Peak Hill is a historic mining town, established following the discovery of gold in 1889. It is also known for its rich agricultural land, and especially for its sheep and wheat farming.
It is located on the Newell Highway, which sees over 1 million vehicles pass through the town each year; Peak Hill is 49 km north of Parkes and 71 km south of Dubbo in Central West NSW. It is governed by Local Planning Authority, Parkes Shire Council. The History of the town is based largely around the Wiradjuri tribe and the discovery of gold. Cessation of gold mining saw a diversification to cropping and grazing.
GRAZING & CROPS
Peak Hill is a renowned sheep producing area , particularly medium woolled merinos. There are also four merino studs actively operating in the area, namely Cora Lynn, Genanegie, Towalba, and Westray. Rams from these Studs, have been sold throughout Australia. They all have on-property hogget ram sales in September, supplying commercial sheep breeders with high quality young rams to breed from. In addition to sheep and cattle grazing, the climate is highly suitable for wheat growing . Barley and Canola are also grown.
The Wiradjuri people are the traditional land owners of Peak Hill, which is located in Central West New South Wales. The Australian Museum has 11 objects from Peak Hill, including miniature weapons, boomerangs and a carved tree.
The Wiradjuri are the largest Aboriginal group in Central New South Wales, by area and population, and second largest in Australia, with land stretching east from the Great Dividing Range, to Hay and Nyngan in the west, Gunnedah to the north and Albury to the south. The people of Wiradjuri country are known as “people of the three rivers” for the Macquarie River (Wambool), Lachlan River (Kalari), and Murrumbidgee River (Murrumbidjeri), which border their lands. The Wiradjuri people have lived in Australia for more than 40,000 years. Approximately 3000 Wiradjuri people were living in New South Wales during European settlement.
The excellent quality of Wiradjuri land meant that they were closely affected by European settlement in the area. Whilst European interruption was restricted on the orders of Governor Macquarie, these were lifted from the early 1820’s. The Wiradjuri people resisted, which led to open conflict from 1822-1824. The Wiradjuri leader, Windradyne, led attacks on white settlers, during which time approximately 20 settlers and 100 Aboriginal people were killed, and which culminated in the ‘Battle’ of Bathurst on 18 September 1824, where several hundred Wiradjuri people were killed. The gold rush in the 1850’s meant that the area became one of the most densely populated areas in the state, and subjected the Indigenous population to new diseases. Many Aboriginal people were placed in missions and had their children taken away from them.
Today, Peak Hill is home to one of the major Wiradjuri populations in New South Wales, alongside Condobolin, Griffith and Narrandera. Despite the impact of European settlement, the Wiradjuri people of Central West New South Wales still retain a strong sense of cultural identity. The Aboriginal people of Peak Hill have formed their own Aboriginal Working Party.