Population Approximately 250
A fifteen kilometre drive east from Quirindi through spectacular scenery you’ve come to expect from this region will take you to Wallabadah. Originally called Thalabuburi by the Kamilaroi people, and as Manfield’s Point by Europeans, Wallabadah derives its current name from Wallabadah Station, a 44000 acre holding taken up in 1835.
This little township on the New England Highway began to develop in the 1850s and was once larger than Quirindi. It was the road junction for the mail coaches from the north and north-west. This proved too tempting for Thunderbolt, then the most notorious bushranger in the colony, who robbed the northern mail coach at Wallabadah in 1867.
This once thriving, busy rural centre did not progress when the rail went to its neighbour Quirindi in 1877. But the town still retains its early charm. Claret Ash trees line the street on the approach road from Quirindi. To the right as you head into town is the Anglican Church of the Ascension built in 1896. On the highway is the Marshall MacMahon Hotel which dates from about 1867. Across from the hotel is the Catholic Church built in 1910. Other historic buildings include the public school (1879) and school residence (1898).
Wallabadah became a soldier settlement location after World War II. Residents in the town, known locally as ’Wallaby’, erected a sculpture of a wallaby sitting on a rock as a bicentennial project in 1988.
The nation’s only garden memorial to the First and Second Fleet is located off the New England Highway near the Wallaby sculpture, and residents from all over Australia are drawn to the First and Second Fleet Memorial Garden to see whether their distant relatives were aboard those first vessels. This unique garden, built by a renowned stone mason and First Fleet descendent, records the names in stone ship by ship of all those aboard the First and Second Fleet. A nearby creek-side picnic area provides the ideal setting for a barbecue after the garden walk and welcomes campers.
One of the largest undisturbed areas of White Box forest left in Australia is located at the Wallabadah cemetery. It is worth the visit to get a good feel for the country prior to European settlement and as with all cemeteries every headstone echoes local history.