Kamilaroi meaning: Swamp Oak
Pilliga, located 105km west of Narrabri and 60km north west of Gwabegar, was once an important stop on the Cobb and Co route, but today is renowned for its delightfully hot Artesian Bore Bath. The town sprung into existence in the early days of the timber industry, with early squatters settling in the 1830s.
It was gazetted as a town in 1885 and was the base for Indian trader Nabob Allem and his family in the 1950s. The Allems peddled their wares in a horse-drawn wagon to grazing families in the western district. Nabob made quite an impression on the town, with the Coonamble Times writing after his death: “Nabob Allem died last Friday. And the people of Pilliga, HIS people, are mourning his loss. For Nabob Allem was the ‘King of the Scrub’, ‘King of Pilliga’, and unofficial Mayor”. A wander in the cemetery reveals a fascinating montage of the lives and trials of the past. Of particular interest are the rough–hewn graves of the Indian traders.
The scenic drive from Narrabri is sealed and takes about one hour, while the journey from Gwabegar is unsealed. The CommunityLink Centre is a good place to start your visit. Staff will be happy to direct you to such attractions as the Pilliga lagoon, a bird watcher’s paradise, and the soothingly hot waters of the nearby artesian bore bath.