Place:Wee Waa, New South Wales, Australia


NameWee Waa
Coordinates30.567°S 149.45°E
Located inNew South Wales, Australia
source: Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names
source: Family History Library Catalog

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Wee Waa (pronounced "Wee War") is a town located on the north-western slopes of the New England region in New South Wales, Australia. The town is within the Narrabri Shire local government area and is on the Namoi River. Wee Waa is north-west of Narrabri and northwest of Sydney on the Kamilaroi Highway. At the 2011 Census Wee Waa had a population of 1,653 of which 20% are Aboriginal people.

Wee Waa is 42 kilometres from the Newell Highway, and is a gateway to the far west centres of Walgett, Collarenebri, Lightning Ridge opal fields and beyond.

The Aboriginal meaning of Wee Waa is "Fire for Roasting" from the language of the Kamilaroi people. The town is known to be the only "Cotton Capital of Australia" as a rural community situated in the rich agricultural heartland of the Lower Namoi Valley in NSW. The town has a population of 2,000, and services a far greater rural community as well as the villages of Burren Junction, Pilliga and Gwabegar.

The Wee Waa run was taken up by squatter George Hobler in 1837 and the settlement developed. It became an administrative centre in the late 1840s. A police station and court of petty sessions were established in 1847 and a post office opened two years later. It is the oldest established town in the area and is the birthplace of the commercial cotton industry in Australia. The first commercial cotton plantation was established in 1961, irrigated with water from the Keepit Dam on the Namoi River.

It was the first town built on the Namoi River. The town is subject to regular floods and is protected by a levee bank. However thousands of people were isolated on properties around Wee Waa in February 2012.

Each April the area transforms into snowy white profusion from horizon to horizon as the cotton harvest gets under way. There is also wheat-growing and grazing in the area. The town has 2 motels, 4 schools, a preschool, ABC Learning Centre, 2 hotels and 2 caravan parks as well as eating-places, a swimming pool, a picturesque 9-hole golf course, bowling club, tennis courts, a modern sporting complex, a hostel for the aged and a new medical centre.

Rail services were extended in 1901 from Narrabri to Walgett, passing through the town. Wee Waa is now serviced by NSW TrainLink rail services, interstate coaches, and daily air services offered through Narrabri. The Wee Waa district has an average summer minimum temperature of 17° and a maximum of around 37°. Recorded average winter minimum and maximum temperatures are 3° and 17° respectively. The district can also expect a rainfall level of approximately 635 millimetres in one calendar year. It is 190 m. above sea level.

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