Hannam Vale, 2017 Capital of New South Wales



Population: 422

The name Hannam Vale was originally inspired by a local farm and today the township continues to take inspiration from its agricultural roots.

The first recorded selection of land in the Stewarts River valley area was in 1866, although the first permanent settler in the valley didn’t arrive until 1882.

Most of the first settlers were woodcutters who cleared the land and planted a variety of crops and fruit trees. Some also bought cows with them and started the region’s dairying industry. 

According to Wikipedia, the area was originally known as Upper Stewarts River. However, Francis Redman, who operated the post office, found that name was too long to fit on the mail so he instead used his farm's name, "Hannam Vale".

The town’s first school was established in 1892 and the general store opened across the road in 1914.

By the 1930s, dairy farming and logging were the major industries in the region.

Today Hannam Vale, about 40 kilometres north-west of Taree on the Mid-North Coast of New South Wales, has a more diversified industry landscape. Just over 10 per cent of the local workforce is made up of people working in agriculture, forestry and fishing, and the farming pursuits are more varied.

The number of dairy farms has diminished over the years but those remaining appreciate the region’s high rainfall conducive to good pasture growth. 

Some people have moved to the area for a `tree-change’, leaving behind the city to set up smaller farming operations or bed and breakfasts. Others use the valley area as a base for commuting to larger nearby centres such as Taree and Port Macquarie. With several national parks in the region, Hannam Vale is also a popular tourist destination.

The strength of the community is based on family values and support for one another.

The town holds a number of community events each year including an Open Garden Day, ANZAC Day ceremony, an annual cricket match and art exhibition. 

The Hannam Vale Recreation Reserve provides the only public toilets, picnic facilities and recreation space in the local area. It is regularly used by community members for family picnics and recreation, by local school students for educational and sporting events, and by an increasing number of tourists visiting the valley. 

In 2016, in response to disruptions in the dairy industry, the local community held a dairy farmer’s picnic at the reserve, supporting farmers and letting the rest of the community learn about the industry. A similar picnic is planned for 2017.

As the 2017 LEGENDAIRY Capital of New South Wales, the Hannam Vale Recreation Reserve Trust will use its prize money to construct permanent seating and picnic tables within the picnic area of the reserve.