Main Births etc

New South Wales, Australia

Kempsey is located in New South Wales
Population: 8,137 [1]
Postcode: 2440
Coordinates: 31°04′55″S 152°50′06″E / -31.082, 152.835Coordinates: 31°04′55″S 152°50′06″E / -31.082, 152.835
Elevation: 1 m (3 ft)
Location: 345 km (214 mi) from Sydney
LGA: Kempsey Shire
State District: Oxley[2]
Federal Division: Cowper[3]
Mean Max Temp Mean Min Temp Annual Rainfall
25.0 °C
77 °F
12.1 °C
54 °F
1,211.7 mm
47.7 in

Kempsey is a town in the Mid North Coast region of New South Wales, Australia and is the council seat for Kempsey Shire. It is located 15 kilometres inland from the coast of the Pacific Ocean where the Pacific Highway and the North Coast railway line cross the Macleay River. It is roughly 345 kilometres north of Sydney.


The indigenous inhabitants of the Macleay Valley are the Dunghutti People, who suffered from segregation and racism[4]

Enoch William Rudder is credited with founding the settlement. He arrived from Birmingham in 1834 and bought land on the southern bank of the river in 1836, at what was then the limit of authorized settlement (the boundary of County Macquarie). He was initially attracted by redcedar cutting opportunities but planned also to profit by selling parts of his land. He had riverside blocks surveyed and established a private town, with the first blocks sold in November 1836. He called it Kempsey because the surrounding areas reminded him of the Kempsey Valley in Worcestershire.[5] The collapse in redcedar prices in the early 1840s nearly led to the failure of the town.[6][7]

The main (and most flood-prone) part of Kempsey was founded by John Verge, sub-dividing a grant on the flood-plain opposite Rudder's settlement. In 1854, a government town was surveyed at West Kempsey and government facilities moved there when it became clear that no town would form around the police station and courthouse at Belgrave Falls. Rudder's settlement was renamed East Kempsey.

Kempsey initially flourished as a centre for logging and sawmilling. Large reserves of Australian redcedar Toona australis, sold in Britain and the USA (as 'Brazilian mahogany') were extracted down until the 1920s, and with greater difficulty until the 1960s, by which time the resource was effectively exhausted. Dairying was the major industry in the area until the 1960s, with a Nestlé Milo factory at nearby Smithtown, and several cheese and butter factories. The area now subsists on a declining beef industry and tourism.


Geographically, Kempsey stretches out around a long loop of the Macleay River at the top of the flood-plain. It is famous for its floods. The 1949 flood was particularly destructive, having washed a large part of the town centre away when the railway viaduct which was acting as a dam-wall due to a build-up of debris against the railway bridge gave way. The area most affected by this flood is now the site of playing fields. The shire council has a policy of buying up land in areas designated as flood plains and many houses have been transported to higher ground in recent years. Other major floods occurred in 1949, 1950, 1963, 2001, 2009.

Kempsey today[]

Despite a period of economic stagnation in past decades compared to nearby coastal centres of growth, Kempsey has a growing local economy based on tourism, farming and service industries. As a local centre it has many shops and services including three major supermarkets, a department store and fast food chain stores such as Subway. A large industrial estate is located in South Kempsey and is the site of the Akubra hat factory and former King Gee clothing company.

A Coles Supermarket development (known as the Kempsey Central Shopping Centre) has been built recently in Kempsey and is situated where the Tattersalls Hotel and various small businesses were in Little Belgrave Street. It consists of a Coles supermarket, a Target Country, 12 speciality stores, and a large cafe. This shopping centre opened on December 6, 2008.

Growing industries include wineries and nut production. Kempsey is a service centre for the nearby coastal resorts of South West Rocks, Arakoon, Hat Head, and Crescent Head, which are popular places for retirement and holiday-makers alike.

Government buildings such as the council chambers, library and several offices - are located west of the North Coast Railway line in West Kempsey. This area is not subject to the flooding that the CBD occasionally sees and is seen as a second business district with a variety of businesses and banking facilities. Opened in July 2004, the Mid North Coast Correctional Centre, a minimum to medium prison for 500 male and female inmates, is located in Aldavilla, approximately 14 kilometres (8.7 mi) west of Kempsey.


Kempsey has a variety of schools both large and small, government and independent. There are five high schools; Kempsey High School (government) located in West Kempsey largely servicing students living north of the Macleay, Melville High School (government) in South Kempsey servicing those south of the river and the beachside communities, St Paul's College (Catholic), Kempsey Adventist School and the Macleay Vocational College [1]

Notable people from Kempsey[]

  • Dennis Richardson, Officer of the Order of Australia, former Director-General of Security of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation, and former Australian ambassador to the United States
  • Slim Dusty, singer
  • Amos Morris, singer
  • Thomas Keneally, novelist[8]
  • Amos Roberts, rugby league player (Wigan Warriors)
  • Aiden Tolman, rugby league player (Canterbury Bulldogs)
  • Albert Kelly, rugby league player
  • Jolene Anderson, actress and It Takes Two Series 2 winner
  • Joe Robinson, guitarist and winner of Australia's Got Talent, Season 2
  • Robin Klein, Australian author
  • Penelope Plummer, Miss World 1968
  • Greg Inglis, rugby league player
  • Amy Winters, Paralympic gold medallist



The Macleay Argus is the local newspaper for Kempsey and other nearby towns in the Macleay Valley area. It is published every Tuesday and Friday by Fairfax Media.

Radio Stations

The following Radio Stations have transmitters located in or near Kempsey-


  • Radio 531 AM (2PM)(commercial)
  • ABC Mid North Coast 684 AM (2KP)


  • SKY Sports Radio 101.5 FM (2KY) (narrowcast)
  • Tank FM 103.1 FM (2WET) (community)
  • Star FM 105.1 FM (2ROX) (commercial)
  • 2MC 106.7 FM (2PQQ) (commercial)

And the following high power FM transmitters serve the region more generally but are not located in or near Kempsey:

  • Triple J 91.5 FM (2JJJ)
  • ABC Mid North Coast 92.3 FM (2MRR)
  • ABC Classic FM 97.9 FM (2ABCFM)
  • ABC Radio National 99.5 FM (2ABCRN)

Depending on location reception of stations from the Manning River transmitter located at Middlebrother Mountain northeast of Taree is also possible.

Television Stations

Residences in Kempsey generally receive television from the Mt Moombil Transmitter located located west of Coffs Harbour. Depending on the location it may also be possible to receive signal from Middlebrother Mountain.

The following networks broadcast in this region of NSW:

  • Prime7
  • NBN Television
  • Southern Cross Ten
  • ABC Television
  • Special Broadcasting Service

See also[]

  • Mid North Coast Correctional Centre, near West Kempsey


External links[]

This page uses content from the English language Wikipedia. The original content was at Kempsey, New South Wales. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with this Familypedia wiki, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons License.