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In 1818 when explorer John Oxley first saw the Peel Valley in which Tamworth was to be built, his glowing exultations of the lush land he found had squatters graze their cattle in the valley through the 1820s. However, it would be a further 30 years until Tamworth would resemble a town.
The Australian Agriculture Company (AAC) played a significant role in the formative industry of Tamworth, with the company moving its sheep farms from Port Stephens to the more suitable country in Tamworth in the mid-1830s to take advantage of the untouched grazing land. The homestead and station owned by the AAC was named 'Tamworth' in 1835. Agriculture remains the key industry in Tamworth today, with an estimated gross value of $37 million.
Best known for its Country Music Festival and the accompanying Big Golden Guitar, Tamworth's significance as a country music centre in New South Wales was cemented in 1973 when the town was named the Country Music Capital of Australia and local radio station 2TM decided to stage a country music festival. Iconic Australian country music star Slim Dusty holds the record for most Golden Guitar Awards, having won 37 statues in his 60 year career before his death in 2003. It is the sister city with Nashville, Tennesee.