Tamworth is the Australian Country Music Capital and home to the largest Country Music Festival in the Southern Hemisphere. Don’t be fooled though, there’s much more to the city!
Tamworth proudly proclaims itself as Australia’s Country Music Capital and it is only one of the noteworthy reasons proclaiming visitors to sing its praises as a destination. The city has an extensive repertoire of attractions from the natural wonders of Mother Nature to its cultural and artistic offerings, as well as top restaurants showcasing regional produce and wine.
It is the hub of a regional council of about 58 000 people who live in the city or in the towns of Barraba, Manilla, Bendemeer and Nundle. The Tamworth Regional area is about three times the size of Sydney basin or about the same as Lake Eyre.
The retail industry is one of the larger employers and the range of products and services available compares more than favourably with other cities. There is so much fresh produce supplied by local growers, from market gardeners and hydroponic farms to specialty foods based on fish, berries, wine, and olives. Whilst many industries have grown exponentially and the local economy has diversified, agriculture continues to be the backbone with a gross production value estimated at over $75 million.
Recognised by many as the sporting horse capital of Australia, Tamworth is a thriving equine centre boasting four major equine association headquarters (NCHA, ABCRA and AQHA) making way for some of Australia’s most glamorous and action packed equine events.
Horses are big business in the Tamworth area with various international, national and state championships regularly held in the district along with Australia’s richest sporting horse event, the NCHA Futurity (annually in May/June) as well as the ABCRA National Finals Rodeo showcased during the Country Music Festival every January. However its not all sporting horse action in Tamworth as there is also a range of showjumping, three-day eventing, trots, dressage, polo and polocrosse, driving and carriage plus a very healthy racing scene (especially on Tamworth Cup and Melbourne Cup days!) based in the region.
As a direct result of this strong industry that is only getting bigger, Tamworth and surrounding areas have become a breeding centre with hundreds of studs and supporting business now established in the city all of which have the latest equine facilities available.
In 2008, the city opened the doors to a $30million world-class Australian Equine & Livestock Events Centre (AELEC) which houses an indoor arena with seating for 3,100 spectators (expandable to 5,000), as well as stabling for 500 horses, truck parking and camping facilities for over 200 vehicles. The AELEC is the principal equine facility in Australia and many locals are predicting that in time, equine will grow to become a bigger industry than country music.
There are more than three main industries in the Tamworth region. Many may be surprised to learn that Tamworth is actually one of the primary pilot-screening and training facilities in Australia, with students from across the nation (as well as Singapore) sent to Tamworth to learn how to be Defence Force Pilots. With more than 250 personnel in town continuously rotated over two-week periods you can be guaranteed there is always a pilot or two in town!
Tamworth is a dynamic, modern and progressive city and a major regional service centre with an easy going lifestyle and a strong economy. Tamworth may be synonymous with country music in Australia but Tamworth is much more than just big hats, shiny belt buckles or golden guitars. It’s a friendly city where hospitality is based on city style with a country heart.
Tamworth is a vibrant, easy going place where the lifestyle means work isn’t the be all and end all and there is plenty of time after work to play sport, play with the kids or just take it easy. Salary rates in Tamworth are comparable to Sydney salaries, if not better for many career sectors – but the biggest bonus is in the work/life balance. You get to enjoy it more as a result of lower housing costs, less time travelling to and from work and improved cost of living.