Cobar Shire is situated in the centre of New South Wales at the crossroads of the Barrier Highway and the Kidman Way and has excellent road, rail and air links to most of Australia’s capital cities.
Cobar Shire is a semi-arid region bordered by the Darling River to the north and the Lachlan River to the south-east. Water is supplied to the town via a 135km pipeline from the Bogan River at Nyngan.
The Cobar Shire covers a vast 44,065 square kilometres with a population of 7,000 people. Cobar’s educational facilities consists of one pre-school, two primary schools, a distance education program located at one of the primary schools and a high school, Cobar also provides tertiary education through the local TAFE College. The Shire’s prosperity is built around the thriving mining – copper, lead, silver, zinc, gold – and pastoral industries.
There would be approx 250 graziers in the Cobar Shire and in a normal season there would be 650,000 sheep and 60,000 cattle.
Turnover of approx $10,000,000 worth of residential real estate in Cobar last financial year.
Starting Salary in the mines is approx $60,000 up to $120,000.
Dubbo is 300km away and is the major retail and services centre. A comfortable 3 hours drive.
Surrounding townships & populations
Wilcannia – 800
Ivanhoe – 350
Tilpa – 15
Bourke – 2500
Cobar is 250m above sea level.
Average rainfall 352mm
Average temperature: Summer 35.5 Winter 15.5
The Cobar Primary Health Care Centre is located at 26 Harcourt Street, Cobar. It is operated by the Outback Division of General Practice who provide a range of medical services , general practitioners and specialists. Any member of the public can make an appointment. The surgery is open five days a week.
An adequate 29 bed Hospital with operating facilities is available in Cobar. The hospital was established in 1968 and is an “Acute-Care” Hospital. This hospital is visited by all three doctors.
In conjunction with the NSW Ambulance Service, provisions of both road and aerial ambulances are used for inter-hospital patient transfer. The Cobar District Hospital has a courier service that provides a return service to Dubbo three (3) days per week, which can be utilised by those requiring medical attention in Dubbo. Specialist facilities are available on a visiting basis. Similar specialist services are available in Dubbo on a full time basis. A Baby Health Centre operates in the township along with all the usual medical allied and community support services.
Cobar Pre-School Centre provides quality educational programs for children 3 to 5 years of age in the Cobar area meeting the needs of all children and families (special needs, NESB and other populations). Our centre provides a warm, friendly and very stimulating learning environment. The centre provides full and half day sessions.
St John's is a small Catholic Parish School - co-educational with classes from Kindergarten to Year Six. The school is part of the Catholic Education System administered by the Diocese of Wilcannia-Forbes
Cobar Primary School was established in 1878 and has been providing a quality education to the children of Cobar for the past 125 years.
Cobar High School is well equipped to address the learning and recreational needs of its students. All classrooms are air-conditioned. The high school also has a Multi-Purpose Centre, including a Performance Space.
CSA Mine - Mining Copper
The CSA mine is located 14 kilometres northwest of Cobar, along the Louth Road. Mining has occurred intermittently on the CSA (Cornish, Scottish, Australian) lease since discovery in 1871 but it was not until 1961 that a significant resource was proved by a BHP subsidiary allowing underground mining to commence on a large scale in 1965. In 1980 CRA acquired the mine, which was subsequently sold to Golden Shamrock Mines Ltd (GSM) in 1992. GSM was acquired by Ashanti Gold Fields in October 1996. Due to a number of reasons, including inefficient working practices combined with a slump in metal prices due to the Asian financial crisis, the mine ran into financial difficulties in 1997. In January 1998 CSA was placed into receivership and placed on care and maintenance. Prior to this the mine was producing approximately 1million tonnes of ore per year.
CBH Resources – Endeavor Mine -Mining Zinc, Lead and Silver
Endeavor Mine (Endeavor) is owned and operated by Sydney-based mineral resource company CBH Resources Limited (CBH). Located 47 kilometres north of Cobar in central western New South Wales, the mine is the largest zinc, lead and silver producer in the region. First brought into production in 1983 as the Elura Mine at a cost of $270 million, the site has been operated by CBH since 2003. The Endeavor orebody is similar to others in the Cobar Basin in that it has the form of massive vertical pillars.
Peak Gold Mines -Mining Gold, Copper and other minerals
The Peak Gold Mine (PGM) operation is owned by Peak Gold Limited. The parent company is an emerging gold producer with operations in Brazil and Australia. Peak continues to add value to the operation at Cobar through new infrastructure, improved mining methods and mill enhancements. The mine’s original design capacity of 450,000 tonnes per year was increased to 650,000 tonnes in 2004 with plans to ultimately increase capacity to more than 750,000 tonnes per year in 2008. Peak Gold Mines produces approximately 120,000 ounces of gold, 14,000 tonnes of copper concentrate per year and employs approximately 300 people.
