Your first thought about Tamworth, NSW, probably centres around the legendary Tamworth Country Music Festival that is in its 48th year in January 2020. It is Australia’s largest music festival and one of the top 10 music festivals in the world with over 700 performers and 2800 shows across 120 different venues. The festival attracts over 300,000 visitors across the 10 days.
As we have discovered in our recent trip to Australia’s ‘home of country music’ – Tamworth is also home to some incredible sport and recreation facilities and a strong sporting culture! Neil and I spent a week on the ground in Tamworth in late November, to undertake site visits and community consultation – a key step in the development of the Tamworth Regional Council Sport and Recreation Strategic Plan.
Tamworth has been identified by the NSW Government as a strategic regional centre for Northern Inland NSW – encouraged to aim for a population of 100,000. The Tamworth Regional Council has taken this on with the ambitious goal of growing its population to 100,000 people by the year 2042, from the current population which is just over 62,000.
Council is currently strategically planning for this growth, which includes the development of the Sport and Recreation Strategic Plan which will provide a road map for the planning and development of sport and recreation facilities across the local government area.
We travelled across the vast Local Government Area to meet the community through workshops in the villages of Kootingal, Nundle, Barraba and Manilla, as well as hosting two community workshops in Tamworth. It was great to meet the faces behind the clubs and groups who use the sport and recreation facilities across the region. We met representatives from a wide range of activities from motorsports, mountain bike riding and rodeo activities like team roping, to swimming, cricket, oztag and roller derby.
Tamworth’s has some incredible facilities to support its strong culture of sport and recreation. The world-class Northern Inland Sporting Centre of Excellence (NISCE) provides for a wide range of sports at regional and national levels, incorporating the Tamworth Sports Dome which was opened in 2011, the Tamworth Athletics Centre & Cycling Centre which were opened in October this year, and the Tamworth Hockey Centre, with its 3rd synthetic pitch currently under construction. There is plenty more to come for this world-class sports complex, with concepts currently being explored for a Regional Aquatic & Leisure Centre on the site.
Right next door to the NISCE is the Australian Equine and Livestock Events Centre (AELEC) which is a state-of-the-art facility with something on every weekend! AELEC hosts a huge diversity of events from the Great Australian Roundup, camp drafting and Pro Bull Riding (PBR) to agility dogs, alpacas, motorsports and beach-tag!
After gaining a lot of knowledge and context to sport and recreation facilities across the region, we will be working through identifying the issues and opportunities presented for sport and recreation across the region.
We will then develop the draft Tamworth Regional Council Sport and Recreation Strategic Plan which will be exhibited to the public prior to finalisation.