Oxley Highway

The Oxley Highway is a rural highway in New South Wales, Australia.[1] It starts at Nevertire where it joins the Mitchell Highway. It links Nevertire, Warren, Gilgandra, Coonabarabran, Gunnedah, Carroll, Tamworth, Bendemeer, Walcha, Yarrowitch, Ellenborough, Long Flat, and Wauchope and ends at Port Macquarie on the coast of the Tasman Sea.

Oxley Highway

General information
Length653 km (406 mi)
Route number(s)
route number
Major junctions
West end
East end
Major settlementsWarren, Gilgandra, Coonabarabran, Gunnedah, Tamworth, Kootingal, Moonbi, Bendemeer, Walcha, Wauchope
Highway system

The Oxley Highway starts from the Mitchell Highway at Nevertire before journeying to the Castlereagh Highway at Gilgandra, from where it is duplexed with the Newell Highway to Coonabarabran, thence to the New England Highway at Tamworth, with which it is duplexed to Bendemeer, the Thunderbolts Way at Walcha, and the Pacific Highway near Port Macquarie.

The highway was formerly signed National Route 34 for its entire length, however during 2013 the route west of Coonabarabran was decommissioned and east to Port Macquarie signed as the B56 as part of the new system of alpha-numeric route marking in NSW.


Work commenced in 1838 with the use of convicts working from Port Macquarie towards a spot known as "Prisoners’ Garden" about 20 km from Yarrowitch. Here it is said that the convicts were chained up each night. In 1842 the track from the Northern Tablelands to Port Macquarie was opened for the first time. Wool carried along this new route reduced the travelling time to 10 days, as opposed to 12–14 weeks for the trip to Maitland. The section from Walcha to Bendemeer existed as a mapped road in 1857, was surveyed in 1867, and proclaimed a Parish Road in c.1889. West of Walcha the road was only suitable for bullock teams and they too had difficulties, especially with the ranges.[2]

The steep range section from Yarras to Yarrowitch was in serious need of repair in 1925 when the Main Roads Board was formed. Following a re-survey in 1927 the road was altered between Yarras and Tobins Camp. The Highway was named in 1928 to commemorate John Oxley who was the first European to explore much of inland New South Wales in 1818. On 30 September 1933 the Highway section between Walcha and Port Macquarie was officially opened. Walcha Shire maintained 106 km of the Highway until July 1966 when this part was taken over by the Department of Main Roads.

About 45 kilometres of the Yarrowitch to Wauchope section is unfenced and livestock (cattle) may be encountered there, along with other wild animals on most of the highway. Kangaroos are the most likely of those to be spotted, but wombats and other marsupials may be found.

Major intersections

WarrenNevertire00.0 Mitchell Highway (A32) north - Nyngan and Bourke / south - Narromine and DubboWestern end of Oxley Highway (no route number) - continues south-west as Nevertire-Bogan Road towards Tottenham and Tullamore
GilgandraGilgandra105.065.2 Castlereagh Highway (B55) - Coonamble and WalgettOxley Highway continues south to Newell Highway as Castlereagh Street
105.165.3 Newell Highway (A39) - Dubbo and ParkesNewell Highway western concurrency terminus: continues south
Castlereagh River105.165.3Jack Renshaw Bridge
GilgandraGilgandra106.366.1 Castlereagh Highway (B55) - Dunedoo
Castlereagh River199.4123.9Mary Jane Cain Bridge
WarrumbungleCoonabarabran204.3126.9 Newell Highway (A39) - NarrabriIntersection is 5 km (3.1 mi) north-east of Coonabarabran
Newell Highway eastern concurrency terminus: continues north
Oxley Highway continues east as B56.
GunnedahGunnedah305.6189.9 Kamilaroi Highway (B51) - Boggabri and NarrabriKamilaroi Highway western concurrency terminus: continues north
Oxley and Kamilaroi Highways continue south as Conadilly Street
307.8191.3 Kamilaroi Highway (B51) - QuirindiKamilaroi Highway eastern concurrency terminus: continues south
TamworthTamworth380.8236.6 New England Highway (A15) - Scone and AberdeenNew England Highway western concurrency terminus: continues south
Peel River381.1236.8Bridge (no known official name)
TamworthTamworth381.4237.0 Fossickers Way (B95) - Manilla and BarrabaFossickers Way proceeds north from Tamworth via Peel Street and Manilla Road
Macdonald River421.1261.7TA Perry Bridge
TamworthBendemeer422.4262.5 New England Highway (A15) - Uralla and ArmidaleNew England Highway eastern concurrency terminus: continues north
WalchaWalcha472.0293.3Thunderbolts Way north - Uralla / south - Nowendoc and Gloucester
Apsley River472.1293.3Bridge (no known official name)
Tia River507.5315.3Bridge (no known official name) This bridge spans the boundary between the localities of Walcha and Yarrowitch
Yarrowitch River520.5323.4Bridge (no known official name)
Ellenborough River601.6373.8Bridge (no known official name)
Port Macquarie  
Thrumster[4] boundary
644.4400.4 Pacific Highway (A1) north - Kempsey and Macksville / south - Taree and BulahdelahIntersection is 9 km (5.6 mi) west of Port Macquarie, on the boundary between Sancrox and Thrumster, which follows the Pacific Highway
Port Macquarie653.0405.8Hastings River Drive north - Pacific Highway / Ocean Drive south - Lake Cathie and Bonny HillsEastern end of Oxley Highway - continues east into Port Macquarie as Gordon Street
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

See also


  1. Oxley Highway, Great Road Rides - New South Wales. Retrieved on 25 May 2008. Archived 19 July 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  2. Donald, J.Kay, Exploring the North Coast and New England, Kangaroo Press, Kenthurst, 1978
  3. Google. "Sancrox, New South Wales" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved 15 October 2013.
  4. Google. "Thrumster, New South Wales" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved 15 October 2013.
  • Walcha - 100 Years of Local Government, Walcha Shire Council, Newprint Industries, Walcha, 1989.

Oxley Highway travel guide from Wikivoyage

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