Mt Boppy- Mining Gold
The Mt Boppy Gold Mine is located 45km east of Cobar, NSW and is owned by QLD based, Polymetals Group. A total of 60,000 ounces of gold has been produced by the operation since 2002 with the most recent mining and processing of gold ore completed in early 2005. The operation is currently on care and maintenance pending the re-starting of mining by Peak Gold Mines with ore to be treated at its Cobar mill. Near mine exploration is also underway with the aim of increasing current ore reserves. Historically, since 1900 when operations first began approximately 500,000 ounces of gold has been produced from the Mt Boppy Mine over numerous mining campaigns. Hopefully modern exploration will increase this total.
The township of Cobar is well catered for in this area offering first class venues for the following sports; rugby union, AFL, rugby league, soccer, bowls, golf, cricket, tennis, squash, touch football, outdoor and indoor netball and indoor basketball. Other sports and affiliated clubs include: Pony Club, Auto Club, Judo, Aerobics, and Rifle & Gun Clubs. Council operates a gymnasium, sauna and an indoor basketball stadium from its Youth and Fitness Centre.
Background of Cobar
In the Beginning
The Cobar district was the traditional home of the Ngemba and Wongaibon Aboriginal people.
Prior to the discovery of copper in 1870, the Cobar district was made up of huge pastoral holdings which relied heavily on the Darling River trade.
1870 The Discovery of Copper
In 1870 three tank sinkers, Charles Campbell, Thomas Hartman and George Gibb, accompanied by two Aboriginal guides, Boney and Frank were travelling from Bourke to Condobolin. Camped at 'Kubbur' water-hole, near Cobar, they noticed the unusual colour of the water. The men took ore samples from the area and showed them to the publicans at the Gilgunnia Pub, a Mr and Mrs Kruge.
Mrs Sidwell Kruge had worked as a 'Balgal', employed in sorting ore in copper mines in Cornwall (UK). When Hartman, Campbell and Gibb showed her the samples taken from ? Kubbur' water-hole, she identified them as copper ore.
The discovery led to the formation of the Great Cobar Copper Mine which became the largest copper mine in Australia. At the time of its peak in 1912, the Great Cobar boasted 14 smelters, a 64 metre chimney stack and it employed over 2000 workers.
At the turn of the 19th century the population of Cobar was approximately 10,000. Mining had become the most important industry in the region and many small towns grew on the wealth generated by the Great Cobar Mine. These included Wrightville, Mount Drysdale, Canbelego, Shuttleton and Nymagee which all supported significant populations during the period 1870 - 1920.
1919 The Great Cobar Closes
Despite enjoying many profitable years of copper production, the Great Cobar Mine's fortunes crashed with the drop in the demand for copper following World War I. The Great Cobar ceased production and was dismantled over the next couple of years. Following the closure of the mine, the town's population dwindled to less than 1,000 and many small towns in the vicinity of Cobar were reduced to only a handful of people.
Drummond of the Far West
In 1924, Methodist minister, Rev. Stanley Drummond and his wife, Lucy arrived in Cobar which was at a low point after the closure of the mine. Many families lived in poverty and the Drummonds were appalled at the conditions that families endured. Many children suffered from long-term illnesses and disease and the Drummonds devoted their lives to helping the underprivileged and sick children of the Outback. They also organised for disadvantaged and sick children to visit Sydney and the beach.
"The Far West Children's Health Scheme" was started in 1935 as a direct outcome of the Drummonds' work. Three railway carriages were converted into mobile clinics and over the years, children from all over Western NSW benefited from the service. The original Far West Children's Health Scheme base in Manly continues to provide an outreach service to children in Outback NSW.
One of the 'Far West' railway carriages has been restored and is a fascinating exhibit for visitors to the Great Cobar Heritage Centre.
Mines in Cobar
In 1934 the New Occidental Gold Mine, situated 6 km from Cobar, opened and continued operations until the early 1950's. With the improvement in technology, Peak Gold Mines has commenced mining at the old site again as well as open cutting the New Cobar site on Fort Bourke Hill.
The Cornish, Scottish & Australian Mine (CSA), is a copper mine that has seen a series of openings and closures of its site. Operational from the early 1870's, the CSA closed in 1920 when a fire broke out underground. The fire burned for 16 years and effectively ended operations. The CSA mine re-opened in 1965 and continued until 1998 when, due to market forces, it again closed. Fortunately, the CSA Mine re-opened and is fully operational once again.
The Elura Mine (now called Endeavor Mine), situated 45 kilometres west of Cobar commenced operations in 1982. The mine produces silver, lead and zinc and a regular rail service transports the ore out of Cobar for processing.
Peak Gold Mines, 12 kilometres south of Cobar, opened in 1992. Continued exploration has sourced gold deposits on Fort Bourke Hill (New Cobar site) where open cut mining is being carried out.
Motels – Rooms
Copper City - 28
Chinese x 3
Primary x 2
Countrylink rail service to Sydney
IGA Supermarkets x 2