


The Old Dubbo Cemetery at Butler’s Falls (Pioneer) is dedicated on 13 March.


There are 58 hotels in operation at this time. Another newspaper comes on the scene called with the ‘Express’ or ‘Gazette’.


The Dubbo Brass Band and Orchestra are formed.


Jean Emile Serisier dies in France.


Dubbo is proclaimed a town on 20 March.


Dubbo is proclaimed a City by His Excellency Sir Roden Cutler, at 1.30pm on 12 September (population 15,364). 

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