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Situated in the heartland of New England, Armidale was firmly established as a town by the 1850s after the discovery of gold in the nearby Rocky River and Gara Gorges. As one of many a gold rush towns in New South Wales, it was an area frequented by bushrangers and the nearby town of Uralla is where legendary New South Wales bushranger Captain Thunderbolt was finally captured and killed by police in 1870.
The excellent grazing land of Armidale had agriculture thrive in Armidale and the Australian Wool Fashion Awards, originally established to promote the wool industry in New South Wales, are held in Armidale every March. Home to grand Anglican and Catholic churches, Armidale is often referred to as the City of Cathedrals, with their distinctive spires characterising the skyline. The University of New England was built in Armidale in 1938 originally as an outpost for Sydney University, becoming an independent university in 1954 and is today recognised as one of the leading law and medical universities in Australia.