Rapid growth for new city of Orange

GREEN SPACE: Families enjoy leisure time at Robertson Park in 1925. Pictures: Orange City Library.
GREEN SPACE: Families enjoy leisure time at Robertson Park in 1925. Pictures: Orange City Library.

In 2021, the community of Orange marks 175 years since it became a village and 75 years since it became a city. Here's a quick rundown of some of the moments that made Orange the city it is today.

Early history

The region's First Nation People, the Wiradjuri, occupied this area for more than 60,000 years. The home of the Wiradjuri nation is described as 'the land of the mountains, plains and three rivers', defined by the Lachlan (Galari), Macquarie (Wambool) and Murrumbidgee (Murrumbidjeri) Rivers.

European settlement

1813: European occupation of the district begins several years after the crossing of the Blue Mountains.

1823: The area where Orange is located becomes known as Blackmans Swamp in 1823.

1829: The NSW Surveyor-General's department creates a parish map, marking-out a one mile square reserve for a village.

1838: John Peisley erects the first building, The Coach and Horses Inn, on the western outskirts of the village site.

1846: Orange is officially proclaimed a village on November 18, 1846.

1848: The first public building, a watch-house (police station), is built on the site of the present Court House.

Pre-1850: Before the gold rush, there are only seven houses and a population of 28 people in the village of Orange.

1851: Gold is discovered at Ophir.

1860: The small township of Orange becomes a Municipality and the first chairman (a position now referred to as mayor) of the Council, John Peisley, is elected.

1862: Orange Court House is built. There are now 91 houses and around 600 people are living in the area.

1866: First hospital opens.

1877: Piped gas is installed for street lighting and the railway reaches Orange.

1880: The post and telegraph office opens.

1885: With a population approaching 3000, Orange is proclaimed a town.

1888: The Town Hall opens.

1888: East Orange is proclaimed a Municipality.

1890: The supply of piped water is turned on.

1901: Orange is considered as a site for the nation's capital following Federation.

1912: Orange and East Orange municipalities merge.

1918: Town sewerage systems are connected.

1922: The Soldiers' Memorial Hall opens.

1923: Electricity is turned on, serving a population of about 8000 residents.

1927: Municipal boundaries extend to 6.96 square kilometres.

1932: The Orange Ambulance Service opens.

1938: The first Orange Aerodrome is developed.

1946: Orange is proclaimed a city, NSW's 14th, with a population of 15,000.

1948: The city increases in area to 20.8km square.

1957: The Olympic swimming pool opens.

1961: The Orange Regional Airport is ready to go.

1970: Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh visit.

1971: Orange's population reaches 23,143.

1976: The Civic Centre opens.

1988: Orange Botanic Gardens is launched.

1990: The population expands to 33,400.

2009: The new Police Station opens.

2011: New Orange Hospital opens at Bloomfield.

2021: The resident population of Orange is an estimated 42,500 people.

  • This timeline was compiled with assistance from Central West Libraries Heritage Research Librarian Trudi Mayfield.