The early settlers located their holdings on permanent water, hence the Gwydir River runs through the centre of the Moree District. The northern and western boundary of the district of 300,000 square miles is the Barwon River. The eastern boundary is the western slopes of the Dividing Range-about Warialda. The southern boundary is midway between the Gwydir and Namoi Rivers.
The first visitors to the district, other than aborigines, were escaped convicts. George Clarke, who was at large in the area in the 1820's, taught the Aboriginals the arts of cattle duffing and building rough yards to hold the stolen cattle. When later captured, he gave information about a river, possibly the Gwydir, which caused Mitchell to look in this area for a river opening into a sea.
Cunningham was the first explorer to find the Gwydir River on his trip north to Brisbane in 1828-1829. He crossed about the present site of Warialda.
Mitchell's route in 1830 was approximately via the present sites of Tamworth, Boggabri, Narrabri, Bellata, crossing the Gwydir between Pallamallawa and Moree and hence to Mungindi, down the Barwon River to the junction of the Gwydir and back to Tamworth.
The first settlers were established in the area by 1835 - among the first being Daniel Eaton at Biniguy. Robert Mayne at Warialda.
In 1835 Moree District was part of Liverpool Plains Pastoral District and there were about ten settled properties. By 1848 the number had increased to around a hundred and the district was known as the Gwydir Pastoral District.
The first settlers came mainly from the Hunter River Valley - the land in that area being all taken up by large properties. They by-passed the Tamworth - Gunnedah area because that land was all taken up by an Australian Agricultural Company. The settlers came via the Boggabri area.
The relationship between the early settlers in the district and the Aboriginals is one of which neither the settlers nor the Aboriginals could be proud. There were many killings on both sides. The settlers desired to use the land for grazing sheep and cattle. The Aboriginals desired to preserve their traditional hunting and bora grounds. Because the Aboriginals could not unite, their defeat was inevitable.
Fences were unknown to the first settlers. Herds and flocks were attended by herdsman and shepherds. The workers lived in bark huts. About 1850 most of these workers were ticket of leave convicts but from 1870 hard work and hard times produced the skilful industrious bushman noted for his horse riding, that pitted his skill against brumbies, scrub bulls, dingoes, rabbits, wild pigs, kangaroos.
The first settlers in the district were squatters who took up large areas of land. In the Selection Acts of 1860 -1861 and 1184 the government attempted to get closer settlement of the land and a group of land men known as Selectors appeared. For a long time there was considerable bitterness between squatters and selectors.
Many large properties such as Gurley Station were further reduced in size after the two world wars by subdivisions for soldier settlers.
The largest squatter property in the Pallamallawa area was Bogamildi of 223,000 acres. The station was on Mosquito Creek. The Scott Family commenced fencing this property from 1876. After the passing of Henry Parkes' Education Act in 1880 state schools were built throughout NSW. The first school was opened at Pallamallawa, they called Paramellowa, on 11th August 1884. The type of building was known as a "George Reid temporary" or "beehive" building. The school and residence were built by Mr W Lee under contract.
The schoool was extended to three classrooms in 1912 and a new residence was erected in 1936. In 1957 the original "beehive building" was set up at Armidale Teachers' College as an educational museum. The 1912 school and residence were completely renovated in 1961. The office was added and the weather shed erected.
The first settlers ring-barked and frubgbed with mattock, shovel, crow bar, stump jack, wire rope winches, horse and chain, the scrubs of brigalow, belah, black or native pine, narrow and broad leafed box, red gum and iron bark. They used the land for grazing sheep, cattle and horses.
The growing of wheat for grain coincides with the building of the railway. In 1912 the first crop of wheat for grain was grown at Pallamallawa. With the advent of wheat growing came closer settlement and consequent increase in population. The Pallamallawa Wheat Belt stretches in the south from the western slopes of the Nandewar Range north throughout Pallamallawa, Milguy, Crooble, Croppa Creek to North Star. This belt of country has the fortunate characteristic of being one of the very few areas in Australia where the soils have a naturally high phosphate content.
The wheat belt was threatened in its early stages by prickly pear. This cactus introduced as a garden plant spread rapidly though Queensland and into NSW. The land on which it grew was almost valueless. Luther Burbank in America experimented in breeding it to a spineless variety suitable for stock fodder. In Australia efforts were made to utilise it for distilling power alcohol as a substitute for petrol. The answer to the problem came in the early 1930's where the cacto blastis insect was introduced to eat it out.
The first mail service in Australia was instituted by Governor Macquarie in 1810. By 1840 mail services reached from Sydney to Tamworth. In 1847 a private abscription post extended the service to Warialda and the post office was opened there in 1848. Moree post office was opened in 1853. The first mails were carried by horse, pack-horse and coaches. The coaches operated from inn to inn. The coachman was the mailman and the innkeeper was the postmaster. In the 1860's, the sparsley settled countryside made it an easy matter for bushrangers to strike at isolated stores, hotels and homesteads. The Warialda mail was robbed in 1862 and 1863. Starlight visited Tycannah in 1863. Fred Ward or Thunderbolt struck between Moree and Collarenebri in 1866, holding u the Moree and Collarenebri Hotels.
The early settlers travelled and carried goods on foot, by horse, pack horse, drays, spring carts, table top wagons, heavy unsprung wagons hauled by bullock and later horse teams, coaches, horse cabs, buggies and sulkies. The tracks they made became the present day roads. The first train in NSW built by George Stephenson and Co, in England, ran from Sydney to Parramatta on 26th September 1855. By 1873 the northern railway system reached Murrurundi in the north of the Hunter River Valley and a coach was run to Narrabri. Moree travellers had to get to and from Narrabri at their own initiative. The rail reached Narrabri in 1880 and a coach was then running to Moree. The early coaches in Moree area were mainly one man arrangements but Cobb & Co operated from Narrabri to Walgett and Mungindi to Moree. In the coaching days wayside inns sprang up about ten miles apart where horses were rested or changed. Corrigan's Hotel, one mile west of Pallamallawa, was operational as such from 1871.
In 1897 the railway reached Moree and ten months later it reached Gravesend and was completed to Inverell by March, 1902. The line from Moree to Mungindi, curving to pass through the wheat land of Pallamallawa, Milguy, Crooble, Croppa Creek, North Star, was completed in 1914.
The first motor car came to Moree in 1900 and the first motor taxi commenced duty in 1910. With the coming of the rail and then motor transport the horse began to lose prominence and motor garages replaced blacksmith shops.
Between 1861 and 1904 river boats operated against colossal difficulties in the Barwon River to as far as Mungindi - a distance of 1967 miles from Lake Alexandrina and the sea.
The first motor driven aircraft was made and flown by Wilbur and Orville Wright, USA, 1903. At the conclusion of the first World War the enormous experience gained in military aviation was put into the service of commercial transport. In August 1919 a regular service between London and Paris commenced. From 1934 to 1940 a twin engined fabric covered bi-plane brought the first air service to Moree. In 1963 air services are operation to Sudney and Brisbane.
A vital factor in the development of the Moree District has been the discovery and use of artesian and ground water. Early in this century many bores were sunk to an average depth of 2,900 feet for an average flow of 900,000 gallons of water a day.