Dubbo has a rich history that has shaped the City into what it is today. Venture back in time and discover a well-preserved slice of history in Dubbo.

Gaze upon the eerie gallows and hangman's kit at a remarkably intact 19th Century Gaol. Be inspired by a tale of endeavour and vision when you step back into early life in the colony at Australia's oldest standing timber slab homestead.

Browse a selection of 5,000 items telling the story of Dubbo and its people or view a Dendroglyph (carved tree) an immensely important Aboriginal artefact.

Discover more about our history and the many ways the City keeps its history alive and in the minds of visitors and residents alike.

Heritage Walk

Walk in the footsteps of our pioneers. Dubbo has an intriguing past. From bushrangers and underworld figures, to renowned architects and ornate buildings, Dubbo is steeped in history. Proclaimed a village in 1849 and a town by 1872, Dubbo officially became a City in 1966.

The Dubbo Heritage Walk begins at the Dubbo Visitor Information Centre on the corner of Macquarie and Erskine streets. From here, walk south-east up the hill and turn left at the roundabout into Talbragar Street. 

                    Download the Heritage Walk map » 



Keeping our history alive

Dubbo's traditional owners are the Tubbagah People of the Wiradjuri Nation.

Dubbo’s foundation still races through the veins of many local residents. 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.

For more information about Dubbo’s history, please contact the Macquarie Regional Library, or visit the Museum at the Western Plains Cultural Centre.


Key dates

1818: John Oxley passed through the district that became Dubbo.

1824: Land permits to GJ Palmer and John Wylde 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.

1837: Robert Venour Dulhunty took out a licence legalising his occupancy, at ‘Dubbo’, the aboriginal word meaning ‘red earth’. He also married this year. ‘Dubbo’ was four miles south of the present city.

1840: The Dundullimal run was established in the late 1830's by brothers Charles Campbell and Dalmahoy Campbell. Built around 1840 as the head station of a 6,500 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.

1841: Jean de Bouillon Emile Serisier opened a store on the southeast corner of Macquarie and Cobra streets, thus being the first settler of the town.

1846: On 22 December, Dubbo was proclaimed a place for holding a Court of Petty Sessions. A Court House was built.

1849: Dubbo is gazetted a village on 23 November. First recorded murder in Dubbo 12th December - Martin Shannon/Shanahan was stabbed to death by William Murray who received 18 months imprisonment.

1851: Census reveals a population of 28 males and 19 females.

1852: Robert Venour Dulhunty died and was buried in the Pioneer Cemetery.

1854: First Methodist Church Service help by Rev. John Pemell, in the first Court House.

1854: The Samuels family arrived in Dubbo.

1855: First Catholic Church built.

1858: The first Church of England built. There are now four hotels operating in Dubbo: Dulhunty’s Macquarie Inn, Hyeronimus’s Carriers Arms, Royal, and Commercial. The first public school opened at 232 Macquarie Street.

1862: Post Office and money order system established; Police Act extended to Dubbo.

1866: First bridge across the Macquarie River, opened on 24 May by the Governor and Sir Samuel Saul. A ball was held on the bridge, with Miss Campbell of Bunglegumbie playing the piano. Establishment of the ‘Dubbo Dispatch’ newspaper. Population noted as 500.

1867: Dubbo experiences a major flood.

1868: Jean Emile Serisier secured 4000 acres on Old Dubbo Road. Commencement of the building of Dubbo Hospital, which was officially opened on 1 July 1870.

1873: The first Pastoral and Agricultural Show took place on 23 March at the present racecourse.

1874: ‘Dubbo Advertiser’ commenced; the Daily Liberal commenced print as ‘The Advertiser’.

1877: Old Dubbo Cemetry at Butler’s Falls (Pioneer) dedicated on 13 March.

1878: 58 hotels operating. Another newspaper comes on the scene called with the ‘Express’ or ‘Gazette’.

1879: Dubbo Brass Band and Orchestra formed.

1880: Jean Emile Serisier died in France.

1885: Dubbo is proclaimed a town on 20 March.

1966: Dubbo proclaimed a City by His Excellency Sir Roden Cutler, at 1.30pm on 12 September (population 15,364).

new regional guides