Explore the historic town of Gilgandra, situated along the banks of the Castlereagh River in the beautiful Great Western Plains region of NSW. Learn about its unique place in Australian war history, follow the Windmill Walk and meet an emu. 



Lessons in history 

Discover the origins of the iconic bush call at the Coo-ee Heritage and Visitor Information Centre. The prolonged coo-ee is usually used in the bush to attract attention. The historical connection with Gilgandra dates back to 1915, when a group of 35 men set out for Sydney on the first recruiting march of World War I and called 'Coo-ee' at each town they passed to attract men to join them. 

Entrance to Coo-ee Heritage & Visitor Information Centre, Gilgandra

Coo-ee Heritage & Visitor Information Centre, Gilgandra - Credit: Amber Creative 

On display in the centre are significant artefacts from the march, including the flag carried by the marchers. There are photographs and the Coo-ee Honour Wall, a moving insight into the men’s lives. The parkland next to the centre is a lovely picnic spot.  

In the community plaza is the Coo-ee Digger, a bronze sculpture made by Brett Garling, a leading Australian sculptor, with the inscription ‘In recognition of the 35 men who left Gilgandra in 1915 and their eternal footprint on the history of our community and our nation’. 

Cooee digger, Gilgandra

Cooee digger, Gilgandra - Credit: Gilgandra Regional Council

Explore the town 

Gilgandra is also known as the Town of Windmills. Some 360 windmills once dotted the area, tapping underground water, before the central water supply in 1966. For an enchanting wander, take the Windmill Walk past an avenue of trees and windmills along the banks of the meandering river. The streets of the town are also lined with a series of murals that show off life in Gilgandra and famous historic events. 

Street view of Miller Street, Gilgandra

Miller Street, Gilgandra - Credit: Amber Hooper - Gilgandra Regional Council

The kids will love a feathery encounter at Emu Logic, a working emu farm. In the Gilgandra Rural Museum are fascinating artefacts, including a Cobb & Co. blacksmith shop. A short drive northeast is delightful Tooraweenah, a village at the foothills of the Warrumbungles, an ancient volcanic mountain range. 

 See emu chicks in the winter months at Emu Logic, Gilgandra

Emu Logic, Gilgandra - Credit: Penny Henley

Festivals & events 

The Going to Gil Festival brings the whole town together for three days of live music, entertainment, markets and family fun. The Gilgandra Film Festival is held in May and features short documentaries from local and international filmmakers, including tales about life on the land in Country NSW. 

Vintage cars at the Come Home Festival, Gilgandra

Come Home Festival, Gilgandra - Credit: Gilgandra Regional Council

Getting there 

Gilgandra is at the junction of the Oxley, Castlereagh and Newell highways, and almost exactly halfway between Melbourne and Brisbane. The drive northwest from Sydney is 5.5 hours. You can also fly or catch a train to Dubbo and hire a car for the 45-minute drive. 

Canola & Warrumbungles in background, Gilgandra

Canola & Warrumbungles in background, Gilgandra - Credit: Barbara Scott Photography

Plan your trip