Upper Hunter Shire

The Upper Hunter Shire is located in the Hunter Region, approximately 250km from Sydney. It is a large, rural shire of over 8,000km2 that extends from the rugged ranges in the north bordering Liverpool Plains, to the natural wonders of Lake Glenbawn and the Barrington Tops in the east, the fertile alluvial flats of the Dartbrook area in the south, and the Goulburn River National Park and the wide expanses of golden plains in the west.

With a population of 14,112 people (2016 Census), there is plenty of wide open space and a strong community spirit across the main townships of Scone, Aberdeen, Merriwa and Murrurundi and the surrounding villages of Gundy, Cassilis, Blandford, Bunnan, Ellerston, Moonan Brook, Parkville, Rouchel, Timor and Wingen. The relatively inexpensive land and affordable housing provides great opportunities for businesses, families or individuals to move to and invest in the Shire.

The Upper Hunter Shire’s diverse and prosperous economic base is centred on equine and agriculture industries including cattle and sheep grazing lands, cereal cropping, and horse studs. The shire is a major cattle, crop, pig, poultry and sheep producer, has an increasing number of local artisan produce enterprises and supports a cattle abattoir which supplies the Australian and overseas markets.

The area is the single largest producer of thoroughbred horses in Australia and is second only to Kentucky in the USA. With the largest equine veterinary practice in the southern hemisphere, an equine-focused TAFE and Equine Research Centre, Scone is well known as the Horse Capital of Australia.

We have an emerging tourism and events sector focused on our agricultural strengths such as horses and wine, and nature-based experiences in national parks and reserves. We also know how to put on an event with thousands of visitors each year rolling into our towns for these annual events:

  • Aberdeen Highland Games
  • Merriwa Festival of the Fleeces and Merriwa Springtime Show.
  • Murrurundi King of the Ranges Stockman’s Challenge and Bush Festival
  • Scone Horse Festival and Warbirds Over Scone Airshow (biennial)

The shire is easily accessible with the New England Highway, Golden Highway and the Main Northern Railway Line traversing the shire and the Scone Regional Airport opening up the skies. The commercial activities located at the Airport include charter flights, aerial agriculture, flight training, aircraft manufacturing and aircraft maintenance. There is significant use of the airport by aviation operators based outside the Upper Hunter with domestic and international corporate jet operators supporting the local equine industry, mining, farming and heavy plant and equipment industries

The Shire is led by a Council determined to ensure the area thrives. It attracts regular Government funding, invests in local infrastructure and encourages business and economic development such as the approved Kyoto Energy Park (a 35 wind turbine and large solar farm) near Scone and the Liverpool Range Windfarm (288 turbines) on the western side of the Shire.

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