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Cobar, New South Wales

Located in central New South Wales, Cobar is considered the point where the famous “outback” begins. It’s just 712km north west of Sydney, which might not seem all that far out the back – but the temperatures are hot, the dirt is red and both the industry and the recreation are characteristically rural and Australian.

Farmers (called pastoralists) have been grazing their livestock in the area since the 1860s – making it quite historic in Australian terms. Even more historic, of course, is the area’s more than 1300 examples of precious ancient Aboriginal rock art.

Copper was discovered in the area in the 1870s, which lead to a mining boom that saw the town’s population explode to 10,000 – about twice what it is today. The town once was a bustling centre; it had its own stock exchange and grand hotels - some still stand today. The town has weathered the boom-bust cycle several times, with its population dwindling to fewer than a 1000 until zinc, lead, gold and silver were discovered in the area in the 1980s.

The modern Cobar is in pretty good shape. It has an airport, two schools, a high school and a decent-sized hospital. There are dozens of parks of various sizes – providing green oases in the desert – day care and aged care facilities, libraries, a swimming pool and a water recreation area called Newey, where you can kayak, water ski and go fishing – very popular in summer. To find out more about the facilities in the town, check out the Cobar Shire Council’s website.

It has a nice dry climate – with average maximum temperatures of about 34C in summer - although it can get much hotter - and an average high of about 16C in winter.

The local economy still relies on pastoralists and miners. Big mines in Cobar, as listed on the council’s website, include the CSA copper mine, CBH Resources’ Endeavour mine (zinc, lead and silver), Peak Gold Mines’ gold and copper mines at Peak, New Occidental, New Cobar, Perseverance and Chesney Deposit, and the Mount Boppy gold mine.

Visit our Life in Australia section for guides to more Key Industry Locations.
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