About 63km north-west of Inverell in far northern NSW, Warialda is at the centre of a widely-diversified pastoral district that is also popular with gem fossickers on the trail of jasper quartz, chert agate and petrified and opalised wood.
The town is best known as the birthplace of Sister Elizabeth Kenny, whose pioneering work in the 1920s and 1930s led to the development of a new way of treating poliomyelitis which involved applying heat and manipulating limbs. After an epidemic of the disease in 1932 - and in the face of much medical opposition - Sister Kenny set up a clinic in Brisbane and continued with her work. But, it wasn’t until she went to the United States in 1940 to demonstrate her treatment that it became properly appreciated. It took the Yanks to establish the Elizabeth Kenny Institute.
Legend has it that escaped convicts from Newcastle and the tablelands timber camps had well and truly ensconced themselves in the Warialda district long before the explorer Allan Cunningham moved through in 1827 and got the credit for its discovery.