The Region

The Outback Arts Region is an extremely large geographical area, dotted with small rural & remote towns, and separated by vast distances.

The Outback Arts region covers an area of 163,886 kms and includes a total population of 26,400 people. The region has a strong Indigenous heritage with iconic and culturally significant areas such as the Brewarrina fish traps and important river sites playing an integral role in the Indigenous heritage of the region. Following European settlement there has been a focus on agriculture particularly on grain cropping and sheep and beef meat production.

The population within the Outback Arts region is culturally diverse with mining communities such as Cobar and Lightning Ridge drawing individuals of cultural diverse lineage to the regional communities.

The Outback Arts Board is one of 14 Regional Arts Development Organisations (RADOs) in the Regional Arts NSW network and is completely volunteer based.


Brewarrina is a remote outback community located on the banks of the Barwon/Darling River.

The shire covers an area of 19,000 square kms and borders the state line of Queensland and is surrounded by the local governments of Walgett, Warren, Bogan and Bourke.

The shire includes the towns and villages of Brewarrina, Goodooga, Weilmoringle, Angledool and Gongolgon.

Brewarrina has great historical significance to the Aboriginal people of the region, as the town was one of the great inter-tribal meeting places of eastern Australia, including Ngemba, Wonkamurra, Wailwan and Gomaroi people. Brewarrina is also
The fisheries are elaborate man made stone constructions in the riverbed designed to trap fish. The Brewarrina Fish Traps are a National Heritage listed site and of spiritual significance to Aboriginal people.


Bourke is a rural & remote community in far north-western of  NSW. The town is located approximately 800 kilometres north-west of Sydney, on the south bank of the Darling River, which is known as the Barwon upstream from this point,and covers an area of over 40,000km+. The township of Bourke sits at the junction of three highways: the Kidman Way, Mitchell Highway and Kamilaroi Highway.

The  main industries in the Bourke Shire include cotton, soft fruit, citrus, cattle production, irrigated wheat, wild goat and kangaroo harvesting, and of course the wool industry, part of Bourke history since the 1860s.

At the 2016 census, Bourke had a population of 2,634 people of whom 31.5% people identified themselves as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander.
Bourke is considered to represent the edge of the settled agricultural districts and is the gateway to the Outback!
This is reflected in the traditional Australian expression Back o’ Bourke, or as Henry Lawson wrote in 1893 “If you know Bourke, You know Australia”.

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The Cobar Shire is a truly remarkable part of the world in the accessible NSW outback. Cobar is a bustling and prosperous town with a mixture of old and modern buildings, which chronicle Cobar’s past 130 years. Cobar’s economy has historically been based on mining and grazing sheep for wool.

Cobar Shire is situated in the centre of New South Wales at the crossroads of the Barrier Highway and the Kidman Way and has excellent road, rail and air links to most of Australia’s capital cities.  With an area of 44,065 square kilometres, the shire is almost the same size as the whole of Tasmania. It is home to 4,647 residents of whom 13.7% identified of being of Aboriginal descent. The main township is Cobar, with small villages at Euabalong and Euabalong West, Murrin Bridge, Mount Hope and Nymagee.

The shire’s prosperity is built around the thriving mining-copper, lead, zinc, gold-and pastoral industries, which are strongly supported by a wide range of attractions and activities, making it a major tourist destination. The Great Cobar Heritage Centre, with its museum and information facilities, provides visitors with an insight to the history of this interesting region where mining first commenced in the 1870s. Over the years the fluctuating fortunes of the mines have had a similar variable impact on the population of the town, which today is half the number of those who lived here in the early 1900s.

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Coonamble is a significantly large council area in central-western New South Wales. It lies along the Castlereagh River, at the western edge of the Warrumbungle National Park, and surrounded on the right by the Macquarie Marshes.

Found within the Coonamble Shire is the town of Gulargambone and smaller village of Quambone and Combara. Coonamble is the major town in the shire which covers almost 10 000 sq/km and reaches to the western slopes of the Warrumbungle Range and the alluvial plains of the Castlereagh. Wheat, sheep and cattle are the economic mainstays, though there is a significant history in the horse industry.

At the 2016 census, Coonamble Shire had a population of 4,031 people of whom 34.2% identified as being Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander.

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Walgett Shire is situated in the far north west of NSW and it embraces the fertile black soil plains of northern inland New South Wales. It is a land of agricultural abundance and the home of opal – Australia’s national gemstone. The Shire consists of two towns and a few villages all servicing a large rural population. The administrative centre of the Shire is the township of Walgett, located on the Castlereagh Highway some 275 km north of Dubbo. Walgett Shire has a population of 6,454 people of whom 44% people identified themselves Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander.

Walgett is situated near the junction of the Namoi and Barwon Rivers. It’s also a 22,000 square kilometre playground for the modern day explorer.  Come and see Lightning Ridge, Walgett, or one of the great little villages dotted across the Walgett Shire!

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The Warren Shire, situated on the banks of the Macquarie River and located on the Oxley Highway 120kms north west of Dubbo, is Australia’s wool and cotton capital.

Warren Shire has a population of 2,758 people (2011 census) of whom 13.3% (358) identified themselves Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander.

The Macquarie Marshes, undoubtedly the most significant wetland complex in Australia, are located 50 km north of Warren, and are listed on the Ramsar Convention as a wetland area of international importance. The area is extremely flat except for occasional granite outcrops, the largest being Mt Foster (250m) and Mt Harris (240m).

Aboriginal Art Officer: Fleur Stubbs

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Bogan Shire, situated in Western New South Wales, has an area of 14,610 square kilometres, equivalent to about 1.8% of the State’s land surface. The geographical centre of the State lies within the Shire boundaries. The Shire has an estimated population of 3220 with the headquarters, Nyngan, having an estimated population of 2500. Located on the Bogan River, Bogan Shire is one of the state’s most productive agricultural areas for wool, cattle and cropping enterprises.

The first recorded visit by Europeans to the Bogan River was by a party led by Major Thomas Mitchell, who set off from Parramatta on March 9, 1835. On May 10, 1835 Mitchell arrive in what was then known as Nyingen (Nyngan). He described this spot as a ‘long pond with many birds, ducks and brolgas’.

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