"Top of the valley" Murrurundi by iandsmith

Murrurundi Travel Guide: 19 reviews and 87 photos

Crown of the Hunter

I must admit here to having a bit of a soft spot for Murrurundi. It's a town I frequently passed through when I used to be a saleman in the north west. I often used to stop and have a cuppa at two wonderful cafes, both now sadly closed. They have been superseded by a more modern place just down the road but the atmosphere of the old houses is now lost on visitors.
The key location at the beginning of a major pass out of the Hunter Valley into the New England area has allowed it to hang on when other smaller places have died, but only just.

Early history

It is from the Wanaruah place name 'Murrumdoorandi' that the town's name derives. Despite understandable local publicity which claims that it means 'nestled in a valley' it seems more likely that it refers to five unusual rock formations near Temple Court (four now remain) and may mean 'five fingers' or 'meeting place at the five fingers'.
The first European in the vicinity was surveyor Henry Dangar who passed through the area to the west in 1824 while scouting for new grazing lands. When his party was attacked by the Wanaruah's Geaweagal clan he retreated but settlers still moved into the upper Hunter Valley.
William Nowland, a farmer from Singleton (then known as Patrick's Plains), followed in Dangar's footsteps, crossing the Range and establishing a station on Warrah Creek in the Liverpool Plains. He searched for three months before he found the gap just north of present-day Murrurundi in 1827. Others soon followed his dray track which formed part of the Great North Road. Built by 3000 convicts between 1826 and 1834 it was the first road into the Hunter Valley.
William Henry Warland established the estate of Harben Vale to the south of present-day Murrurundi in 1829. The village which developed nearby he named Blandford after his birthplace in England. Blandford is just a couple of kilometres south of Murrurundi. By 1834 Warland had built a homestead and formed a partnership with Peter Haydon whose brother Thomas also acquired land in the area.
When the government laid out the township of Murrurundi in 1840 Thomas Haydon decided to create the adjacent private village of Haydonton which serviced the local estates, government officers and travellers. In time the name Haydonton fell into disuse. The two, separated by Halls Creek, were amalgamated in 1913 with old Haydonton forming the town's commercial district.
In the graveyards in Murrurundi you can still find the last resting place of people who were born in the late 18th century and early 19th century.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Nice location, nice place to stop, Paradise Park
  • Cons:Coldest town in the Hunter Valley
  • In a nutshell:Interesting history and glorious park
  • Last visit to Murrurundi: Sep 2011
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
  • Add to Trip Planner (?)
  • Report Abuse

Reviews (5)


iandsmith Visits Here Frequently!


“The shortest distance between two people is laughter (note sign in picture)”

Online Now


Top 1,000 Travel Writer
Member Rank:
0 0 0 2 2
Forum Rank:
0 0 4 2 7

Badges & Stats in Murrurundi

  • 5 Reviews
  • 15 Photos
  • 0 Forum posts
  • 263PageViews

Have you been to Murrurundi?

  Share Your Travels  

Latest Activity in Murrurundi

Travel Interests

See All Travel Interests (5)