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Originally traversed by explorer John Oxley in 1818, the natural resources of the region he exulted were tempered by his general unease in the area brought on by sleepless nights and what he described as hoards of howling dingoes. However, this didn't deter Dubbo's first recorded settler Robert Dalhunty setting up a cattle station in the 1830s, with the region quickly growing as word of the significant natural resources spread.
The historic Dubbo Gaol and courthouse were established in 1846 and played a significant role in the justice system of colonial New South Wales until its closure in 1966. Today serving as a museum, its cramped conditions and hangman's noose are a timely reminder of the harshness of life in 1800s Australia.
Dubbo is perhaps best known for its acclaimed Western Plains Zoo, which is renowned for its open range enclosures and is home to a number of endangered species. Referred to as the service capital of the West, Dubbo city considers itself the shopping capital of outback New South Wales. It has retained its economic history of dependence on agriculture with sheep export company Fletcher International Exports responsible for a great percentage of the city's local economy.